August 31, 2018
Photo by Ken Boyar

What to Read
A Poem by Mark S. Peel

Each time I finish a read
I think of the selections that beckon.
What next, where to go to meet my next best friend.
A young man has all the time in the world before him
to consume and enjoy what has been or will be written
or to otherwise waste his time.
Not to be morose but an older man,
which I am, must come to terms
with the narrowing slip of time left to wade
through all the published words of others.
I mean to take some serious time to search
among the available non-fiction options –
my particular preference and terrible bias –
but that time never seems to appear between my good friends.

Try as I have to read all that is worthy, I have not been able.
Though not proud I have left most of the so-called fictional
classics unread until now, I wonder
if there is even enough room on all the nightstands or corners of Heaven?
What will be left on mine?
If I were to choose my Ulysses (still stuck on page 537),
no one will be surprised or impressed (as if I would care anyhow).
If I were to choose hard core porn just for the sheer joy,
I doubt anyone would be surprised: they should be so consumed
by my demise as not to notice anyway.

I suppose I can save most of the fiction for the Afterlife
when there should be plenty of time for it.
Whatever I choose for now, it will be for pure self-interest
to bring something fresh to the closing routine of life.
At my current rate there will be quite a store left
unread or even unwrapped from some Christmases past.
The bibliography of worthy candidates is missing only a few hundred biographies, histories, picture books and self-help tomes. There being so much,
I must plan to leave my eternal forwarding address and wishes with Amazon.

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