A Near Death Experience, by Kym Silvasy-Neale

(feature image by Andrew Wyeth)

 

to be human means      what?     not

the body shell until

we are touched   by another’s hand  someone we love  electric shocks of recognition  pulse through skin   reaching  energy within us   deep

penetrating   creating  what it means

to be a human being

every moment a prayer  even if you don’t believe  still

beg

earnest asking  of one more touch

—-a near death experience

I’ve Run Out of Bookmarks

Six months have come and gone since my last blog post. Instead of writing I went on an epic book binge. With each book my heart grew bigger, my soul lighter. Never once did I suffer from a feeling guilt or gluttony. Just happiness. My library–and brain–expand. Shelves overflow. No. Bulge. I’ve run out of bookmarks.

shelf
new shelves, new books

Our living room can now be called our library, with new shelves lining walls, stacked with the potential to run away.  A comfy chair, a table, foot stool, warm blankets– I’m ready. Where is the snow to keep me inside? I cancel plans–yes, a confession–so I can turn the page.

never end
yes, I cancelled plans because I couldn’t put this one down

Start a book on the history of colors. Pivot to poetry, scattered on the floor around my chair like seeds in earth. Does it matter how many autobiographies of Bowie I own?  Novels read in one sitting. Novels begun but not finished. Not because they aren’t well written, but because they are. The idea of them ending, heartbreaking.

colors
a book to help with small talk 
books read
books I finished and recommend 

So I join a subscription service. Two. Books arrive with illustrated covers. Covers all in black with white block letters suggesting the seriousness of what’s inside. I binge on feminist manifestos, literary journals, novelists from Norway and Brooklyn, mystery novels, classics (ah, Mrs. Dalloway!), and books so heavy I consider reading them an act of physical exercise (thank you Mark Danielewski).

books bought
keep them coming! 

Everywhere I go a book in my bag. An actual book with pages smelling of vanilla and glue. I sneak a peek at what others are reading. Do you like that book? I’ve read that book! Smiles exchanged. Off the plane, the train, I walk with a head filled with narrative: “Mrs. Dalloway would buy the flowers herself” (Woolf) and, “The cat does not offer services.” (Burroughs).  My phone pings. A text from my bank: a deposit has been made. Pay day! There is a bookshop 4.2 miles away. Seated in the back of an Uber I anticipate tables of freshly published books. Hoping for a cat, if it’s an independent shop. Definitely my arms filled, wishing I could ignore my obligations, and continue my binge.