“If Librarians Were Honest…”

alphabooksIn honor of Banned Books Week, I have been thinking a lot about books mean to me and what it would be like to not be able to ever read certain ones again. A book is a powerful thing, it can offer new ideas, allow empathy to bloom, and shed light in inner emotions and connections. Which leads me back to a poem that I’ve been meaning to publish on here for awhile.

It describes exactly the way I feel about a book, any book, all books. How they change and impact you, how they can alter your perceptions and expand your world. There are few things in this world that have that capability, to have such a profound ability to kill you where you stand and raise you from the depths of your personal hell. They can make you laugh, cry, cringe, dissolve, reform, rave, rant, become more determined and understanding, waste an entire day, drink three cups of tea, fall off your chair, ignore the world around you.


If Librarians Were Honest – Joe Mills

If librarians were honest,

they wouldn’t smile, or act

welcoming. They would say,

You need to be careful. Here

be monsters. They would say,

These rooms house heathens

and heretics, murderers and

maniacs, the deluded, desperate,

and dissolute. They would say,

These books contain knowledge

of death, desire, and decay,

betrayal, blood, and more blood;

each is a Pandora’s box, so why

would you want to open one.

They would post danger

signs warning that contact

might result in mood swings,

severe changes in vision,

and mind-altering effects.

If librarians were honest

they would admit the stacks

can be more seductive and

shocking than porn. After all,

once you’ve seen a few

breasts, vaginas, and penises,

more is simply more,

a comforting banality,

but the shelves of a library

contain sensational novelties,

a scandalous, permissive mingling

of Malcolm X, Marx, Melville,

Merwin, Millay, Milton, Morrison,

and anyone can check them out,

taking them home or to some corner

where they can be debauched

and impregnated with ideas.

If librarians were honest,

they would say, No one

spends time here without being

changed. Maybe you should

go home. While you still can. 

(Source: http://www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Mills_If_Librarians_Were_Honest.pdf)

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