Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Frescoes of the Skull

Shelves and stacks and shelves of skulls, a Dewey
Decimal number inked on each unfurrowed forehead.
Here's a skull
who, before he lost his fleshy parts
and lower bones, once
walked beside a river (we're in the poetry section
now) his head full of love
and loneliness; and this smaller skull,
in the sociology stacks, smiling (they're all
smiling)—it's been empty
a hundred years. That slot
across the temple? An ax blow
that fractured
her here. Look at this one from the children's shelves,
a baby, his fontanel
a screaming mouth and this time no teeth, no smile.
Here's a few (history)—a murderer,
and this one—see how close their eye sockets!—a thief,
and here's a rack of torturers' skulls
beneath which a longer row of the tortured,
and look: generals' row,
their epaulets
on the shelves to each side of them.
Shelves and shelves, stacks stacked on top of stacks,
floor above floor,
this towering high-rise library
of skulls, not another bone in the place
and just now the squeak of a wheel
on a cart piled high with skulls
on their way back to shelves
while in the next aisle
a cart filling with those about to be loaned
to the tall, broken-hearted man waiting
at the desk, his library card
face down before him.

-- A Library of Skulls, Thomas Lux

C'est-à-dire, pay your fines sans regret.
Books aren't the only thing we collect.
Muahahahahahaha, et
era of good feelings, I mean, whee.


Übermilf said...

I'm back!

(sniff. sniff.)

What smells in here?

Cormac Brown said...

Man, you and me both need vacations...though your rage seems to be manifesting in an entirely different fashion.

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

I've never read a better, more incisive description of the Dewer's Decimal System in my life.



PS - Eat at Ray's!

Holte Ender said...

Lux is a rare bird, a poet that earns a living doing it.

Mary Ellen said...

Wow...you really do need a vacation. Maybe a trip to the ballpark to watch a great game of ball. Oh wait...you live in Cleveland. Just stay away from the axes, for gosh sakes.

Randal Graves said...

übermilf, you return and there's a bad smell. Coincidence?

cormac, rage, rage against the drying of the pen. Oh, next time you have a super rant going on, don't nuke it. Rants are good, and if someone doesn't like 'em, fuck 'em. ;-)

tengrain, I prefer Colonel Kwick-E-Mart's Kentucky Bourbon when Library of Congressing.

holte, which is only the biggest reason to loathe the guy. Talented wanker.

Randal Graves said...

nunly, I think our offense will come around to mediocrity, but, do you remember those Cecil Fielder-led Tigers teams with the nearly 6-ERA? Yikes.

Liberality said...

And here I was thinking that the books were the results of brains (those squishy grey things INSIDE the skulls) but I guess not, just skulls: Leering, eyeless, smiling skulls, who'd thunk it?

sunshine said...

I'm as sick as a dog. Do you care? :(

If you want another skull to collect you can have mine. My head feels like it's about to explode at anytime anyways. Might as well chop it off...


Utah Savage said...

Randal, you really do need a vacation.

Randal Graves said...

liberality, most of the skulls matriculating here are certainly empty.

sunshine, if you want caring and sharing of bodily fluids, you have to tell us that you're ill. And now that you did, I will be sending over some booze.

utah, I know, this blog is even shittier than it used to be.

Mary Ellen said...

do you remember those Cecil Fielder-led Tigers teams with the nearly 6-ERA? Yikes.

Oh yeah! 1998 we lost to the Indians 6-3. Yikes is right! :-D

Well, as exciting as the game was yesterday (for Sox fans), I still ready myself for a bad run. I'll be at the final game of the year...when we're playing the Indians again. Who knows what will happen, eh?

David Barber said...

Rant away my children! If you and Cormac are going on vacation, then I'm coming. I've had a house full this weekend and four screaming children have pushed me over the f*****g edge. I'll see you there....wherever that may be. :-)

Lisa said...

What? Our library only offers books. Dang it.

Doc said...

I'm with David. I'm going with you as the four of us could more than manage a little mischief. I'll supply the booze. With any luck, we won't be shelved.


Tom Harper said...

A library of skulls -- this is heady stuff.

I might start a library of intestines, filed of course under the duodecimal system.

Beach Bum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beach Bum said...

Well since we are all going on vacation I'll be in Florida at Rat World in June. I'll be the one trying to cop a feel on the red-headed mermaid.

BDR said...

Who the hell posts poetry on their bleg? I bet most also post sillyass Star Trek allusions. And write about soccer. And post youtubes of sacred music.

susan said...

I pay my fine with the Bard's contribution to the poetry of regret. I can't go on vacation but Crow may make an appearance if you have some Remy.

Demeur said...

Just so you won't have sweet dreams we've sneaked into the library while you were away and removed all those little labels with their Dewey Congressy thingys. Well those detached bodies had to have something to do while you were gone.
Sweet dream from the skeleton bodies Mwahahahaha!

Randal Graves said...

nunly, I fully expect us to resemble piles of refuse, but if we can knock you yokels out on the final day, that would be a nice consolation prize, especially if it'll get Guillen extra histrionic.

david, four kids? Any more than one is grounds for an extended stay in a comfortable straitjacket.

Bring booze!

lisa, that's what you get for living south of the Mason-Dixon line. We're very cutting edge up here.

doc, hmm, instead of us bringing the booze, do you think we could lie about qualifying for a federal research grant of some sort? If KBR can spend the taxpayers' bucks, why not us?

tom, groan. What was that? Oh, just scoping out the colon section.

BB, they have mermaids at Rat World? That's not very vermin-y.

BDR, I detect in there a challenge for a post combining each of those items.

susan, I'll pick some up special just for him. After we receive our government loot.

demeur, we don't use Dewey. Ha ha, fooled you!

Dr. Zaius said...

Using epaulets as shelves is probably not very practical. ;o)