Monday, August 2, 2010

Hidden and Found

Today Mariah and I searched around a small shop called The Book Trader. I searched through the fiction section, read the last paragraph of a couple books, smelled some of them, just for. Then we ventured back to the Young Adult/Crime novel area. It was just a small room really, almost a cubby. Underneath various Classics, Mariah unearthed a copy of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. It was a big, beautiful copy, a hardback with black and white pictures. I flipped through and fell in love with the book. As I flipped the sturdy pages they opened to show two thin white pieces of paper, folded in on themselves. Poetry,written out, by someone named Phyllis Long. Both poems, by Nikki Giovanni.


in life
one is always
like we juggle our mothers
against our father
or one teacher
against another
(only to balance our grade average)
3 grains of salt
to one grain of truth
our sweet essence
to the people down the street
and lately i've been wondering
if you're trying to tell me something
we used to talk all night
and do things together
and i've begun
(as a reaction to a feeling)
to balance
the pleasure of loneliness
against the pain
of loving you

And she signs her name at the bottom, Phyllis. Then in the corner she writes, "With apologies concerning 'I Remember'", which happens to be the other piece of paper.


i remember learning you jump
in your sleep and smile
when you wake up
at first you cuddle
then one arm across my stomach
then one leg touching my leg then
you turn your back

but you smile when you wake up
i was surprised to know you don't care
if your amp burns all night and that you could
play oh-me-oh-my over and over again just
because you remember

i discovered you don't like hair
in your bathroom sink and never step
your wet feet onto a clean rug

you will answer your phone
but you don't talk too long and you do
rub my toes and make faces
while you talk
and your voice told her anyway
that i was there

you can get up at three and make sandwiches
and orange juice and tell jokes
you sometimes make incoherent sentences
you snore
and you smile when you wake up

i know you cry when you're hurt
and curse when you're angry
and try when you don't feel
like it and smile at me
when you wake up

these things i learned through
a simple single touch
when fleshes clashed

I love that one so much! Both are going on my wall. I feel like maybe I shouldn't have taken them, like maybe Phyllis will come back to that shop to find these poems. I don't know the story. Maybe she gave the book to a friend, or past lover, to whom the poems acted as letters.Maybe that's why she signed her name instead of Nikki's. Maybe that person gave the book away after never opening it, never wanting to know what all it held. Her words show such sadness, but in a calm and collected way. Beautiful, really. And maybe I wasn't meant to have them.But I was the one who found them, and that gave me motive enough to bring them with me. I never got Leaves of Grass. Mariah found Harry Potters and found them the more desirable choice. I left the book, hoping I'd come across it later, but kept the papers, knowing I might never find them again, not like they were, written and hidden.


  1. That awesome!
    That would be so cool to find something like that.
    I wonder what this person is like. Or how long ago they wrote it.
    I have been to that store once... Do they have good books?

  2. Oh my God I LOVE used books stores! And I love that you found poetry in Leaves of Grass,(it reminds me of Paper Towns,lol).

    Regarding those poems, I've seen the first one before.

    My 11th Grade English teacher actually printed it out and distributed copies to my class to analyze. She says it's one of her favorite poems of all-time.

    Beautiful, just beautiful. The fact that so much meaning can be packed into so few words...that's the essence of poetry, right?

    P.S. Thank you for the comments on my blog! I truly appreciate them and I would love it if you continued to read in the future. :)

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  4. Me too! I love any place where you can find things with character, things that have passed from one hand to another are always more unique to me than things new.

    Walt Whitman is a genius, and I love poetry anyway, but I never would have known without the assistance of John Green. He's actually one of my favorite authors, though I find it hard to categorize.

    Yeah, I actually just looked up the second one and it's by Nikki Giovanni. That's kind of sad, but also cool. I may have to rewrite this blog.

    You are very welcome. I'm almost a glutton when it comes to blogs. I just love to see what people find important enough to write out, and I like to see how what they say, applies or doesn't to me. It's nice seeing a new post in your dashboard.


Hey there,