A book is a math problem,
the kind written in a messy scrawl,
an anomaly inside a meticulous journal.
The page is yellowing and dog-eared
and the equation is
surrounded by crossed-out calculations
but there is no
circular black ribbon of ink
entwined with a single number.
The equation has not been solved,
will never be solved,
because a book is a
math problem is a
Today, I am a book.
I see people judging me--
reading me, if you will--
staring at my clothes,
so I look down myself
to check if there are words
written across my skin
(it is a possibility)
I wonder if maybe I am still a book,
just invisible to myself,
because I cannot find where to
turn the page.
I could live on books alone.
I would sit, on a footstool of perhaps dystopian future,
and surround myself with
piles of Shakespeare and Dickens--
at first, at least.
Soon I would have finished those three times each
and I would make myself a bed of soft, downy philosophy
(from The Fault in Our Stars, of course).
Then I would continue to non-fiction,
amuse myself with
something about the weak emotional state of the modern teenager,
and smirk at every pretentious page.
I would nourish myself with the feasts in the Hogwarts dining hall,
feel the shelter of Alex London’s Upper City mansions.
Then one morning I would lay down my book
where my life went.
Too much torn parchment--
I feel claustrophobic--
get me OUT!
I no longer want to be
part of this world that I have created,
not enough light to survive,
I tried to immerse myself in my writing
to develop my characters,
make them more real,
but I need to tear up this book NOW
because it is a menace of words.
because it is I who thrust characters
unwillingly into these pages.
It is I who tortured them,
shoved them into peril.
Being an author is even worse
than being a dictator
at least the civilians can protest.
The characters can only
A book is a collection of
Not only the plots--
oh, it’s obvious that I’ll never be
swept away on the back of a dragon--
but the resolutions.
That’s what gets me.
I don’t mind fantasy,
because, well, it’s fantasy. AKA: imagined.
With resolutions, though,
the author always gives you false hope
that people who are evil always end up kicking the bucket
or that the heroes
always return home from their quests
laden with gold and glory.
and this is the worst--
they’ll tell you that our messed up society will
magically morph into a utopia someday
when the right people come along.
Well, authors, return to reality,
because the world is not a friendly place
and we’ll all just have to deal with it.
I, for one, don’t need your lies
to keep me going.
I hate it when humans fold down my pages.
It always tickles.
I prefer a bookmark,
so soothing and cool compared to the sweaty hands
that usually muss up my pristine pages.
Humans. They’re so inconsiderate.
Sometimes, one will read half of me and then throw me down,
crumpling me (which is rude enough)
but then they’ll just leave me there
until my spine feels stiff and achy from
the position I landed in after I was tossed.
It’s even worse when they pick me up again
and continue pawing through me as if I
weren’t sore and torn.
And after they do that, they suffocate me with
The saddest part, though, is after the packing tape
is too thin to hold me together,
and the humans drop me down a garbage chute
and I’m ripped apart.
I hate being a book.
I’m so replaceable.
This piece won a Gold Key and a National Silver Medal in the 2014 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.