The Bookstore on the Mount
By Thomas Gagnon
The postcard I am pretending
to find fascinating
is of the Virgin Mary,
in Renaissance blue, with fleshly child.
The Paulist bookstore's one customer,
clad in formal blue and gray,
quietly browses; I quietly
envy him, in a vague, uncertain way
that deadens my abdomen.
I look at Christine, sitting
gracefully on the gray steel stool
across from the register, beneath the phone,
objects skillfully controlled by
her matter-of-fact touch and voice.
Michael, my endlessly talkative supervisor,
informs me that Christine is a dancer.
I wished I were a dancer.
Perhaps I would be as calmly
coordinated as Christine.
A useless wish--
I am like rain clouds that insist on colliding.
If I were coordinated,
I would send the rain clouds
in separate directions,
silver light appearing between.
While I put away the Virgin Mary,
the one customer buys a book from Christine,
and Michael, in pink polo shirt and blue jeans,
strides in with a contented expression,
as if walking on waters of amazing faith.
Next, the Sermon on the Mount,
where light appears from Christ--
unlike this Bookstore on the Mount
with exception to the rule
of deadening ennui--
radical Hans Kung theology.
Currently, Thomas Gagnon has bipolar disorder. In childhood, he had seizure disorder and mild speech disorder. Most of his life has been focused on recovery. Sometimes, this is reflected in his writing, and sometimes not. He wrote an essay for the GLBT newspaper "In Newsweekly" on a book by a gay theologian.