The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Monday, May 28, 2007

I Sing the Lyon Municipal Library

(After Walt Freakin' Whitman*)

I sing the Bibliotheque Municipale de Lyon!

The largest public library in France, with 2.9 million volumes,
The newly-renovated entrance next to the Part-Dieu metro so I don't have to walk past stinky bums pissing on the steps behind Carrefour,
The art gallery with its weird plastic jellyfish hanging from the ceiling and arty moany sound installation,
The elevators big enough to actually get a stroller in;

The children's section with its rack of books in English,
The selection of novels in English right there with the French versions and sometimes bilingual editions if I'm feeling saucy,
The travel books that I don't have to buy if we're going to, say, Languedoc for the weekend,
The whole room of graphic novels that are really easy to read in French because, you know, there's a picture right there,
The videos and DVDs that often have English subtitles or soundtracks except for the ones which come from Asia so I can't watch those cool HK gangster flicks, which kind of sucks;

O the music room!
O the CDs that I may take home and burn copies of at my leisure!
O the indie-rock obscurities!
O the entire back catalogs of Soul Jazz Records and Studio One!
O the Europe-only releases!
O the copy of DJ Shadow's Product Placement CD and oh my god where the heck did you get this they only printed 6000 copies which were only sold at shows so did the library actually send a guy to a DJ Shadow concert to buy this how nuts is that!

Moloch!** Your bizarre filing system confuses me! Why are your novels arranged by country of origin? Why are DVDs alphabetical by director instead of title? Is Dewey Decimal not metric enough for you?

Moloch! Your graphic novels are arranged by some system I have yet to decipher! It is neither author nor title! It might be by illustrator!

Moloch! I have to stand in line to return my books, as they must each be inspected by a librarian upon their return!

Moloch! The cute librarian girl always takes way longer to check returned books than the greasy librarian guy who smells like waffles!

Moloch! I keep getting mistaken late notices because your computer system was designed by Frenchmen! No I do not owe 1.80 euro in late fees!

Moloch! I find your 10-book limit unneccessarily restrictive!

Moloch! The guy always playing the accordion outside the entrance is not very talented and only knows about five songs!

O I say these are not the parts and poems of the Library only, but of the Soul!

[*Leaves of Grass, my ass!
**OK, so I got into Ginsberg's Howl for a minute there.
***Photos shamelessly ripped off the internet.]


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