Friday, July 10, 2015

Worn Collars - Part Fifteen (A) - "Hunting Points"

Worn Collars

Part Fifteen (A)

"Hunting Points"

            In his book room I could see my breath:
            In Arlington St. John’s rare book room... it was so cold... I could see my breath.
            It was January.  Arlington always ‘stayed’ ‘in Maine’ ‘all winter’.  He never ever mentioned this or the consideration of another option.  In the winters, Arlington only spook to me about ‘old’ ‘rare’ ‘books’.  We, in his rare book room, talked, sipped over iced smidgens, ate Saltines and cheese (Part Three), saw our breath and never mentioned any of this.  January is a good month for bibliomania in Maine.  Not quite as good a February and March but more “acceptable” (weather) than April.
            “The weather is fine.” Arlington said  “Quite acceptable I say”.
            I say that too, for me, on a January day.  Any January day.  I was always around in Arlington’s rare book room in the Januaries.  I ‘didn’t ‘leave Maine’.  I don’t leave.  January is a ‘good month’...
            For bibliomania... in Maine.

            In 1974 I accidentally purchased the contents of my first estate found ‘rare book room’.  I didn’t know... exactly... what I was doing; the ‘that’ of, well, purloining a gentleman’s old rare book room.  Domestic chaos had occurred in the gentleman’s estate; he had died.  His ...domestic, estate, family... “heirs” were... looting... but, and not understood by me then... they had  “not yet got to” the... ah.... “HIS BOOKS:  THOSE ARE ALL HIS BOOKS”.  I was being shown them.  I tabulated what I saw saying... out loud but to myself
            “LET’S SEE...:  One... two, three... and one on each side (of the sofa against the walls) so FIVE.  Six there.  Seven.  Eight and Nine.  OK? ...No those two little ones.  The desk was his too?  The books there... on it:  It (the desk) is full of books...”
            “That chair is where his friends sat.  When they talked about books.”
            I was tabulating a corpse of a dead bibliomane; his dead body of books.  I did it in under two minutes.  No one contested this.  I had no idea ‘then’ (“yet”).  Everyone was completely sure that I have managed the bookcases, sofa, desk, desk chair and visitor chair “just fine”.  I did “just fine” with the old books too.  I even pointed my finger around at the walls to “including the frames” (framed prints).  They were “Not much of anything.”
            It was early September.  It was the ‘still too hot’ pain in the ass to box up, ‘dolly out’ (five stacked boxes on a steel wheel dolly loads) and ‘load’ the “LUG AWAY THE BOOKS”.  I hadn’t tabulated that “they” (the boxed books from the book    cases) would, boxed... fill... three... 1975 era pickup truck loads... including my ‘eyeballed the load’ concern that those truck loads were “at capacity”.  The bookcases, sofa, desk, chairs and framed prints were a fourth... then fifth loads.  “Don’t forget” the two... dirty...dark... trodden to death... (‘oriental’) “rugs”.  I didn’t.

            Once familiar with this process, I improvised a ‘theater’ where by I would... and will... before all... count the books (act to show as if I counted) on one shelf.  All shelves being equal, which they are not... I could then, combining a shelf count with the one shelf ‘book count’ “ESTIMATE” just... how... many... “OLD BOOKS” there... (are?).  No one ever cares but if they do suddenly “HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU THINK THERE ARE” care... I can... ‘chuck ‘em a number’ and that ‘shuts ‘em up’.
            Once I got the boxes of books to any ‘inside the barn to the right “NO BACK FURTHER” I... built a ...stacked cardboard box terminal moraine fortress ‘out of them’ and ...ah...
            Don’t touch them again “for... ever”.  This first book room purloin I... ah... wasn’t ‘up to speed yet’ and so... figured... I’d “YEAH THOSE (fortress of boxed books) “RIGHT AWAY NO PROBLEM”.
            That old gentleman’s biblio goblin-ghost must have had a good laugh watching me “take care of that”; his ... old book room.

            So by that January I ‘hadn’t touched those’ and “ONE DAY” “WHEN IT WAS SNOWING” I “TOOK” “ONE BOX” inside to MY rare book room “office” (a room full of wall lined bookcases full of old books and “ET AL” with a desk and... two chairs ‘in it’.  No whiskey.  No Saltines... no cheese.  I “YEAH” that box of books and “I’LL GET ANOTHER ONE AS SOON AS I FINISH (‘going through’ / ‘sorting’) THIS ONE.
            That box:
            That one box... of old books.
            Did not ‘get emptied’ (‘gone through’ / ‘sorted’)
            UNTIL MAY.

            I was “IN” the “RARE BOOK BUSINESS” “FOR REAL” “NOW”.  Not that I ...had not... ‘already handled ‘rare’ (“OLD”) ‘books’ “BEFORE”.  It’s just that I had never handled... book by book... pamphlet by pamphlet... letter by letter... paper by paper... slip of paper by slip of paper... a “JUST THE DESK DRAWERS ALONE!” (I’d... dumped those; the ‘their contents’, into seven bushel baskets I’d “brought in from the shed” “during clean out”) (I would never ‘do something stupid like that’ with ‘rare book room desk drawers’ again).
            “JESUS DID THIS GUY LOVE OLD BOOKS!” summarizes the brilliance of the golden radiant light that... illuminated... my January ‘one box then I’ll get another’ first direct contact with a dead bibliomane’s corpse (book room).  This was twenty years before Basbaines (Part Fourteen) released his thoughts upon the thought of acceptable bibliomania.  I had no idea what I was.... am...:  You know what... I STILL ‘have stuff around’ from the “I FOUND” in that first ‘old book room’.  And I ‘went bibliomania’ myself too.  I mean... WHY NOT?  These rooms... full of dead men’s old books are....

