.. and miles to go before i sleep…

A bedside table is a comfort, a symbol of stability, clarity, rest. But my life right now is not really a bedside table life. All I own in the room I’ve slept in for the past eight months are the books and the clothes and the plants. The bed is over twenty-five years old ( My grandmother bought this bed so my cousin and I could come have sleepovers, my housemate told me, as he ushered me into the room), the lamp is borrowed from the basement, the dresser from the side of the road. But I have a bedside table, all mine, made of some of the books for which I have no shelves. They’re all books that I’ve read – many of them more than once. Now I’m about to move again, to Los Angeles, to sleep somewhere else, another little room with someone else’s well-loved bed. “Our sleep has no conclusion … ” writes Lyn Hejinian, “Sleep is as abundant as the world is incomplete.”  Packing up my makeshift bedside table, I thought I’d share with you what it has been made of:

Selected Poems – Robert Duncan; Theories of the Theatre – Marvin Carlson; Ava– Carole Maso; The Sea Around Us – Rachel Carson; Nox – Anne Carson; The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton; Diving Into The Wreck – Adrienne Rich; Places / EveryoneJim Daniels; Loud Dreaming In A Quiet Room – Betsy Wheeler; The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Vol. I AND II; Molloy / Malone Dies / The Unnamable –  Samuel Beckett; HIV, Mon Amour –Tory Dent; Selected Letters 1902-1926, Ranier Maria Rilke; Swann’s Way – Marcel Proust; A Far Rockaway of the Heart – Lawrence Ferlinghetti; SpitshineAnne Marie Rooney; If The Birds Gather Your Hair For Nesting – Anna Journey; Bellocq’s Ophelia – Natasha Trethewey; I Have To Go Back To 1994 and Kill A Girl – Karyna McGlynn; E.E. Cummings, complete poems 1913-1962; America’s Favorite Poems, edited by Robert Pinsky; Heaven’s Coast – Mark Doty…. ImageCollected poems of Pablo Neruda; Books by Michael Ondaatje–Running In The Family; Anil’s Ghost; The English Patient; Books by Dan Ariely — Predictably Irrational; The Honest Truth About Dishonesty; Books by Nick Flynn — Another Bullshit Night in Suck City; The Ticking is the Bomb; Books by Jose Saramago: The Gospel According to Jesus Christ; The Cave; The Double; Seeing; Death With Interruptions……. (and of course, some Norton Anthologies).. The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, Vol. I; The Norton Anthology of American Literature, shorter 6th edition; The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction.

Tell me, what’s on / what is your bedside table?





One thought on “.. and miles to go before i sleep…

  1. They’re separated into two categories, research and pleasure. Research: “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion; “A Grief Observed” by CS Lewis; and Plato’s “Dialogues.” For pleasure, we have “The Country and The City” by Raymond Williams; “The Wish Book” by Alex Lemon; “Baghdad Express” by Joel Turnipseed; “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” by Flannery O’Conner (always); “Ada” by Nabokov; “Gravity’s Rainbow” by Thomas Pynchon; “The Names” by Don DeLillo; “Birds of America” by Lorrie Moore (always); Triple Canopy Vol 3; Dark Mountain Vol. 1; Dark Mountain manifesto; …and a few other things I think.

    I had “The Unnameable” on the bookshelf for a long time. Eventually, I gave up (always around page 80—which is like more than halfway through). Someday, maybe.

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