Recent haiku inspired by book titles I gathered at my visit to the Royersford Free Public Library on 1/21/23. This trip was part of my Montco Library Tour – look here if you want to know what I am talking about.
1237. My hand is shaking. Five Tuesdays. One too many. I can’t try again. 1/21/23
1238. Pandemonium. Now the story’s out. Hold tight. One red shoe flying. 1/21/23
1241. the gentle thread pulls. the seams in my soul close up. the needle’s eye blinks. 1/21/23
In the ambulance I feel like I did when we got married Sidestep stumble Swatted and ripped and twisted Scissors in my hand Blue black ink darkness A commotion and loud voices Whispering. Close your eyes. Don’t look. Obliterated by experts. At the hospital Waiting. You need a doctor they tell me. I wondered then. I wonder now. Waiting.
Another stop on the Montgomery County PA library tour! If you want to know what I am talking about, look here.
On January 21, my husband and I visited the Royersford Free Public Library. It’s located in Royersford, PA, a town about 30 miles northwest from my house. It’s about 10 miles southeast of Pottstown, which you may remember from an earlier library tour visit. I’ve never been to this location, since as you might expect, it’s not on my usual round of daily travel.
The borough of Royersford is an old town located on the banks of the Schuylkill River (at a ford named for a nearby family, the Royers! I love to find out facts like that). It had a variety of manufacturing operations in the past but today is more of a town tied in the needs with the growing residential population of this area of the county. The main street still has a nice array of solid old buildings, many now repurposed, but in use. The town was busy when we visited with street and pedestrian traffic.
The library is located inside the borough limits on a side street in a former elementary school.
This library is a branch of the main county library at Norristown (as was the Upper Perkiomen Valley library visited earlier). Both of these libraries are small and function under the supervision of the main library. I wasn’t able to find any info about the history of this library, so I’ll simply report my observations.
As I said, this building is a former elementary school. We were interested to see that originally there were three entrances to the building, the main center one (now the library entrance, and one at each end of the building. The one on the right was designated as “Kindergarten” and the one on the left was “Library”. The building is dated 1929 over the center entrance, which also is signed as “Grade School”).
My guess is that in the past, the library for the school and the town were the same, since the space was accessible without going into the school, and it was clearly signed (though I forgot to get a photo of it). But I don’t know any of this for a fact, I’m just guessing.
All right, let’s go inside. Here’s the view as we came in the little hall. The circulation desk is straight ahead.
Once inside, the layout of the library is simple. The back wall of classrooms is now open and that is where the books are shelved. Two front classrooms are still separate, one a community room and one a part of the children’s section. The long wing at the “Library” entrance is another children’s section. Here are pictures where I am standing at the end of what was the central hall looking to the children’s section.
I introduced myself to the library assistant, and then we proceeded to look around. I was interested to see that the classroom doors still had their numbers:
I also liked the decorated ceiling tiles throughout the building:
As you can see, the library is small and it doesn’t have space to sit down and write in the adult section, so I decided to do another session of writing from the inspiration of book titles. I carried my notebook around and let the books tell me what to write. Then I checked out a few books and off we went, having had a very pleasant experience here.
Here are a few haiku I wrote at this location:
1236. The man of my dreams. Friends forever he tells me. No solace in that. 1/21/23
1239. Undistinguished guests. Strangers drawing conclusions. My smile is so thin. 1/21/23
1240. This garden. Hidden in the shadow of the bee a hand shapes your fate 1/21/23
All right, that’s it for the Royersford Free Public Library. Thank you for being here for all of us readers!
Another installment of poems still waiting in the archives to be heard. Finishing up loose ends.
If you want more details, here’s the Big Long Explanation. Otherwise, just read as many or few of these poems as you’d like. And thank you, as always!
These poems are all from Pink Chalk, published 2018.
Is He Really
The autonomous man he who was in receipt of a lot of money from ancestors
he had his freedom a comforting fishbowl a wholly respectable life
Now when confronted with the mysterious middle-class their work and worries
he made sure to step back observing the world machinery at work from a safe distance and at no risk of entanglement in the gears or pistons or nuclear fission chambers late bill payments and school dance recitals he did not miss any of it
he appeared perfectly at ease sipping coffee at a small table insouciant in the sidewalk café at noon.
The vast orange moving van the size of a house of course because it contains a house laboring up the hill this morning through a tunnel of just-leafed out trees Traffic is stacking up behind someone’s living room and we are patient with the pace but hoping oh yes thank goodness the whole first and second floors are turning into a side street the orange-encased worldly possessions crawling off further into
Perfect upscale suburbia this way a guidebook might describe it and now the truck knows its role in the interlude between addresses is almost over it picks up a little speed The rest of us resume our rush away
I press my foot to the gas like everyone else but I wonder how the dining room table will stand its legs on a new carpet – Tentative or with conviction?
Her Highness Ermine Serene I comb my fingers along her head admiring her pink nose she sneezes with a grunt turns around three times lies back on the pillow the ego of her it’s my bed or so I thought closes her eyes tight and tighter asleep just like that purring.
