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Old Books 

My Shakespeare has no spine —
O, 'twas a brave old book,
but too many times hefted,
crack'd open, it tore away,
   nor is it back today.

My Iliad has no face —
but lies uncovered, like the rubble
of the ancient city, to the elements,
to time and rampaging Greeks.

My Bukowski butt-ends, backless,
like a road paved to the brink
of an apropos drunken plunge
   into the abyss.

My paper Swift is gutless,
unglued at the midpoint,
minus "The Tale of a Tub."
I keep it for its "Gulliver"
   and "Modest Proposal."

And soon enough, I myself
will be cackling, toothless,
over a few crumbling flitters
of what might once
   have been a story.

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Rick Park

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