Desperate Literature

There are books for when you’re bored. Plenty of them. There are books for when you’re calm. The best kind, in my opinion. There are also…

There are books for when you’re bored. Plenty of them. There are books for when you’re calm. The best kind, in my opinion. There are also books for when you’re sad. There are books for when you’re happy. There are books for when you’re thirsty for knowledge. And there are books for when you’re desperate.

There is a tiny little bookstore in Madrid, called Desperate Literature. Where the pavement ends, this is where the magic begins. The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.

They have a series of poetry readings once a month. Imagine a space smaller than your living room where about 30 people gather to listen to poems read out loud by their authors. We sit down on the floor, accompanied by an old carpet and endless shelves filled with books till the last centimeter.

‘There is time for poetry and time for fists’, it is written on one of the walls. Those Fridays, luckily, it is definitely time just for poetry.

I sit down on a floor, squeezing my knees between the arms, since there is absolutely no space for another position. I sit down surrounded by immortal literature. Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Haruki Murakami, Patti Smith, and Tolstoy are all present in their eternal books around me. Manuscripts don’t burn, says Dostoyevski.

I sit down and breathe in the air filled with possibilities, with stories, with joy, and pain, and regret, and the wonder how can humans be so ugly and so glorious at the same time.

On those evenings, while I sit on the floor in this tiny space, it’s hard to remember that there is a big world existing outside. It’s hard to believe that there are places without literature, poetry, and dreams.

It’s a blessed time for me, a time stolen from the world, and reality, and God. For in this instant, books shine in their covers, poetry is being read and celebrated, and you cannot help but feel completely at peace. We’re safe, hidden between the bookshelves, behind the stories of everything, protected by the universal power of literature, united by the love to art, and to each other.

Why do people write? Because they cannot simply live.

On those evenings, we do not feel lost, at least not completely. We are there and we are able to dream big and to believe in magic. As some words become immortal, so do we, while we sit together and listen.

Everyone carries questions. Many times during those evenings, poems are answering back. It’s a ceremony held without the external world noticing. We may be just a wrinkle in time, but experiencing written word first-hand, burning hot on your skin, makes you feel nothing less but infinite. We’re young and free. Just kids.

Those nights, poetry and literature are holding up the universe while we are taking a walk on the wild side.

I think it could become my daily lullaby. Just a poem read out loud. It’s not much, just a drop in the ocean, a sudden flash of a falling star, but I truly believe it is more than enough to make you feel alive.

Originally published at

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