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You know what I am: the slight stench of mould hidden in long-forgotten books, covered up by the deodorant of sunburnt pages and the memory of rain, doorways to other places flickering in your periphery, thoughts chasing each other; ideas rustling, life on the tip of your tongue, an ebb and flow of pulses and minds — you suck it in so you’re filled with it, with everything I am.

Don’t lie. I know a Reader when I see one. You’re the ones who linger over embossed covers, trace the tanned edges of crisp pages with the tips of your fingers, the tip of your mind. It excites you to be in one realm, on the verge of so many others. You all have that look about you: as if the fantasy is this reality, and not the dreamscapes you so longingly look at. I can spot a Reader with my eyes shut.

Take her, for instance.

***

Her gaze caresses ripening tomes hanging heavy,
wondering which to pick, wandering among
the orchard-shelves. She dances in shattered shade
beneath the trees. Tangy juice and succulent
flesh glisten in the light of a thousand worlds.
Swilling lust-red wine is the same as savouring a
lettered-spine; she deliberates, knowing once she
starts-there’s-no-stopping, because she’s an
alcoholic, her cellar the aisle she paces.
She prises one from the throng and,
turning to the first page, takes a sip.
The words sit — biting — on her tongue,
sharp as cabernet.
Oysters slice careless flesh:
opening it, fingers press along a razorblade
sharp as horizon’s edge, a paper cut soul-deep.

*

And then there are the Speakers, the ones who love the visceral vibrations of voices. Not to say they dislike the dance of the written word, making patterns in their pupils, but it's clear what their preference is.

*

“Hey, what if Holden Caulfield
fell
     in
         love
                  with Anna Karenina,
or Hermione Granger?
Would they love him back?
What about Lyra Silvertongue and
Mr. Rochester? Carroll’s Alice and
Christopher Robin? Or Billy Pilgrim
and Mary Poppins? No, you’re right:
Holden Caulfield isn’t the type to fall
in love, nor is Christopher; and
while Pilgrim travels in time
and Poppins bends space in a bag,
I don’t think they’d make such a good
couple after all. Besides, Lyra’s not fit for
anyone but Will, Rochester anyone
but Jane (even if she does whine a lot).”
“What about Alice?”
“You’re forgetting her story is all about
love:
its trials and confusions and insanity,
its ridiculousness and its magic and its passion:
how is Alice an allegory for anything but love?”

*

The Listener — every Speaker’s counterpart — is content to fade into the orchestra of life. There’s a musicality to their world, a melody in the thrum of traffic or the wind’s strings moving trees like puppets, a beat in the sizzle of rain or echoing footsteps.

*

He waits in the car outside,
while she’s inside with the books,
content to be her second love.
There are worse things to love, surely?
He taps the wheel, letting songs sung
by the stereo score his literary soundtrack:
‘Jesse’s Girl’ is his Great Gatsby,
‘Hungry as the Wolf’ his Call of the Wild,
‘Fast Car’ Kerouac,
‘Original Sin’ his Mockingbird and
a dozen songs High Fidelity.
He sees her walking outside,
while he’s inside, floating high.

*

Yet, sound isn’t always beautiful. It can be chaotic and breathless, achingly and torturously unending. It often is.

*

The photocopier screams,
“Low-ink — cardiac arrest,”
and the library is a hospital
with people who think
it’s an emergency, but
their job is to care, and as they
rush and fret and rush,
books topple,
covers creasing while
someone yells, “Code Austen!” and
that girl who’s always in that aisle
leaps into action, thumb
between the pages, helpful smile
on her clock face shifting
all the while, and the sound of students’
pens scribbling on paper distracts
them like a drug, Imagination,
but by the time they rid the urge,
it’s closing time, and silence reigns:
the cliché restored.

