Roman Numerals: The Stories My Bookshelves Make


When the apartment is quiet and the outside is dark, Claudius Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos goes for a walk.

He is looking for stars, and I know this,
because he is always groaning on and on about it.

Sliding to and fro across my desk,
one day here,
another day,

But always somewhere.


Aslan is roaring.

Dawn, early morning, morning, forenoon, noon, afternoon, evening,
late evening’s dusk and night.

It is my wake up call, my lullaby,
and a mantra to the silence that fills when I write.

Sometimes, I hear the lion speaking to the gunslinger across the way. Their conversations involve the world, truth, love and hate and the meaning of fate and mistake. Aslan is radiating in the uncertainty and Roland is brooding in it. Both enjoys the company of the other, though one is more open about it than the other.

When the seasons change,
that’s when the roar is the loudest.

When something is off,
conversation gets heated.


Sherlock is always solving mysteries that are not there. Old age has not been kind to him. He interrogates the others, prodding into their personal lives or disturbing them from their rests. He’s constantly explaining things to me, as how to go about my free time to best optimize my creativity, what it indicates that my friend has recently undergone a drastic change in her appearance and demeanor, and how scratching the end of my y” through my signature indicates that I have low self-esteem, however, making my signature bigger than the rest of my handwriting indicates that I am full of myself. Also, the neighbor finds your roommate attractive. Also, your landlord is a gossip. Also, he knows that I’ve been avoiding the janitor, and he knows I do this because when I leave the apartment I always seem to catch the janitor just as he is scrubbing the floor, and, because I have the hygiene of a goat, I am always sloshing my muddy boots all over his hard work, and that I must feel bad about it. Sherlock then proceeds to tell me I have a crush on the man at the bookstore, and he knows this because my cheeks always have a certain flush to them when I return from there. At this point in time, I usually proceed to shut him up, and shove him back into his slot. Here though, he only seems to prattle on louder.

Last week, he told me that Gatsby is a fraud, and that he could prove it. I went on to inquire why this was news, as, don’t we all know Gatsby is a bit of a fraud?

“Perhaps around the town,” he says, “but not down in the books.”


Aloysius Pendergast is a quiet tenant, for the most part. He is polite, charming, keeps to himself, and is respectful of my time.

Claire Fraser is a fine woman, however, she is always bringing in strange men from I don’t know where.

Archie Costello causes problems, though, as sociopathy seems just a part of his nature I suppose I shouldn’t expect him to behave any other way.

Schmendrick (the Magician) is a marvelous conversationalist, and is always regaling the lot of us with his adventures, stories, and feats of the impossible. We get along nicely, he and I, for we both share a great interest in poetry, and a great love of magic, and unicorns.

William Shakespeare comes around from time to time to join in the festivities, but generally leaves early, always upset that nobody knows who he is.

Brain Froud does the same but never leaves because he feels so at home.

Jasnah Kholin is always telling me to embrace the logic.

Elsha and Atreyu remind me to follow my heart.



He only moves around at night. In the dark.
He’s frightening, but I digress, he’s interesting,
though evil as he may be.

Sometimes, I think he slips the pages.

I wonder if he’s planning something.


Kahlil Gibran teaches me prophecy
while I sleep.

Frost, Angelou, Oliver, Thoreau and Poe sometimes follow.

I sometimes wake up,
with a line,
in my head.

I’ll startle, crying over Annabel Lee,
and dear Mary asking me earnestly “What will you do with this wild and precious life?”

My eyes open, and seem to remember Maya, smiling.
In dreams I’ve walked Walden Pond, while eating doughnuts.

Someone once asked me
how I could stay up into the wee hours of the morning
and not grow tired.

I simply responded:

“I have been one acquainted with the night.”


Harry Dresden and Sunny Randall are quite the pair.

Brains and knuckles.
Supernatural and hard liquor.
A shotgun and a talking skull.

They’re always falling in love, at the wrong times.


The Catalogue of Ships is an endless drum the goes on and on and on. It is a low hum, like the sound of a refrigerator, but then goes up into a pile of clashing blades and a fuming spire of fire. As the war dies and Odysseus hits Ithaca, the pounding of hooves enter, beating the beach of Chincoteague; mustangs thundering across the living room and out the patio door. The Gunniwolf then appears, asking for that guten sweet song again, and as I move for the door, he purrs to me, “Little Girl, why for you move?”

I answer, nervously.

“I no move.”


Desmond Tutu tells me
that I need to forgive.

Rūmī tells me
that I need to forgive.

Pern knocks its threads on the window glass,
and I get the itch to ride dragons.
Just this one last time.

Nietzsche enters and burns it all up on the end of a matchstick.

Then takes it all back, stating that he’s change his mind.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
(Cabinet Edition),
spills all over my desk. I lay my head down on his pages.

It’s like a kiss.

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