It’s Diligence Combined with a Certain Approach
Time per nude I wonder as I paint this skinny lady the third try today how much time per nude will it take before my painting any of my paintings looks like a person any person even if not necessarily the one in front of me? These classes are not cheap and so far I’ve issued a stay of execution for none of my subjects. Out they go to the curb. I can’t imagine what the garbage men think. No. It can’t go on. I’m killing time, that’s all. Look. What ails this painting that it has turned so green and mottled? It seethes. And does the left arm look sort of like a mop? Idea. Is there any way I can turn this painting into a nude housewife with a serious skin disease mopping a kitchen floor?
At the Courthouse on Monday
Courtroom i. Lawyer:
Jury pick session and you reject a a blue hair with a neat perm and so that old lady her she went to the beach instead of serving on the jury why not she was plenty old enough you knew that already and that’s why you said no You will come to think maybe she would have been better than that young guy with the holey jeans you did choose hung the jury he did, you’ll know that next week, but too late too late that old lady she’s slathering on the sunscreen as we speak.
Courtroom ii. Witness:
I sat there in a nice navy-blue dress I listened for twenty minutes straight then denied it all so let’s say your whole life has taken a real turn for the better you don’t need to confess to me I know you did do it now that you’ve been acquitted and I sure do deserve some thanks for the alibi and how about something like I sincerely appreciate your testimony and You call me again I’ll remind you of this whole episode not to mention You owe me and I will collect.
Courtroom iii. Jury Member:
Assembled in the hall outside the courtroom twelve of us. New group of acquaintances We met last week at selection. Now we will decide something about an old lady and the apartment complex Don’t know what the problem was yet. They don’t tell you anything. Witnesses standing over there three ladies dressed in black suits. Plaintiff looks one hundred years old her lawyer, twenty-one. Defendant and his lawyer both sweating. We file into the jury room we wait. It is past nine o’clock when The judge white-haired smiling sweeps in. The parties settled. No trial. We clear that jury room thirty seconds, tops blow past the marshalling room on the way out take in a panoramic view of today’s crop of involuntary adjudicators quiet and restless and waiting. A few look up. Most don’t.
It seemed that the job was suddenly available after all but Don’t take a seat you won’t be staying long That’s what I heard the floor tiles say the chair in the waiting room explain. So you see It’s that simple how I ended up here instead of there. I took a hint. I listened to what the air vents whispered. Get fired? No. I was afraid I wouldn’t be. couldn’t take the chance I’d still be sitting there at that desk forty years later the fifth- generation of the original potted plant I brought to work on my first day set on the corner of windowsill that I could call mine. No. The elevator knew. It rushed me to the lobby. I ran. Chased by opportunity turned inside out. I ran.
Courtroom Two Nine AM Thursday
No one cheats me and gets away with it I sure don’t cheat anyone even though everyone lies everyone keeps secrets but not me I don’t. I fight fair and I kick hard You know it’s coming. I resented the greed the arrogance the financial haircut this witch wanted to administer and so the time came to say hey wake up and sue this feline barracuda wannabe so I did and I am. And by the way Fair warning. The white gloves are off. I’m not standing here in my pantyhose high heels better quality navy-blue dress just to lose. All right. Let’s get things started.
Vision of the Beginning
The high windows squared the top of the large room a band set just beneath the ceiling that today floated above an overcast featureless sky pale gray and pressing in against the glass. No depth no scale to it but a solid insubstantiality menacing malevolent shattering the inrush of blurred air forcing the walls out the roof up the concrete and steel enclosure made nonexistent in an instant I sat in its ruins.
I looked down at my hands trembling I clasped them tight stilled them I counted the metacarpal bones under my skin I did not look up again.
The pastry chef mullet hairdo hidden under his hat health regulations a source of chagrin being the only flaw in a perfect job because he is almost as proud of his hair as he is of the flawless latticed apple pie in the case.
Everybody wants to worry about soap operas and french fries being madly in love bathing suit butt coverage too much hair weed-infested front lawns because nobody wants to worry about being dead forever or worse whether any of this other worry is worth it considering and then there is that other thought that follows which is sometimes just the idea of getting dressed every day for another twenty-five years or so seems like a lot of effort doesn’t it? You’ve got to stay away from thinking like this And it’s why everybody jumps in fired-up eager to worry about plastic bottles dressing to disguise a pot belly fabric softeners and spiderwebs in the corner.
The Again of It
There is a pattern and the pattern is a sphere held inside cupped hands full of the time that spirals in spirals out a stretch of slubbed yarn in long thin sections connecting short bulges of thick fat color the pass through the fingers again and again
There is a pattern and the pattern is a hallway of black and white squares reaching the length of your arm again and another time and multiplied side doors crowding along it entrances and exits and returns
There is a pattern and the pattern is a few square yards of this earth wound around in green matted-down paths worn in thick grass that will grow up again to be tread upon again and the again is the pattern
The pattern being memory. The pattern being location. The pattern being the small beads woven tight and no scissors that can cut the pattern apart
are found in the drawer. The pattern is the one thing. It accommodates. It contains. It comprehends. Again. Again.