Stephen Kessler - Street Signs Previous1 | 2 | 3 Next — Home



Photo by Jory Post

Originally conceived as “local color” pieces for a column in the Santa Cruz Weekly, these hybrid prosems have evolved into a work in progress examining the author’s relation to certain places and attempting to evoke life lived “on location,” in the moment, and in the swirl of sensory perception, language and consciousness.

Hours in Logos

Is this between time, a warp in which eternity occurs, or life itself, these hours when you browse at leisure among the used volumes, cruising the new arrivals with nothing in mind—as if you needed another book—and finding, say, some tales of Tolstoy in an old edition, illustrated, probably from the forties but without a date, for five bucks, so you indulge your lust for the ancient real, if words imprinted on paper before Zip codes existed can be called real in such virtual times.   There is music, too, in those rolling racks of discs and in the bins where even LPs linger to be flipped through in search of nothing but the unexpected, that obscure masterpiece you’ve heard of but never heard, which seems to make it sweeter even if you’re missing the machine to play it.  There is consolation in the physical, these objects you feel in your fingers as you contemplate their contents, the paradoxically disembodied melodies, the sentences released in your mind as you listen or read.  Real sounds, too, serenade you, thanks to the unpredictable tastes of the clerks spinning their preferred music to work by through hidden speakers, sometimes as if speaking to some self of yours you thought lost, yet a few notes and those years have returned and you nod, recognizing the familiar rhythm, intimately remote.  And so you remain amid the shelves and the big tables piled with remainders.  Relishing the uselessness of this pursuit of the permanent mysteriously embodied in these books, inanimate yet surely alive in a way even their authors no longer are.  You are among your kind, communing in this curious place to which you return always as to an inn on some long road between towns.  These hours are yours alone, when there’s nowhere you need to be but here and now, and you are in your element, content simply to swim in these calm waters where all the words in the world, or those whose coolness soothes the soul, slowly swirl and flow.

Scratch Pegasus || Poems of Consummation || Street Signs || Confessions of a Heteroformalist || The Redwood Coast Review || The Mental Traveler || More About SK || Readings

FloodLIght Feature by phren-Z   A Santa Cruz Writes Publication