Last Poetry Reading at Cody’s Books

By Judy Wells
Friday July 07, 2006

Last Poetry Reading at Cody’s Books  



Dale and I are late  

hurrying up Haste St.  

toward Cody’s  

after attending a UC Berkeley  

graduation party in the Elmwood  

where abundant middle eastern  

food flowed  

and beautiful young women  

of various hues  

wore red, white, and blue  

slinky dresses to celebrate  

Kate’s sail out  

into the world  


At Telegraph and Haste  

Dale and I suddenly sail  

into medieval times  

A street couple  

the woman with crazy eyes  

is arranging a whole row  

of belongings  

on the edge of Haste  

It’s almost as if  

the two were evicted  

from a full room  

and they had their possessions  

delivered to their new address— 

Haste at Telegraph— 

Cody’s Books  


Did this dispossessed couple  

read the news?  

Learn Andy Ross partially  

blamed his loss  

of one million dollars  

on the riffraff of Telegraph  

so here they were  

to prove him right?  

Ready to move into  

his soon-to-be-vacated store?  


I sink back into  

medieval Paris  

The beadle is about to close  

the cathedral  

Lock its doors with his large key  

Soon the dark figures  

huddled nearby  

in the twilight  

will construct their lean-tos  

against the stone walls  

light their night fires  

pull out a few foraged hunks  

of bread  

from their filthy cloaks  

before they bed down  

on a heap of rags  


That was the look of it  

the night of the last poetry  

reading at Cody’s—  

a now-growing ring of street people  

surrounding “Cody’s Sidewalk”  

ready to build their own empire  

as Cody’s crumbled— 

a legend disappearing  

into dust  

The book cathedral  



Judy Wells 

June 2006 



Cody’s Books on Telegraph Avenue will close on Monday.