Corey Mesler is the owner of Burke's Book Store, in Memphis,
Tennessee (USA), one of the country's oldest (1875) and best
independent bookstores.

The Instructions: How to Get There

I'll sit at my desk all day
if it takes that to reach abstraction.

I drink my coffee left-handed
so it feels like a caress.

I look at pictures of people I hold dear.
Their faces are approximations.

The sunlight hitting the page is
the color of a cat, one I remember vaguely.

The first word I have today is
one I have kept in abeyance. The last word, too.

The dog turns around three times and
settles near my memory of the cat.

I will sit at my desk all day
if it takes that to reach obstruction.

What I meant to say was instruction.
The instructions say, go on. They say, go on.

Recent Developments in Home Schooling

Most of our problems proceed from out inability
to sit quietly in a small room. - Pascal

They nailed the door shut.
I opened my mouth
and a string of similes fell out.
The day broke outside
like a tractor erupting.
My wife waved from
the driveway, the children around
her like a ring of toadstools.
I started a book. What else could
I do? The first line was
To Reader with approbation.
It put me down so I put it down.
And another thing: you
must stop calling me, calling me home.


The man I was.
Your apartment
where we
couldn't go.
The fearsome
The friends who
saw us together.
How funny
you were, how
Our fitting,
piece to piece.
The morning I
woke, riding
me, that position.
The goodbye
that was not goodbye.
The disappearance.
The sudden
The wrenching,
twisting tunnel.
How love does
not affix,
how it's not love.
The man I was.

It's Tristan Tzara's Birthday

"The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination.
But the combination is locked up in the safe." - Peter De Vries

It's Tristan Tzara's birthday
and I've placed a candle on the head
of the dog. The light coming
in the window is bent like mythology,
I say to the typewriter as he
eats his breakfast of Kurds and Wave.
The party starts when the clock
winds up. His pitch is far from the plate,
the plate the typewriter is eating
from. Suddenly, a neighbor bursts in.
He's carrying the new bazooka.
"It's Tristan Tzara's birthday," he shouts.
We gathered there spook him with a
well-placed suicide note. Still the
candle burns down to its earthy stub.
Still the typewriter goes on eating.
And the dog picks up the tab, the
one sitting uneasily above the Caps Lock.
Before sleeping we whisper, it was
Tristan Tzara's birthday and we sleep
to wake. Far away the ocean begins to sink.

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