            Ok so now we are back in Arlington’s book room... in January.  And all may understand that this ‘that’ does shorten “Arlington” to “Arlee” (Part One)... “over the years”... of seeing our breath... together... in his old book room... that WAS THERE... THEN.  “WHEN?”.  Arlee had set-up-camp (his rare book room) promptly after he moved “TO MAINE” in the fall of 1969 (He set up the “HIS” rare book room in the fall).  WE... could see our breath in that room... together... in January of 1970.  I... purloined my first bibliomaniac’s rare book room (above; that tale I be telling) in 1974.  I... looked at the contents of the first box from that purloin (“domestic chaos looting libraries”... of Basbaines’ “Rich” Part Fourteen) in MY rare book room in January of 1975.  I could not see my breath.  My rare book room is directly above the furnace in our colonial homestead.  This rare book room was a room ‘built on’ to the original homestead in 1860...:  It was (is) built out of old boat parts.  It has a “CELLAR” “UNDER IT” that “BUTTS ON” to the “ORIGINAL CELLAR HOLE and is “TALL ENOUGH THERE” to “HAVE THE FURNACE”.  So... in the Maine winter... my rare book room... where I am ‘of’ my bibliomania... is... actually... ‘too hot’.

            What do you care.  Right.
            You know how many God damn boxes of old books I’ve carried in and out of that room in the last forty years (1975-2015)?  I have even carried all of the boxes from Arlington St. John’s old rare book room in ...and OUT of MY rare book room.  Actually... that’s not right.  No... I still have between thirty and forty “boxes of shit” from Arlee’s bibliomania that, well... “YEAH I’LL GET TO THAT NO PROBLEM”
            Hey:  Maybe... I’ll... die... before I “DO”.
            And what do I care if I do?
            I DON’T.
            You don’t know what I’m talking about?  That’s because you do not have a rare book room and you are not a bibliomaniac.  I AM TRYING TO EXPLAIN THAT TO YOU.

            All I care about are more books.  More boxes of books.  To look at... one by one... alone... in the rare book room... alone... forever.  I do not want to ‘run out’ of old (rare) books to look at.  Ever.  I will not run out of old (rare) books to look at ever.  I have boxes and boxes and boxes of ...boxes of boxes of boxes of old (rare) books that I have purloined from... looting... during moments of domestic chaos... of ...gentlemen bibliomaniac’s... old (rare) book rooms.  I...
            Look for gentlemen’s rare book rooms ‘in domestic chaos’ to ‘loot’ (purloin).
            No one ever bothers me when I do this.
            They think I’m “crazy” because I
            “LIKE” (they say)
            “OLD BOOKS”

            No one has ever seen how many old books I “have” “looted”.  I never let ANYONE into my rare book room.  I never let ANYONE see my boxes of boxes of boxes of ... boxes of ...looted books... from rare book rooms I FOUND at sites of “domestic chaos”
            I haven’t even mentioned the books I find at what Basbaines’ calls “snapped up old books and manuscripts that were being sold in black-market street stalls and marts” (Part Fourteen).  That’s right and you hadn’t noticed that had you.  WELL I  DO NOTICE and... I know the difference.  I have been talking about looting dead bibliomaniac’s old rare book rooms.  Not about shopping a flea markets for... old books SOMEONE ELSE purloined from a...

            Dead bibliomaniac’s old rare book room.  I’M TALKING ABOUT REAL CRAZY PEOPLE HERE.  I am not talking about Basbaines’ thoughts about the thought... of acceptable... suitable... bibliomania.  I am talking about “crazy”... Wasp... men... in a freezing cold room full of ONLY old rare books in the middle of January, in Maine, seeing each other’s breath... for hours as ...such as I as the visitor... notice by furtive glance... the deep brown Morocco ‘extra gilt (gold), AEG (‘all edges gilt’) and gilt dentals, bound “Darby edition” copy of Irving’s KNICKERBOCKER (Putnam, New York, 1854) (after the 1849 edition)... with its rear cover open... on the desk top between us and say... as my further furtive glance denotes the tiny obscure pencil note at the lower fore corner of the rear pastedown end paper that I “READ” to denote it says “J. T. O. Oct 23/88  OK”.  Continuing as furtive glance I know this note means “J. T. O.” (whoever that was) collated (‘looked at every page/plate/whatever) this (copy/edition of this) book; this one copy... on “Oct. 23” “1888” and found this copy to be “OK” (‘bound’ ‘complete’ ’as issued’).
            I say to Arlee “What are you doing with that?”
            “Hunting points.”
            He says. 

1 comment:

  1. I believe that all of us will die before we read our books. It's a hard fucking fact !!!!!!!!!!!