Posted: April 12, 2010 in Poetry

I spent the wekeend writing grant applications. Well worth it if successful. A time-sucking vortex if not.

CONTEXT: January, 2009

I like the think I have a pretty good grasp on Slam. I don’t mean I am ZE AWESUM! or anything, because just because you understand slam doesn’t mean you are a great writer or performer. I just mean I understand strategy and what tends to do well… or whatever.
Sometimes I am wrong. I have heard poems that I thought were going to slay not do so well. Other times I have heard poems that I didn’t think were good at all, score quite high.

Then there is this poem.

I went to a slam with two new poems. One was a piece that I was very proud of… but I hadn’t performed. Basically, the content combined with the death of a good friend and great poet made the poem feel like I was talking about something that I wasn’t.

I still thought it was good. When I finally let myself perform it, I paired it up with a light, fun poem. I put When I Am Gone first, because I thought it was the stronger poem.

Wow. What a misread. For the first time it about two years I missed the second round. It appeared (and still appears) that I like the poem more than anyone else does. Due to an odd series of events with two poets leaving at the break, I ended up in the second round anyway. I performed that throw-away piece that I had planned… and it went over huge.

What I thought was a throw-away piece turned into one of my most popular poems ever.

Go figure.

At least I enjoy performing it. It is also the title piece from my chapbook (as the name seemed appropriate for a book…)


Some people want to change the world.
They want to be president, king,
Or even pope,
But I know where the real power lies
And that is why I want to be…
A librarian.

I’ve already established that art is life
And life is art
And if art can reflect the world around
Maybe it’s time to spin the mirror round
To show that the world can reflect art too
And if we change the way we look at art
Maybe we can change this ever-fluid mercury
That we begrudgingly call

I’ll start with the system created
By Donald Duck’s middle nephew.

I’ll move Children’s Literature
To Current Affairs
And Military History
To Mythology,
Because we could all use a little more childishness
And if all our conflicts were decided by
House blowing contests
And our international affairs consultants
Were named Sendak and Carroll,
Wouldn’t the world look a little different?

I’ll move Speculative Fiction
To History.
Multiple histories for a complex world
May confuse some, but
And if I am going to rip off Whitman
I should move him over by Disney
Where the two Walts can make a new
Happiest place on earth.

I’ll mix Economic books
With Psychology and Philosophy
And realize…
They are already the same thing.

I’ll mix Science books
With J.K. Rowling
And remember
The science and magic are separated only by understanding.

I’ll take all the holy books
And leave copies in
Religion, History, and Fiction
So everyone can find what they are looking for.

I’ll take all the Poetry books
And scatter then through the stacks
So it is no longer ghettoized
By form rather than subject.

I’ll go to the Biography section
And toss out anything about a deceased creator
Because when one creates
They never truly die.

I’ll take all the bodice-ripping Romance novels
And hide them
So anybody who wants to
Find them
Will have to
Ask somebody
And maybe find what they are looking for
In a smile, instead.

I’ll take every mention of the word fiction
And tear it up,
Because what is real to one
Should not by imposed by another.

I’ll take all the self-help books
And toss out anything that is really self-hurt
And with all the extra space
I’ll bring in books about
Helping others, instead.

I think that will do the trick.

When I am done I will throw open the doors
And watch the new existence
Seep out into the world.

Now some may complain
That they can’t find this or that
But maybe they’ll find something unexpected
And broaden their world a little.

Soon the book swill be so mixed up that
There will be no point in trying
To categorize them at all
And that is when we will realize that

Fiction is just perspective
Reality is just point of view
And the world really is
What we make it.


Next is my triumphant return to the world of Dusty Owl’s Object of Desire!

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rusty Priske. Rusty Priske said: #rustythepoet one of my most popular pieces – Library […]

  2. […] on a new arrangement of it with my good friend Danielle. It will be awesome! I finished up with Library, which went over really big. It was a […]

  3. […] I LOVE what Danielle and Kevin have done to “Why Art?” I LOVE having them join in on “Icarus” and “Library“. […]

  4. […] poems I had been working on with the Copper Conundrum. It is fun to do older stuff sometimes. I did Library and They went over well and I ended up […]

  5. […] My set list: Why Art? The Stranger FN Moving to Arizona The Four Horsemen (debut!) Four-Colour World (debut!) Library […]

  6. […] came Mia Morgan performing Library, which she says is her favourite. […]

  7. […] her set she covered a piece of V’s (KILLER!!), and she asked me to join her so we could do Library. This was originally going to be a parting Copper Conundrum performance but Kevin was very ill and […]

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