***

You don’t believe me? Draw near. Nearer. Turn your ear to me, and let me whisper to your curiosity, make dreams leap like sparks thrown from fire into inky darkness. Listen to the creaking of my shelves, these arthritic joints. There’s a tale in them. Hear the poetry hidden in the prose of everyday. You can’t? Come closer, tilt your head, listen…

And watch.
Yep, yet another revision on this piece (it's for an assignment!) so please forgive me for spamming all of my wonderful watchers' inboxes. I apologise profusely, but I figured it was different enough to warrant a completely new deviation (and not just update the old one). I hope you'll still be my watcher :hug:

Let me know what you think: any clichés, overused images, clunky lines, overwritten parts, etc. And please be specific! If you want to give a general overview, that's great, but please don't tell me it sucks without telling me why...I'm still learning, and I need all the help I can get! Thanks for reading!
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:iconchromeantennae:
chromeantennae Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is an absolutely incredible piece, Blake. Well done. :clap:
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so much! :hug:
Reply
:iconchromeantennae:
chromeantennae Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
My pleasure, good sir. :hug:
Reply
:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Interesting, bringing all these pieces with such different flavors together. Individually, I love the imagery in every one of these -- it's one of your true gifts. For me personally it's a little conflicting when they're all together, but I like that the ideas have been linked like this. It's hard in one document but I like them as a series, each with a unique feel.
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013  Student Writer
Yes, I share your sentiments (in a modest way, of course)! I only had them all together because it was for an assignment (had to be a certain word count and mix together prose and poetry), but if I ever do publish my poetry, they'd probably be in a suite, but definitely separate. Thanks for reading!
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:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Well, there you go! Sounds perfect :)
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:iconintroverted-ghost:
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013   Writer
I love this. It's essentially my life, wrapped up.
Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013  Student Writer
I'm so glad you liked it :)

Do you still think this about the first poem? I tried to change it because of what you said, and I hope I did do that.

Gosh, I don't know.

 

I want to love that first one, I really do. But I don't.

 

I spend a lot of time in libraries. I am that girl. And you just, you missed the heart of it. You missed the delicacy, the way every movement is treasured, every book is a treat.

 

It's difficult to explain. It feels ... empty.

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:iconintroverted-ghost:
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013   Writer

This time, I went in skeptical - based on nothing but the title. I am always careful with pieces about libraries or books because they lie so very, very close to my heart. Perhaps my heart is a library. In any case, I am careful because so many people write about books, libraries, girls that read and boys who don't read but try to love the girl anyway but very few succeed in telling it the way it feels.

 

This time, I loved it. This time, I found myself in every line, even though you described different 'types' - of which there are many. This time, you found the heart - it wasn't the girl, it wasn't the boy. It was - is, the books, the shelves, the high vaulted ceiling that presses the mustiness and the ink into a perfume.

 

You did well. Thank you.

Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013  Student Writer
What glowing praise! :blush: Thanks so much! I'm so glad that I 'caught' you this time. My aim in writing about "the library" was to write it new, fresh and engaging. I know there's so many written pieces about books and reading, and I wanted to approach that from a new direction, a new perspective, with a new voice. So thank you for giving me the confidence to know that I have achieved that. (Also, just for the record, I don't know why it's always girls who love reading — I'm a guy and I adore reading...maybe there's a story in that :P )

And those last few lines in the second paragraph you wrote? I think there's a poem in that! Thanks for commenting, and for the fave as well :D
Reply
:iconintroverted-ghost:
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013   Writer

You're most welcome. I'm glad you chose the angle you did. (Some crazy idea that girls that read are untouchable, unreachable, dangerous, beautiful, etc. Most of us aren't. It's a stereotype. I'd far rather meet a guy that reads as avidly as I do.)

 

Which few lines?

 

You're welcome. :)

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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013  Student Writer
Yeah, I hate that stereotype. Most of my closest friends are female bookworms (that sounds weird :S ) and they're probably more down-to-earth than most other girls.

Oh, when you said:
This time you found the heart - it wasn't the girl, it wasn't the boy. It was - is, the books, the shelves, the high vaulted ceiling that presses the mustiness and the ink into a perfume.
You put it very beautifully.
Reply
:iconintroverted-ghost:
introverted-ghost Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2013   Writer

Bookworm is an irritating term. Just because I read, does not mean that I am a worm. However, I do appreciate one aspect of it - worms take a lot of debris and turn it into something wonderfully useful. Readers do this.

