Goodbye Book Scout

February 2018- See you later Peter in the Terrible Now Book Scout memory-

It was a sad day last week when Pete Stevens walked out the door of The Book Scout for the last time. It was another link cut from the chain connecting us to the past, back to a time when rents were reasonable and used book stores, like The Book Scout, could survive, if not prosper.

Still, a more than three-decade run for a shop that didn’t sell food or clothing is pretty impressive. Actually, given the incredible turnover rate among businesses in Greenport, it is downright amazing. The Chamber of Commerce should give him an award.

The Book Scout was an institution that defied description. In this age of homogenized decor, where every shopper is an expert on Yelp, full of his or her own personal “shopping experiences,” The Book Scout existed in a parallel universe. The shop was not neat; far from it. Nor was it dusted. Pete did sweep on a regular basis, though where those sweepings went, no one seemed to know. Its stock of books, up to 6,000 at any time, were displayed on irregular and mismatching bookshelves of various sizes and materials.      -David Berson

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The Book Scout

                                                                              -for bean time

So where is the music in that old face?

The filthy red and grey

knitted wool beret that he wore when

he watched you run past the paper weight factory,

the tombstone show room.

First – as a child led by your fathers’ hand

and then your son by your hand.


So when he offered his own,

a meat hook, weathered leather beet brown Catchers’ Mitt grasp

arthritic swollen rutabaga fingers,

You shook on the corner of the Cornet.


In his eyes he spoke,

“and what of all that easy conversation

……where did all that go?”

Here where the post modern meets local color

and forgets their lines and just repeats,

“nothing here, that’s the shame,

you left the usual useless stain.”


Don’t sing about the past

with the scenery all

switched around off key;

To kiss the ass

of some “old time who used to be.”


Whose only claim to fame

would appear is that they are still alive

out on the great sad sidewalk earth.


And now for my part,

I get the chair

in the beat cluttered little bookstore.

Forever in the cup of coffee

and still being aloud to smoke right inside.

To sit and read with the Ukrainian violins

mysteriously providing theme music.


So softly roll in and repeat the questions.;

And I on cue, will make the practiced replies

and we can drift to our somewhere else

by ourselves or in each others eyes.


What we know of our places will have to

be left on dusty shelves

and in forgotten volumes

I will be waiting

Right near the door

where they don’t look so much anymore.


Another Rubber Eden 9/93


2/14 – of  volcano hearts and  ordinary ashes that we once read in word and heard

Red Flame in the Rain


I was in a movie

In midtown that

Dreary rainy May Monday

Where the office girls

Hid under their umbrellas

Just back from lunch


In my big scene

I kissed one of them

On the sidewalk in a downpour

That cut loose the very second

We embraced.


I was in a movie

In midtown that

Dreary May Monday.


So kiss me in that noon rain

One last time

And the Angels crying till they laughed

Over us

Or laughing till they cried.


I dunno.

Maybe they were just taking a leak

And we happen to be in the way.


I was in Movie

In Midtown that dreary rainy Monday

Where the office girls

Hid under their umbrellas

Just back from lunch.


And if you happened by walking

And caught that scene

And did a little rubbernecking

Back at us.


Remember it.


Because we weren’t

Always just extras

And you should know


It was

It was….


Exactly what it looked like.


A red flame in the rain.

Sometimes Grief  (barks out the wrong tree) 6/2012


February Evaporation Plan

In a plastic holder posted

on the calendars wall

is this emergency

evaporation plan

for February

a season entrapped

between the beginning

and the ending of a

uneasy limbo where

this long tired Fall

that never really left anyone

and rumored early Spring

still yet to arrive.

So stumble in the numbness

of this brown grass with me

yawning in chilly indifferent distance.


Pity a month so very short

it stands up on tiptoe

to merely see the empty place

at the table set for it.

Deluded in preview

Obscured in past tense.

Silence marks the short days

towards the long March

away from a Winter that

declined to participate.


So now let the interchangeable

aspects of abandonment and embrace

cancel each on the way out

like fused lynch pins

pulling the freight

laden with baggage

and sodden weight

transported from

one faceless depot

to the vacant platform

of another’s eyes.


Uncollected      2/2012

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