I will soon begin reading Borges again
and when I do I will wear dark clothes
and glasses, eat pork on rough bread,
smoke an unending series of bowls
of cheap tobacco from a cheap pipe.
I will soon resume reading Joyce
but only in the spring and only upon
completion of the works of Borges.
I shall wear a cloak, if I can locate
a store that sells cloaks. A cloak and
a whiskeyflask cane. A cloak and
thick soled shoes and a whiskeyflask
cane. Yes. I will soon resume reading
Borges, then Joyce. And after that,
Djuna Barnes; then, Wallace Stevens,
and for Barnes and Stevens I will change
to a suit of seersucker, and I will not iron it
ever, even the shirt, even the hems; I will feed
on rumcakes and seedcakes and cupcakes
in public cafes, with my books tucked under my chair.
So: I will be done with reading
Borges and Joyce and Barnes and Stevens
soon enough. Then I will buy a home
and lie around naked and not read anything
I don’t want to read. All those trappings
I affected while reading will be lost on me — I’ll admit
that I must have looked ridiculous. What the hell
were such books about, anyway? If need be,
I will cleanse by dressing in sweats and reading John Grisham in French
while downing supermarket croissants till I pop. I won’t care who sees
my wide ass in the library when I am checking out
books on getting ahead in real estate and
Stephen King and Patricia Cornwell — not their works, mind you;
books about their clothing and diet. Clothes, it is said,
make the man, you are what you eat, and maybe
you are what you read. Well, I don’t want to be anything anymore.
Want to be dumb, anonymous, devoid
of a reading list or its worsening symptoms. Give up
the insistence on culture. Gimme a burger, a roll in the hay,
a dead sleep on a dirty mattress. Gimme an easy way to vanish.