Arts & Culture

Sights Seen Outside the Library While Smoking a Loosely Rolled Cigarette

By Liam Woodworth-Cook

While underneath a “no smoking/no loitering” sign targeted at people who are not as privileged
as my own disheveled rags,
I smoked a loose rolled cigarette before entering the library.
Does the law call waiting, the same as loitering?
I didn’t see a pig nor wanted to risk asking the hog.
(That must be metaphor privilously used outside butcher shops).

A well dressed man walks out and immediately looks up;
Surely he has seen that night has overtaken the second day of this year, yet he is checking:
“Does it rain suddenly? Will the roof drop the snow it is shouldering?
Are the birds here to shit at 5 O’Clock?” He checks twice, I smoke, thinking;
“Did his mother teach him this?”
He goes into the bank next door.
Another man staggers out clutching several paperbacks and a newspaper.
Has he been drinking? His boots sway so. He mumbles over a trash can and a woman drops a letter
in the mailbox cautious to avoid his potential eye contact.

This is humanity, this is the blessed, the hoping and hopeless.

Two teens further down frantic in first love.

This reminds me how we stumble over the word communication. Lesson after lesson.
The word comes out of the French from the Latin as a noun of communicare;
“to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,”.


Yes, this is life; a struggle of communion, of community, of expression.
How love bends over everything, how love beds in all flowerpots dotted across the streets or window shelves.

How the mirrors of all our fears and joys trace the ghosts of the Public Library.

Public, again French: “open to general observation”, from its Latin root; publicus “of the people; of the state; done for the state,”.

Yes, this is where we may observe all. Observe the sign above me, knowing I am not the one to be harrassed under its words, knowing the fortune of free internet, computers, knowledge after wrinkled page of knowledge. Warmth.


Yes I observe the comers and goers,
as I am communioning, part of the conversation
communicated with the corner, with myself,
with you, with the spirits and the ghosts.

Cherishing the ember of a loose rolled smoke that is becoming undone,
The fractioning of conversations, bustle and bumble:
Our street corners intersecting,
like when we leave the window open and love swiftly goes undressing our bone-walls
filling our pots with seed.

Categories: Arts & Culture

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