Stories I’ve Already Read

I’m reading a book I’ve already read.
It comforts me and it clears my head
and relaxes me in this motel bed.
I’d rather be deep asleep, but instead
I’m reading this novel I’ve already read.

It’s one of the perks of the life I’ve led:
there are plenty of stories I’ve already read.

I sure don’t do it to get ahead
or establish some kind of tough-guy cred.
“You gon’ kick my ass? You gon’ stomp my head?
Fool, I read books I already read.”

When you’re reading a book you’ve already read
you’re never dismayed when the villains shed
their pleasant pretense and the dirt turns red
and the chance for a happy ending has fled,
and the ones who should suffer prosper instead,
and the best ones are all disappointed or dead.

At least you’re not tempted to read ahead
when foreshadowing wakens a feeling of dread,
when the boy is just being tucked in bed
and mommy or daddy is filling his head
with old-timey sayings his grandmother said
and the story of how his brave granddaddy bled,
for you know already he’s being misled
by the kindly assurances he’s being fed
and he’ll make crappy choices and end up dead.

If you see someone reading a book you’ve read,
you’re tempted to caution them, “Don’t be misled
by the happy beginning, he winds up dead.”
But you can’t, that’s forbidden, and so instead
you keep your mouth shut and you turn your head.

It’s the comfort of life so literately led:
there are all of these stories you’ve already read.

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About Greg Bryant

I teach writing and literature at Highland Community College in northeast Kansas.
This entry was posted in poems. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Stories I’ve Already Read

  1. bryon says:

    Nicely done. I like the rhyme scheme; that’s an interesting task to set and manage to pull off.

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