Monday, August 07, 2006

About a Book
The application of baby oil to skin
can be a wondrous thing.
As good for the giver
as the givee.
Yes, there’s a certain tactile delight
as one individual’s skin
comes in contact
with another.
No matter how young or old,
you will take pleasure.

And so, I find myself dwelling on this
as I stand before a dark display case
in Bury Saint Edmunds, England.
There beneath finger smudged glass
lies a book bound in
human skin.

And how do they keep that skin so supple?
Enquiring women
across the nation
really want to know.

I suppose that in this case,
baby oil is simply out of the question.
It may just be they’re using
Oil of Olay,
though that’s just a guess on my part.

Although distracting, how ‘bout
a little aside information?
That is,
assuming you all want to know
how this museum got its hands on
a skin bound book.

It would seem
a few centuries back
this guy had a mistress,
and since she was of the troublesome
“make me an honest woman” sort,
he murdered and buried her in the Red Barn.

The Red Barn?
Oh yes, there is so much more
to this sordid story but
let’s just cut to the quick.
They found the body.
They found the killer.
And what with all them locals
being such a temperamental lot,
they hung him, and drawn and
quartered his misogynistic butt.
Took him apart.
Dismantled him as it were.

“Hey! You want souvenirs?
Got yer souvenirs right here.
You want thigh bones?
We got thigh bones.
You want big toes for your key chain?
We got manicured and non-manicured.
With bunion and without.
Wanna bind a book in human skin?
Today’s your lucky day.
We can do that at competitive cost.”

And so…
someone did.
And gosh golly gee willikers if you can’t
just walk right into a museum
and see it there on display.

Yup. Sitting just there next to
this fella’s skull cap.
And I mean real skull cap.
Grisly right ear and scalp.
But hey!
That’s macabre
and I don’t want to be accused of
dwelling on that too much
so let’s get back to the book.

Now what I want to know is,
is it a good read?
Did it say,
make the Opray Winfrey book list?

Did it get a plain ol’
Opray Book Club sticker
or did they splurge and
go all out for a tattoo?

And since we can assume that
this book’s been around,
does it have a little pocket in the back
for the library card?
And if so,
can you still check it out and take it home?
I mean,
what with a book of such high provenance
and overall lack of
epidermal blemish or unsightly scarring,
there’s got to be some substantial prose inside.

You just don’t go bind a book in human skin
and then fill it full of say…
you know…
the poetry of your current flavor to savor writer.
You want something good
in a book of this quality binding.

Otherwise, there you are,
sitting down at the local coffee shop
when some stranger asks,
“Hey. What you reading?”
And there you’re
forced to respond,
“Oh, not much.
How ‘bout you?”

I mean,
this wouldn’t happen
with a book full of
my delightful verbosity, but
if you wanna fill a book full of
flavor savor poo-poo poems,
go right ahead.

No skin off my back.

©06 Jack Hubbell