For me best a paperback:
No good hard boards,
No slick dust jacket that absorbs
The unpredicted inevitable knocks and tears.
Rather the words writ in a rush
Hastened to publication,
The immediate cheap paper
Not worth the saving:
The leftbehind vacationhouse detritus;
The not quite worth packing for home;
The someone else’s freshmanyear surveyclass albatross,
Borne till it could be misplaced in a move
To wash up not yet loved
In beachcomber thriftstores of the mind
In Simi Valley Marin Moscow or Iowa City
Priced to sell
With four neat Roman Xs
Stamped across the pagetops.
In fond memory of The Paperback Exchange and Dean Wesley Smith (who was just Dean Smith, as far as I knew, when I knew him). Image: Paperbacks by Lewis Bingle, published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license
So evocative, these words — their placement, the memories conjured up out of the aether, the stories they imply.
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