who told us to be so still?
who said that reading should
be done sitting, or reclining,
at a desk, in an armchair, in bed?
I fall asleep so fast when I do that
it feels good, certainly,
to sink into my goose down pillows
with a volume in my hands,
reading and reading and reading
until my eyes grow heavy
and I forget what the last
I did that for years.
how I loved falling asleep
with a book on my chest,
afraid of leaving accidental creases
on the pages but loving
the way my aunt or mother or father or uncle
would come into my room, pull those
glasses off of me, set the book on my nightstand
and turn out the light.
(yes, I often woke up when
they came in the room, but I was
too drowsy and too happy to ever
reveal my consciousness)
but now, oh, it is so hard now
just to sit
is there so much virtue in being still, anyway?
while meditating, or during yoga, yes
but while reading!
while ideas and words and images
are pouring from the pages and flooding the mind–
what can you do but stand up!
and walk with the book in hand,
cover miles of library carpet with your
pacing to match the rate at which
the mind races along with the author.
I should have learned this years ago.
I will try reading literary criticism standing up.
I shall see if all those esoteric gender theory texts
flow more easily into my brain while I walk.
and poetry! to move with the poetry,
to turn a corner as the next verse ends,
to come to a standstill at the space between stanzas!
to waltz with the words!
how wonderful it is
to do it standing up.