Housecleaning Poem by Morgan Michaels


Rating: 3.5

A Books! Too many books!

B Yep. We've collected a few, over the years.

A I say pitch them all. The leaves are turning yellow. It's creepy.

B What?

A Why not? Everything's online, anyway.

B It is?

A Yep. Half this stuff's on Gutenberg. The literature, anyway. I started reading 'Withering Heights' again on line last week. Every other night, a chapter, on Gutenberg. Rough on the eyes, but worth it. No buy in, no resale- like life.

B Well, what about the other half? And I think you mean 'Wuthering' Heights. Wither isn't the same as wuther. Wuther is something else.

A Whatever. But the other half are out-dated. There's no market for old text-books. In the Information Age, technology data has a ten-minute half-life. By the time you read a book, they change the skinny. Always something new. It never ends.

B Doesn't it? But some things never change.

A Like what?

B Like these books. Like their words and ideas. The essence of 'classical' is the capturing in words of things that never change. Even changing, they stay the same. They show the illusion of the new.

A Ach! Out, I say. Useless dust catchers. Space-takers. How big and clean this room would seem, swept of these...ugly old books.

B Forget it

A Paperbacks have no resale value. Even the Strand won't take them. Frankly, the Franklin Mint collection this is not! What are you saving them for- -your heirs?

B Please! Books are the bricks of consciousness. Each one is linked to a certain time and place that's meaningful. These books are my friends. Even if I don't read them, I feel their presence. They resurrect the past.

A That's your imagination.

B Maybe. But imagination is good. (reaches) See this copy...of Black And Red? I read it decades ago, hitching through Yugoslavia- -now Croatia, of course. Opening it, I'm back in Zagreb. I can see the driver. He has entered my gallery of long-term memories. I can see all the stuff he was bringing back. I think of how nice he was. He was heading to Aleppo, but I bailed at Thessaloniki. There was a war on. Tiresome.

A What a romantic! So when did you open it last, tell me.

B That's not the point. I can choose to open it. Or, never to. It smells of the road. Of the Past. Gutenberg doesn't. I can hold it in my hands. Besides, it has a foreword by a famous author, now dead, of course. You can't find forewords online.

A Forewords aren't important. That's the Past. Americans don't believe in the Past, unless it's flattering. It's about what's new.

B How can you say that? A foreword is the pineal gland of a book!

A The what? What did you say?

B Descartes thought the soul was in the pineal gland. So you can say the foreword of a book is its pineal gland.

A You're crazy. And, I think Descartes was wrong. He shouldn't have gone to Sweden.

B It doesn't matter. He had imagination.

A If we pitched the books AND the piano, we could rent the room. Think of it!

B Pitch the piano. No way. And, a boarder? An invasion of privacy!

A It's money. Don't you understand? Money!

B Money isn't everything. I'm standing up for my books. Mine go when I go. Then, street them, for all I care. Pitch your own. I'll even help you. To a lobectomy, I mean. Come on.

A Hmm. When you put it that way.

B Wuss.

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