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Writing about used booksI have been writing about books every now and then, books I am reading, books I wish to read.

Back when I was a student, and sometimes did not know where the next meal would come from, I would still buy books. Books sold by weight on Indian pavements, because in those days in India they wasted nothing, and I could not afford shiny new books.

But now, when I can afford to buy any book I might possibly want, used books still call to me.

I tried to write about this love affair (in prose, mind you!) but I can’t help it, I think each books speaks to me in verse, in words which are garbled prayer and temptation,  so here goes (sigh, again, “a poem”!!!! Rick, you are laughing, aren’t you?)

Thumbed, dog-eared,
cover torn in places
names written, forgotten
crossed out, passed on.

I come with a tang
of lazy afternoons,
of mildewed bookshelves
falling apart,
of cheap colognes
on a young man
looking for a start,
of pungent desires
shakily denied,
salted airs in a
pickle factory where
I almost died,
of this dusty pavement
where I am to be sold
made into packets, bags,
my story untold.

Come pick me up
take me with you
and you shall know
of whispered confessions,
innuendos, half-written
poems, and shattered
dreams, as I talk
to you and you listen
with your eyes closed and
an open heart.

For my best secrets
were not printed
on my body
but written
into my soul
by all these years
I spent waiting,
waiting for you,
my love.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Lofter says:

    I have no video camera… I know, I’m a nerd. My digital will only take short clips of a few seconds. But, if I happen upon an opportunity, I’ll record a couple of songs and post them.
    Thanks for the interest! 😉

  • damyantig says:

    Indigo, thanks for stopping by. I went over to your post too, and thanks for that as well!

  • damyantig says:

    Thanks, Lofter, for posting the song! Would have loved to hear it too! Maybe you can do a video on YouTube? 😉

  • Lofter says:

    I’ve never really posted any of my songs online. Not sure why… just never have. Most of the poetry work I’ve done was paid work, and I no longer have rights to it. However, I still write on request for friends, and friends of friends, on birthdays, retirements, funerals, etc. (I got out of the poetry business because it became more work than enjoyment, but I still write for myself.)
    Forgive the length, but I’ll share the song I played last night with you here… It’s called, “As Long As I Have You” and it goes like this:

    Someday you and I will look back on these hard times
    and the pain that we walk through
    And you’ll wipe away the tracks of the tears I’ve had to cry
    and I’ll do the same for you
    And all the dreams I have
    You can make them all come true
    As long as I have you

    Together we’ll survive the pain of others in our lives
    it’s simply what we have to do (to let them go)
    Though the scars they leave run deep, it’s to each other we must keep
    the promise of a love so true
    And all the dreams you have
    I can make them all come true
    As long as I have you

    And all the dreams we share, together
    we can make them all come true
    As along as I have you

    ©1990, Jeff Jeter, Aeschylus Productions, all rights reserved (sorry! gotta add that part!)

  • indigobunting says:

    Your buying books made me think of a Persian proverb a friend quote: If you have two pennies, buy bread with one and with the other hyacinths for the soul.

    Yes, I’ve been lurking a bit, but mostly I’m behind. See my blog to see what you inspired.

  • damyantig says:

    I am with you there, a one hundred percent. It is just that I wish my muse would bless me with prose instead of poetry 🙁 :(.

    ………..where can I see some of the songs you’ve written?

  • Lofter says:

    It’s been my experience that writing never works when you force it… we have to release what’s there, without questioning why it may not be what we wished it were. The best songs I’ve ever written came out of simply letting my pen wander across the page, or my fingers along the keyboard, not trying to mold anything, but simply letting it come out. Often, I’d not even realize what I’d done until it was over.

    Then again, I’ve been suspected of mental illness by many of those close to me, so… 😀

  • damyantig says:

    Um, Lofter, this poetry is all very good, but sadly, I am trying to get ahead with some prose…and not making any headway while I write poems:(

  • Lofter says:

    What a vividly beautiful sentiment… I can’t understand your dismay, though. You’re a wonderful poet! 🙂

  • damyantig says:

    Darc, I think old books acquire the imprint of their owners and their surroundings, they become musty and mysterious almost simultaneously as they grow old……

    thanks for loving the poem, I am beginning to hate the poems because they come in the way of my morning prose writing practice.:(

  • DarcKnyt says:

    I liked your poem, and yes, I love old books. There’s just something about them, almost reverent, that new books don’t get for a time. Until they’re old, too.

    I wonder if there’s something about the way wood ages that does it?

    Love old books, can certainly relate. 🙂

  • damyantig says:

    Rick, I know what you are talking about. I used to write only poems a few years back, but I was told (rightly so, I think) that it is a waste of time as far as earning money is concerned. So I gave it up.

    I guess now that I don’t need to worry so much about money, it is coming back with a vengeance!

    As to Amlokiblogs, I am not sure why you are not being allowed to post comment, you do have a blogger id last I checked….Let me get over there and see if it will allow me to comment!

  • damyantig says:

    Annie, it is the same for me:). I love the smell of old books!

  • rick mobbs says:

    Writing on writing : Amlokiblogs isn’t letting me leave a comment on the Dickens post. That passage you quoted is amazing. Besides all the other things he did with the writing he also told us why the man limped, shivered , glared and growled. Because he had been soaked, smothered, lamed, cut, stung and torn. It is not surprising that he glared and growled rather than observing and speaking.

  • rick mobbs says:

    I think you have opened Pandora’s box to discover not monsters, but beautiful words and images. Just as in your prose, really. There is a book I think you would like : And Then I Wrote, The Songwriter Speaks … you can find it for 6 bucks on, I just checked. (Now that you can afford to eat and buy books.)

  • There is nothing I would rather do than roam a used book store on a weekend afternoon. It is one of the most decadent of pleasures.

    Loved the poem.

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