Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog



I’m looking at my copy of
Exterminator! by William S. Burroughs
the white bordered Penguin version from the 80’s
with the upside down painting on the cover
or, rather
the painting is OF someone
upside down

They all were
All three
– Junky, Exterminator!, Queer –
white bordered copies from the 80’s
with the upside down
impressionist people paintings on the covers
my copies of Junky and Queer were loaned out and
like so many loaned books
most, it seems
they were never returned
Stolen when you get right down to it
which is odd
I only loan books
to “friends”

I’m trying to replace the
white bordered copies
of Junky and Queer from the 80’s
with the upside down
impressionist people paintings on the covers
so I’m looking through Exterminator!
for clues and
in the back
I see a sticker that reminds me I picked them up at
The Stone Lion

And my mind
instantly flashes back
to that great fucking book store

How it smelled
its exterior of stone
the old bank vault in the back
the way the sun came in through the windows
to light up the shelves
art books, cartoon books
Frazetta and B. Kliban
I think of the Julian May book I didn’t buy
and that collection of Twain’s short stories
How I discovered Gabriel Garcia Marquez there
and how sad it was when the store moved
out from under its namesake
the stone lion
to whimper awhile at an inferior location
and then die

I flip back through the pages
of my copy of Exterminator!
with its white bordered
upside down
impressionist person painting on the cover
and I see
tucked into the crease between pages 12 and 13
– The Lemon Kid –
a torn off matchbook cover
grey green brown
Holiday Inn it says on one side
and on the other
upside down
– or, rather
it was placed here absent-mindedly by the reader that way
and written in ink counter to how the logo
on the other side is printed –
the words:


It takes me a second
as I ponder what this means
to recognize that the handwriting
– seemingly gone over again here and there
because the ball of the point
at the gloss of the matchbook cover’s paper –
is most likely
looks very similar to
makes the most sense as
has to be the hand of

my mother

Almost 25 years later
I sit staring
at a reminder
of a meeting
at a meal
with a purpose
in a book
that I don’t remember

None of it

It’s gone

And then I realize
My copies of Junky and Queer
are gone
The Stone Lion Bookstore
is gone
November 23rd, 1989
is gone
The person who I was when reading this book
is gone
My mother
and the way she wrote her letters and numbers
sang us to wakefulness on school mornings
made dancing alligator puppets of her hands to songs on the radio
whistled for her sons and dogs with the same distinctive pattern
made up incredible stories for me during long drives
tweaked the pudge of my earlobes well past the age I would tolerate it
taught me how to survive my father and my brother and the world
with humor, compassion, and a core of tight steel
that you reveal to almost no one, ever
is gone

The book remains

cae 5-15-13

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply