Book Arts

inspired by the work of Luz Marina Ruiz (hat tip: Natalie d’Arbeloff)

I entered a book tall as a clock tower.
Its pages all had timers set to self-construct:
bird, leaf, crescent, an orogeny of stairs.
The seasons were orderly as line dancers.

You can make a book from anything that folds.
Waves & breakers, for example, with
the ocean for a text: the reader bobs
like a boat with a shark’s-fin sail.

Books can be small as wallets bulging with bills,
those go-betweens everyone thumbs through
but nobody reads. (This, by the way,
is why money always smells of sadness.)

Books can be rooms completely taken over
by feral wallpaper, patterns unavailable
in any store. Some books can’t be opened
without changing all their contents.

That’s how it is with dreams, too: they change
in the telling. Night falls, & the words
merge with the black paper. You need
the moon’s red monocle to make out the stitching.

15 Comments


  1. Wow, Dave! That’s a response perfectly matched to this artist’s work. I hope she will read it.

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  2. Well, if I go to the opening and meet her in person, I will be prepared with a printout of this poem! :)

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  3. A handsome poem and a beautiful gallery. Both delighted me. Thanks.

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  4. Wow, Dave, you’re really on a roll lately: “the moon’s red monocle” is yours. This is a wonderful poem. I had just finished looking at Ruiz’s images and was struck by the house-books too. You must make sure she gets a copy of this.

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  5. Some books can’t be opened
    without changing all their contents.

    Ain’t it the truth.

    This is just a wonderful, wonderful poem, Dave. Ditto Beth on the moon’s red monocle.

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  6. very impressed – this poem is fun and wise. The last stanza is great.

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  7. as you say here, dreams change in the telling. sometimes for the better. you wake up with some strange and sometimes fuzzy fragments. and then a piece of art (a poem even, is a poem art anymore? ok, sure it is) comes forth into its own world: dreamy and dreamish, of a dream, but not a dream. blah, blah, blah

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  8. Hi all – Thanks for the kind words.

    Maria, I’m flattered that you would do that – and I envy you the oppportunity to see Ruiz’s work IRL.

    Rauan – Welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

    Larry – I read Borges when I was young and impressionable and it’s very likely I owe him for of the mental images here. Good call.

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  9. Mmm, I send you a small book of dreams with a cover of the next April’s leaves. It should arrive about 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday. If you shake the book gently during sleep, out will fall many happy returns of the day.

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  10. Sounds like just the thing for Fat Tuesday! I’ll be looking forward to that.

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  11. Superb, Dave. And thanks for ‘orogeny’. My turn with it next!

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  12. This is very fine. Books overtaken by feral wallpaper. Holy smoke. I’ve been waiting to read something like that.

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