Today, I braved the traffic and frightful parking lots of North Campus. Hauled my pasty, readily-sunburnable ass across town in the beating sun just for the company. I played hookie for the sake of it. Took a road whose destination I couldn’t guess, just to see if I could shave a minute off my trip — or if it would even take me where I wanted to go at all. (I couldn’t and it didn’t.) I made a promise that I knew was for my own good even though I’d rather have weaseled my way out of it. Bared my soul to someone I’ve just met. Smiled at a stranger.
And it seems to me that whatever zone this is, outside my comfort, it’s not as uncomfortable as you’d suspect.
Dear low, sloped ceiling,
My head hurts just to think of you.
If you could, tell the fluorescent light
(full of bugs from 1989),
and blue carpeted floor
(as pristine as the day you were set down):
I’m sorry about the things I’ve said.
Dear dark corner, behind hanging shirts — button-down
(a cat’s favored hiding place),
and stacked boxes, all childhood packed away
(and more money wasted on eBay than I’d like to admit):
You guys too.
My dearest cheap, plastic hamper,
overturned more than once
so I could sleep in a pile of dirty clothes
(don’t ask why):
We haven’t been as close as we were once,
(and someday soon I’ll be gone)
but until then —
You shared some light when the universe went cold —
And you should know: it meant more than we thought it could.
Sir William —
Though ‘t be but pitiful mockery, I do
In semblance of thy tongue address thee:
Thou surely knowst my love for thee;
All curses upon thy name uttered of late
In heart of imprudence.
Yet, hark — for others inquire in earnest:
Sons and daughters of this, the Digital Age —
They hath no remembrance of thee; or else decry thy “relevance”
And hold as common relics thy work.
But peace! Thy canon is great, ’tis certainty.
Yet must I with pain admit: disquiet akin to this
Have I voiced in weakness, among trusted allies:
“Thousands of years of literature and he’s still the only guy
Whose course I’m required to take in college?”
Surely it be conceded: others just as great
Hath lived and much hath they writ
Would be held as high and yet of greater “relevance”
In our day — in this Digital Age.
What of Homer? what of Dickens? what of Chaucer?
Hemingway? Poe? Fitzgerald? — nay?
All talk of Romeo and Hamlet and Othello,
Yet wherefore no such holiness granted
Holmes and Baggins and Mr. Spock?
“How is that fair?” the louts sayeth —
For… as I proclaim: ’tis they who ask — not I.
Nay, certainly not I.
Thy faithful apprentice
…Huh? What? Oh, sorry about that. What was I saying? I may have dozed off there for a second. On an unrelated note, I think I’ve been cramming too long for this Shakespeare exam.