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24 Feb 2024



Full Moon


Mar 10th

I Don’t Want
To Be A Casino

Feb 9th

After I Don’t Want To Be A Spice Store

by Christian Wiman

            I don’t want to be a casino.

            I don’t want my rooms filled with slot machines

            and black jack tables.

            I don’t want to seduce grannies 

            to gamble away the grocery money

            or to have my carpets reek of Lucky Strikes.

            Casinos open too early and close 

            too late.

            I want to be a bookshop where children find Magic Treehouses

            and Pippi Longstocking, where their mothers

            can sit and rest.

            I want shelves crammed with books arranged 

            alphabetically by authors’ last names

            or by topics like sorcery, history, 

            or art.

            I hope to lure browsers with little white cards

            naming ‘staff picks’ in neat print

            or loopy script;

            to welcome readers with deep armchairs

            and the smell of coffee. Maybe a cat

            will sleep in the window.

            Let me be a place where your biggest risk

            will be rolling the dice

            on a writer you’ve never read –

            maybe Frederik Backman, 

            J. R. R. Tolkien, or Anne Lamott.

            To up the ante.

            To ante up.

Behind the poem...

This poem was inspired by Christian Wiman’s poem, I Don’t Want To Be A Spice Store. Although not a gambler, I have twice visited Las Vegas, and both times found the artificiality of the place jarring. More disconcerting still is how it’s impossible to walk through the airport, any hotel lobby or restaurant without entering a casino. Whereas, by way of contrast, I’m always happy to step inside the welcoming atmosphere of a bookshop.

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