Man Adrift

He felt at times as if he were still in the Navy,
adrift on the sea, peering down through the vents

the way he used to squint through binoculars
on deck duty, keeping a lookout for objects

of interest. Life in the attic was humdrum.
His motel was a drydocked boat whose guests

endlessly watched television, exchanged
banalites, had sex mainly under the covers

if they had sex at all–and gave him so little
to write about that sometimes he wrote nothing at all.

(From The Voyeur’s Motel. Submitted by DawnCorrigan)


I am nothing. You are right.
I’m like someone who’s been thrown
into the ocean at night.

Floating all alone, I reach out,
but no one’s there. I have
no connection to anything.

The closest thing
I have to a family is you, but you
hold on to the secret.

Meanwhile, your memory
deteriorates day by day.
Along with your memory,

the truth about me is lost.
Without the aid of truth I’m nothing,
and I can never be anything.

You’re right about that, too.

(From Haruki Murakami’s Town of Cats, translated by Jay Rubin. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan)

Man overboard

I find myself, in my plush seat,
going farther and farther away,
sort of creatively visualizing

an epiphanic Frank Conroy-type moment
of my own, trying to see the hypnotist
and subjects and audience and ship

itself with the eyes of someone
not aboard, imagining the m. v. Nadir
right at this moment, all lit up

and steaming north, in the dark,
at night, with a strong west wind
pulling the moon backward through

a skein of clouds—the Nadir
a constellation, complexly aglow,
angelically white, festive, imperial.

Yes, this: it would look like
a floating palace to any poor soul
out here on the ocean at night, alone

in a dinghy, or not even in a dinghy
but simply and terribly floating,
treading water, out of sight of land.

(From David Foster Wallace’s Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan)

Supper preferences

When these birds move their wings in flight,
their strokes are slow, moderate and regular,
and even when at a considerable distance

or high above us, we plainly hear the quill-feathers,
their shafts and webs upon one another,
creak as the joints or

working of a vessel in a tempestuous sea.
We had this fowl dressed for supper
and it made excellent soup;

nevertheless as long as I can get any other
necessary food I shall prefer his
seraphic music in the ethereal skies.

William Bartram, in Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws. Spelling modernised. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan.


About midnight, having fallen asleep,
I was awakened and greatly surprised

at finding most of my companions
up in arms, and furiously engaged

with a large alligator
but a few yards from me.

One of our company, it seems,
awoke in the night, and perceived

the monster within a few paces of the camp,
who giving the alarm to the rest,

they readily came to his assistance,
for it was a rare piece of sport;

some took fire-brands and cast them
at his head, whilst others formed javelins

of saplins, pointed and hardened with fire;
these they thrust down his throat

into his bowels, which caused the monster
to roar and bellow hideously, but his strength

and fury was so great that he easily wrenched
or twisted them out of their hands, which

he wielded and brandished about and kept
his enemies at distance for a time;

some were for putting an end to his life
and sufferings with a rifle ball, but

the majority thought this would too soon
deprive them of the diversion and pleasure

of exercising their various inventions
of torture; they at length however grew tired,

and agreed in one opinion, that he had suffered
sufficiently, and put an end to his existence.

Taken from Travels of William Bartram by William Bartram, published 1928. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan.

Delineated Invitation

You may come whenever the library is open.
No prior contact is needed.

You may use any open computer in the library.
No log-in is required.

You may use your own laptop, if it has a wireless card.
However, you will have to go to the Plaza level

to register for walk-in permissions.
A login window may pop up.

Please log in as GUEST.
A guest has access to all resources.

Monday through Friday, between 7 AM and 5 PM,
you must use visitor parking.

After 5 PM, and on weekends,
you may park in any non-restricted lot.

Instructions for library usage provided on the website of librarian and educator Susanna Cowan, September 2008. Submitted by Dawn Corrigan.

Birth of the Suwannee

Cypress trees,
bottle-shaped, grotesque,
reach from the wine-colored water,
form a canopy. Light is weird and green.

Banners of
Spanish moss hide
the feathery foliage of
living trees, cover up dead stumps.

Through the vast
drowned swamp two tiny
streams creep sluggishly to join
at last before a spit of quaking land.

From Suwannee River Strange Green Land, Cecile Hulse Matschat (1938). Submitted by Dawn Corrigan.