Tuesday, January 10, 2012

LIBRARY BLUES by Billy Herman

I looked at the County map with increasing anxiety. Would you like me to sit down and find you a route? But I have already forgotten the name of the boulevard. There was a TV show on about the Jones Town massacre.

I sit in Elting Library just off of Main Street in New Paltz, looking out the large green framed windows with a modest hopefulness. The view is distorted by the dirty windows and the glare of the afternoon sun.

The Women in Black who stand up for peace but really aren’t that friendly were just demonstrating on the corner.

Katy Boulevard. I think (and it certainly doesn’t matter) that was the name of the tiny squiggly line in square P-27. But now as often happens when I am under a little stress I am becoming tangential.

A certain number of pretty women pass by the big windows, but what I hope for is the sight of anyone I know, any woman I know. But time has changed and I don’t know very many women in New Paltz anymore, and mostly what I’m looking at is an animated picture of my own loneliness.

If I took it really seriously I would start to feel sorry for myself or at least get really bored. The window is not delivering love to me. Almost all I see is alienation.

I betrayed myself by being too weak. I should have been ten times as strong. I should look out these windows like a king overseeing his domain. Preparing for his next great battle. Calculating his brilliant chess move.

But I know that pretty soon I will just get in my car and drive home.

I stopped and prayed for any incidental thing to save me.