Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

My College Career (Dec. 8, 2004)

In some ways I never
left college, that
wounded buried time
when every young man's
fuse in me spluttered
in the world but found
both ground and nurture
in the word--and has
burned and sustained
me all these years
away far better than
had I been successful
and remained through
all the degrees and
positions and published
work. That school
in the woods of northwest
Washington -- so
brilliant and vehemently
Outside, the massed
pines and their creaking
sailing sound through
which the classes
came and went, spraying
a fresh scent and
mountainish murmur
over talk of tests
and parties: that
school for me was a
door downstairs
into the bowels of
the dorky guys' dorm
into a leaky room
I filled with books
and cigarette smoke,
the anchorite who
walled himself with
book after book,
caressing the words,
eating them whole
in lieu of battens
up and out there
on the surface
of the real life. World
history, philosophy,
biology, poetry --
all those subjects
I had glossed over
in the daze of earlier
years, but now I
entered them in
venereal fever, an
unrequited fire
which I rogered
to the hilt with
a monklike scholar's
ire for getting
it all down and
in my arid,
blueballed heart.
The yearbook images
forever enthrall
me in some strange
sad way, I who had
the faintest life
upon its pages --
besides my mugshot
I'm in one crowd
shot at a football
game, all the way
back in the last
high row, sandwiched
between two other
of my basement
dorm-freres -- and
yet, what thirst
I still feel for
those budding young
women who looked
every where but
at me who had back
then as now so
little to be seen.
Clio, Urania,
Euterpe, Erato--
those women and
my studies merged
back then on
one strangled praise,
each page I
turned another
woman walking away.
What I do here
today is the college
career I never left
though my actual
tenure ended long
ago: Reading world
as text, your billows
in sweet sounding
words, my knowledge
of such things
diabolical and underground,
cauled in those
scant few years
I walked alone
amid the pines
and loved that
sighing, primal sound,
watching you smile
at the blurred man
next to you
and then walk
off into the
drifting snow
of my next song.


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