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well you can't and you won't and you don't stop
April 27, 2012 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Name That Poem: It's about reading all night.

About 10 or 12 years ago I read a poem about someone staying up and reading all night. I believe it begins "Well, I can't stop reading" and keeps going along those lines, about what happens in the speaker's mind and what happens around him in the world while he keeps reading. (I'm quite sure the author was male, hence the "he.") The poem wasn't very long, probably about a page, in a slender column, and didn't rhyme.

I loved this poem dearly but can't find the copy I surely saved somewhere. I'm already late for Poem In Your Pocket Day, but this would most likely be my pocket poem if I could locate it again. Anyone recognize this, who could steer me toward a new copy? Googling "can't stop reading" and such have failed so far.
posted by dlugoczaj to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
i read my just arrived copy of The Mongoliad the other night cover to cover. Bad habit i've had since i was a kid (Bunnicula, i'm talking about you). Curious to see this poem when someone digs it up.
posted by th3ph17 at 8:51 AM on April 27, 2012


(Please note: this poem was NOT by Wallace Stevens, although he has done a couple about all-night reading. I believe this author is much more contemporary.)
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:53 AM on April 27, 2012


This is it, this is it! (Just had to be more careful with the Google, I guess.) So for th3ph17's benefit, I suppose--

THE READER

Well I can’t stop reading, and night
descends—stars flock above my head
like confetti thrown up at a celebration,
a marriage or a bar mitzvah, as I keep reading
past midnight when the moon appears,
big as a tumor, then rises
even farther toward the zenith
and turns benign shedding its frail
happiness everywhere, but I keep reading
into morning when the sun
arrives, the moon’s alter-ego,
wearing mist like one of those wispy
nightgowns tied in the back,
burning with health, even as I keep reading
while nations rise and fall,
blown this way and that by wind
that howls through our hearts
the way sea gales howl in chambers
of desolate caves along the coast,
and I’m still reading, well
into afternoon as light’s memory fades
and each thing is misplaced,
fallen into night’s black pockets
or simply effaced by the brain’s gummy eraser
shredding itself against the world—
I go on reading, reading
even as the body keeps turning
its soft pages in the dark,
by the light of my own obsession,
the beacon of my own hunger,
as if my life depended on it.


And I literally teared up when I realized it was by Kurt Brown, who I love--I just don't have this particular book.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:03 AM on April 27, 2012 [11 favorites]


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