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Letter: Postscript

A sign in the window of Afterwords Bookstore in downtown St. John’s announcing its closure.
A sign in the window of Afterwords Bookstore in downtown St. John’s announcing its closure.

 

We were left with a distressing suicide note of sorts: “We have tried to keep Afterwords going to serve our community and to support our family. In the end, we can do neither. Good-bye.”
The Afterwords bookshop was a room I have haunted for decades, in the tragic distress of the waning mushroom psychosis, the jolly swish barrel, a smoked out packrat and broken vagrant. It was a church with a shifting communion, a monk endlessly at the press, now slumped over, dead.
David Benson, having broken under Goliath, chomps on his famous smoking pipe, well dressed and well versed, lowering a bookshelf casket into the swamp hugging our harbour.
The old poets and novelists, biographers, historians, opium smokers, intellectual scriveners, beerbelly drunks, sober hellions, lecherous fanatics, into the locker Davy Jones keeps in Newfoundland waters. While the current workers of words are smashed from the warhorse sloop, to await whatever flimsy plastic dinky nets them up and puts them on sale.
It is indeed with a heavy knot in my belly that I stand aside the still warm carcass of the chambers, while a fitting rain pours down from a gray October sky soaking those books into a gibberish pulp clogging the unlearned gutters.                     

Anthony Brenton        
Conception Bay South

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