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The year was 1989; well, maybe it was 1990. At any rate, we were living on Kalamazoo Street in Lansing. We had a band, the Dragons, and all of us lived in the same house. We rehearsed in the house, ate together, etc. I remember that my brother was studying Chinese then, and during rehearsals, when we were working out chord changes, he would sit at the drum set studying his flash cards with Chinese characters.

Anyway, my brother’s girlfriend at that time lived in an apartment in East Lansing and one day, we found out that she had run across some books in, of all places, the dumpster outside the apartment building. She was taking the trash out, she looked in and, voila! ….

Apparently, active in East Lansing was a certain biblio-klepto-maniac; and, really, his taste wasn’t bad (I assume he was male). It seems like his thrill was stealing the books, rather than reading or merely having them. Maybe he panicked or just couldn't stand their pure physical mass, so he dumped them. You never know ... he might have paid for them, but I doubt it. For me, his tastes ran a little too much toward philosophy and religion …

So, my brother calls me, and a few of us participate in the rescue of the tomes. They were covered in glup, as you can imagine, and still, to this day, the books betray the time they spent in the dumpster (a stain here, a stain there). We cleaned them up and split them amongst us. I ended up with Isaac Asimov’s annotated edition of Paradise Lost, the complete works of e.e. cummings, and T.S. Elliot’s collected poems. I have superficially thumbed through all three, but mostly, they just collect dust on my shelves. Heavy wall paper.

I don’t remember what happened to the theological treatises, the books that no one wanted.


photo by Sasha-Frere Jones (http://www.sashafrerejones.com)



May 2018



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