Old Books Regret Nothing by William Doreski

All night, pages turn as old books
read themselves over and over.
Their intelligence rises to mate
with the cosmic dark matter
that empowers nothing but fills
the gaps between great moments
of supernova. Up too early
and driving to the city, you’re sure
those old books regret nothing,
not even belief that the sun
revolves around the earth, that gods
as malformed as humans control
the crush of events that define us.

I want to keep these books shelved
so tightly the pages can’t turn
as I sleep off the pizza and wine
that last night seemed so hearty.
I want the ignorance of ages
more elegant than ours to honor
a discretion expressed in films
with awkward but showy costumes
and actors riffling phony accents.
You’d like to live where dark matter
touches the surface of the earth
to spark thick and cold black flames
that cleanse rather than devour.

This happens in the Amazon
Basin, in northwest Siberia,
in the desert in northern Chad.
You couldn’t plug in your computer;
but recharging yourself rather
than digital devices requires
crushing the ego as it squirms
toward the light, the dark matter
flexing from the thick old pages
of books I’m afraid will read me
as cruelly as I’ve read them.


William Doreski’s most recent collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009).  His work has appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Natural Bridge.

© 2012 William Doreski