 

Ah, thank you. That is the third time I have received a compliment on my typical conversation today. I appreciate it greatly. :hug: 

Reply
:iconwithoutthei:
Withoutthei Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013
Love love love it :) Is it pathetic that I now want to see an AU with Christopher Robin and Alice where they meet and fall in love. I ship it! Beautiful :)  
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks Clare! Hmm :/ Idea for a fanfic, perhaps? ;)
Reply
:iconwithoutthei:
Withoutthei Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013
Oh gosh yes! Please write one :P I've recently started getting back into fan fiction... I have lost control of my life :P I think it should be something like Alice is longing for Wonderland so she tries to recreate it by setting up her toys around the house like it was Wonderland but she was missing the Mad Hatter and begins searching for a toy that is mad enough for that role. Christopher Robin had been playing with Pooh et al. in his front yard and quickly ran inside, leaving them unattended. Alice thinks they're out the front being thrown away and walks off with Tigger when Christopher Robin comes back outside, he notices Tigger's absence and chases Alice up the road. That's all I can think of so far :) but I think their characters would be adorable together. She's really bossy and strong-willed while he's very giving and gentle... it would be a similar dynamic to Amy and Rory. 
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Student Writer
Haha! Are you sure you don't want to write it? ;) Sounds like you've got it all figured out already! Or maybe we can do a collab if you want :D
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:iconwithoutthei:
Withoutthei Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013
Haha gosh no :P Thinking up a story is easy but writing it takes skill :) 
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Student Writer
Well, we can still do a collab :P You come up with the ideas and I storify it :P
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:iconwithoutthei:
Withoutthei Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013
Storify it :P haha I like it :) 
Oh and remember how you promised to give me a dedication in your first novel? Well, I read the Acknowledgements in Looking for Alaska, and John had listed all of these people and for one of them he wrote their name and in brackets "because I promised" :P 
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2013  Student Writer
Yep. Storify it. I wish I could make that a word...but it's already in use apparently (or so a quick Google search tells me). Sad days.

That's so cute! I'm totally going to be writing something like that :P And I can't believe you remembered I said that! I mean, I will, but I'm just surprised that that stuck. So, on my opening dedication page:
To three women owed a promise —
Barbara Hurst, my grandmother
Sarah Clarke, my teacher
Clare Baldwin, my friend.

What say you? :hug:
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(1 Reply)
:iconphyllipa:
Phyllipa Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love, in particular, this:-
"Swilling lust-red wine is the same as savouring a
lettered-spine"
Fantastic :heart:
Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks heaps! :hug:
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:iconannmariebone:
AnnMarieBone Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:painter:  Fantastic writing Blake!  I become a bookaholic, when I put my paint brushes down, and can really relate to this.  Your writing also brings back fond memories of my University days too!    :airborne:
Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Student Writer
Books are the best! Aw, nostalgia :heart:
Thanks! :hug:
Reply
:iconannmariebone:
AnnMarieBone Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:painter:  Yes, at my age, you survive on nostalgia!  :airborne:
Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Student Writer
As long as you don't let it have too much reign over your life — which I find hard to imagine you doing, tromping all over Pompeii and Rome! :P
Reply
:iconannmariebone:
AnnMarieBone Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:painter:  I just love thinking about how life seems to lead us down a certain path and how certain events, that seemed bad at the time, simply change your direction and lead you to your destiny!  :airborne
Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013  Student Writer
It is kind of beautiful, now that you put it like that. Idea for a story, perhaps :D
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:iconannmariebone:
AnnMarieBone Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:painter:  Definitely a story in there somewhere!  I even have my children believing in the idea as I am continually pointing out, when they are in happy situation, how they wouldn't have reached that point if a certain, perhaps upsetting event, hadn't occurred in the past, and changed the path of their lives!  :airborne:
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Student Writer
So very true! Thank you for the inspiration! Creative juices flowing ... which is kind of annoying because I have to work on another story for an assignment. But still, it's going in the ideas notebook! Thanks! :hug:
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(1 Reply)
:iconthestarlitorangetree:
TheStarlitOrangeTree Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013
.....this is one watch I will never regret. 

The vivid descriptions were marvellous, and also very true! As a Reader(chronic, with pleasure), I recognised instantly the *inhales deeply* smell of old books. All the details of a Library, captured with such precision, make for a rather impressive sensation of waking up. I also quite enjoyed the size of this work, as one can rarely find such quantites of poetry in one place and actually remain interested. xD

 My only hitch is the reuse of the old trio, and even that only because the pause between them has been so short. It would have been a wonderful reminder of a previous work, if only a little more time has been allowed to pass. :)

Cheers! 
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Student Writer
Aw, I'm so glad! :hug:

Smell of old books: is there anything so wonderful?

