Writers Kill Trees

I have a problem with language
So I went to the bookstore
To be cured by famous names

What say you Cheever, Dumas, Sexton?
What sort of customer service do you offer
With your compact black type
So succinct, so certain
Of your uncertainty
Backhanded phrases, long-winded questions
Raised up from crumpled compost
Of insecurely inked tragedies

Who will tell me right from wrong?
Who will challenge gravity when it keeps us
Swollen, down?
Who will invent a new God to tell the old one
You had your chance
But you taught your kids the silent treatment?

It’s funny that some things float upstream
And some not at all
And some disintegrate at the sight of their reflection in
Mellow, colorless water

But some things know how to live
How to bend then break then bloom
How to write a novel from peeling bark
Favored by old wiry trees
To tell a story about plane crashes or sword fights
or making love under some mess of stars

The walls dividing each bookshelf are thin
So thin you can almost hear voices seeping
From the pages on the other side
You might believe they are right up next to you
Crawling out from wooden planks with little light
Sputtering from dust-coated lungs

They warn me time and time again
You are an endangered species.

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