Tag Archives: Old Lovers

Shoes and Books

There are only two things in this world that get more than their allotted amount of attention from me: shoes and books.

Quite often, I am compelled (usually at inopportune moments) to have the ritual of reorganizing and having private little conversations with each shoe or book as I help them find their proper place. The books have been arranged by color, by subject or theme, by author’s last name alphabetically, and even once I took on the laborious task of trying to create a poem by using the titles of poetry books as lines in said poem. It made for a fun project but it took weeks to finalize and once I pulled a book from its spot, it seemed to lose its luster quite quickly.  The shoes have been arranged by color, heel height, season, event and by designer’s last name alphabetically. You get the point. photo-24

It’s more than reorganizing. It’s a bit of a ritual this dance I do every other month where I take them all out, make a mess of them on the floor (this of course applies to both books and shoes), let them breath with no rhyme or reason. Then I take a soft cloth and together we move around the edges, in the folds, wiping dust or debris, polishing these little gems. There is a lot of quiet time involved. Silent conversation becomes quite an intimate process. With the shoes I’m thinking of where they were last wore and with whom. The places they took me and how comfortably I got there. Whether they are “sitting” or “standing” or “stomping” kinds of shoes.

photo-23Today however, it was books. Today’s discovery: I have a lot of books I’ve not given enough time to. For some of them I’ve reread  upwards of a dozen times, and I still feel as if I’ve not given them enough time. As the books are wiped clean, today I’m alphabetizing which I’m sure says something about how my life is craving order right now.  Today, I’m thinking that if all else were lost, these books would make me whole again. I toss them around cars and rooms and bags and scribble in the margins and really interact in a way that is authentic and true to what I need from said books. And at the end of the day, it’s a quite revisiting that happens, similar to flipping through old photos of lovers who for a moment  in time had a piece of you. Had ownership of a quiet moment that even the best wordsmith can’t capture.

Shoes and books. They get my attention. They get my care.


Jeffrey Levine

poetry, publishing, and mentoring

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