Death of an Author

Work has to be done.—Philip Larkin

The day’s returns: each inter-library
loaner falls back, is carted out to be
interred, in turn, as per the crisp white tag
or quaint engraving at its foot. I hurry,
orderly fashion, through Post-Docs’ mortuary
rigors, pronounced silence, then quickly sag,

gasping before the corpus’s deadweight—
journals, correspondence, proofs—estate
of, spineless-but-entitled, all those (very)
loosely based on earth, bound for the next
life (for which the first is just pretext):
a morbid bid for more? A secondary

sorcery? Tomb-like enscryption (tome,
“to me”), Divinely-Othered (“me too,” c’est nom
de plume
diplomacy)? An undercover,
below-board plot—ex libris liberation
from restless mooning, heavenly libration
between book-ending darknesses, a hover

illuminating through all time? Depends
on meaning being read into their ends.
Such is our line of work, a critical
condition (code read). Dictator/recorder—
from day one (utter chaos) called to order,
essays the final word. That said, our call

numbers, letters reference, coming age
to age, a learned borrowing; we stage
each item from the catalog’s invented
inventory, filially file
a cartful, in post-Cartesian denial,
of nihil enisled, absence represented

within a system (Congress)—seeming-pure
egoists made selfless stewards of Kulcher?
Sole martyrs to our collective knowledge?—yet
a few relent— withdrawn, or lost; as wary
as we are, any order is arbituary,
extra—certain types cannot be set.

And none is set in stone. No monograph
is monolithic. Preservation staff,
shelf-life support, can do so much about
dog-ears, foxing—cooling from the chase,
the printed page’s chemicals efface,
obliterate it from the inside out,

causing non-circulation, codices
and decomposing authors’ co-decease;
the bookworm’s bite; the end sheet eaten through;
the will in solemn form, the heritage trust:
fresh kindling—all but lit, a film of dust
stamped on, fine; adieu-date, overdue.

That’s overdone. The worst case, when reviewed,
will furnish writs re-issued, check-outs renewed;
spirit must matter more than letter, more
than matter. These, however beaten (raise
the volume…hold it) keep time still, a phrase
repeats the theme—something past things; our lore,

our stacked tall stories. Holdings fall apart
but not the whole ding-an-sich they, in part,
in some… and here again, it falls to us
to make coherent. So, Philosophy—
B1: The Monist; that’s that, through BC:
Logic; right, what follows? Nothing. Thus,

Theology—BR: a brotherhood
wherein the Christian’s good news plus a good
load of BS: Bible Studies, meet,
while HE: Commerce, JC: Politics,
and RC’s, (neither Roman Catholics’
vision nor the reinforced concrete):

Depression, Suicide, join the CC
(told you so) of Archeology,
and centuries of carbon copy now,
fossil-fueled, point down to E: The Rise
of Secular Civilization
and psych-chic energy). LA, somehow,

comprises Education, attending U:
Modern War, as main corporate HQ
(both headquarters and hindquarters) commands
attention: Human Sexuality
(hush-hush); on up from SH: Fishery
to TA: Ergonomics, Science stands

corrected, double-checked, as if in league
with me (TA’s, again, profess Fatigue:
A Lecture Series
), queues and queues of cues,
problems/solutions—QA: Algebra,
Q: Pattern Recognition, HA’s “Ha”:
Statistics, never ceasing, do amuse

on one account, whose new low condescends
to catching up on Z’s: Library Trends;
the nominal somnolence, constant conceit,
methods of overwriting, correlative
“as” of AS, whereby we relive
Literature and History—indiscreet

Anglo-Saxon homilies (y los
PC: Estudios Hispanicos);
Re-echoing PA: public address
in Classical Philology, parental
guide of PG and (con incanto-nental
reiterate) PH (belletryst-esse,

baseless acid—spleen, gall), whence der echt West
declines, directly, toward PM: angst-fest,
PR: firm, mannered English, penultimate
PS: American (post-script, indeed—
my privilege, order Congress hath decreed,
stops here, to the nth degree, degenerate;

coherence comes unhinged, the numbers numb,
even as letters let on, ad museum,
that reason sponsors all, its tired and true
calling will set right the label libel,
inferred infrastructure, diatribal
initiation, folio a deux)—

and N: indefinite figure, variable
whose value, one assumes, is integral
(also, my own—anonymous assign
of Art, that task of naming once achieved,
impressively, by the name names, bereaved,
abbreviated in this task of mine:

to dubiously dub, to speciously
specify). Call it a day. From me
to my relief, the late shift, NE1:
Print Collector, a common binding, small,
and discontinued periodical
supplement. The work is never done.