And the 'old trio' was basically the first draft for my assignment, and then after being workshopped in class and a lot of work on it at home, this is the result: my final submission. I'm sorry for spamming you with similar stuff! :S

Thanks so much :D
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:iconkatragoness:
Katragoness Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
whoa.......... I........ *faints into bliss*
Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer
:blush: Thanks!
Reply
:iconbettifelon:
BettiFelon Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013   General Artist
You are a master! <3
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer
:bow: Thank you! :hug:
Reply
:iconbettifelon:
BettiFelon Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013   General Artist
You are welcome. I wish that I had half your talent, my friend!
Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer
:iconohstopityouplz:
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:iconimsolikeconfusedlike:
Imsolikeconfusedlike Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer

It is written more like an essay rather than poetry in some parts, mainly in the long horizontal lines (in my opinion anyway). It's an attempt at prose poetry yeah?
It is very over written in the first paragraph, the same with the second.
"trace the tanned edges of crisp pages with the tips of your fingers" - couldn't you just put "tracing the tanned page edges with your fingertips"? (I know it isn't perfect, but its just that bit smaller and more concise)

 
It's very, very dense. Not to mention over-embellished. Less is always more. Cut it down a bit. We have all been to library (I hope), we know what they look like.

 

I like the intent, but I just get lost in the over zealous pursuit of poetic function.

 

I think "low ink - cardiac arrest" is very jarring. I don't know why though.

I sometimes feel as is you are just listing things that you know or like.

I don't much care for the structure. Choose one style - full page or half page - you can't have both. Not to mention the
"fell
           in
                      love"
part. Maybe just make it one line?

 

I like the piece, don't get me wrong. Just a bit flowery.

I think you have an slight obsession with books. Okay, maybe a tad more than slight. Maybe broaden your poetic horizons to something other than writers and books. It just seems so pointless that a writer is writing about books. Almost everything I have read from you is about books lately.

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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer
It is an attempt at mixing poetry with prose, hence the overwritten prose and the switching formats. So I can have both :P
And the "fell/ in/ love" part is structured that way to represent the "falling".
Almost everything you've read from me has been the same assignment! And I don't think it's pointless that a writer writes about books, as long as they do it in a fresh and engaging way...which I have attempted to do.

Thanks for your feedback!
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:iconimsolikeconfusedlike:
Imsolikeconfusedlike Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer
Don't hate me 'cause I'm honest.

I really do like the piece!

And remember: "Concise! Concise! Concise!"CURSE YOU! 

Hug 
Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer
Not hating. But sometimes concise is a stylistic element in itself, and that wasn't my intent in the prose parts. But thanks for saying what you really think!
Reply
:iconimsolikeconfusedlike:
Imsolikeconfusedlike Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer
I think that if Colin likes it, just ignore everything I've said. My opinion is technically worthless compared to the markers.

I think I'm used to my old HSC English teacher who told me to stay concise about everything.

Anyways, you don't want me rambling on about like the blithering idiot I am, so ill shut up now.
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:iconthepurityofevil:
ThePurityOfEvil Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013
I signed into my account here - for the first time this year at least - just so I could comment. 

As always, your writing is beautiful. For such a softly spoken young man, your writing makes me want to blush. Very nicely done! The only thing that I'm wondering about is word count... but I think you could get away with it here, surely. 

I love your work - as always. 
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:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer
:blush: Thank you! I'm really glad you like it. I always really appreciate your opinion...even though it's mostly glowing praise (that's got to be bad for a guy's head, y'know! :P )

And I feel honoured to be the reason you signed into your account. I really do dig that. :hug:
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:iconthepurityofevil:
ThePurityOfEvil Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013
I can't say I'm big on criticism, unless I feel it really needs it. Kinda hard to bite my tongue, at times, when I want to tell someone I think that what they've written is shallow and awful. 

What I like about your writing is that I am there. How you write, I can see it, feeling, smell it, etc. It not only stimulates the sense, but is sensual in itself. I dig that shit like you wouldn't believe. 

Keep up the good work!! 

*high five* 
Reply
:iconblakecurran:
BlakeCurran Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Student Writer
Aw, thanks! That really means a lot to me :D

I do try to really 'distill the image' and my ultimate aim is to transport the reader, so I'm glad you said that. Makes me happy and such. :highfive:
Reply
:iconthepurityofevil:
ThePurityOfEvil Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013
Ugh. I used to know all the icons. Can't remember them to save my life. *shame*


I'll figure them out again. =D
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