In the bleak landscape of student poetry that is my life, a bright spot comes: I have a promising student. Her name is Vera and she is from Vermont. Actually, her full name is Vivian Remember Parker-Hall, can you believe that? She’s an interesting mix of free wheeling and proper. Moneyed but of the people.
On the first day of class I handed out a survey with some basic questions on it and she wrote:
“I have two moms, and I survived Exeter boarding school. “Anything is possible!”
Her recent poem was about choosing between having the superhero ability to fly or be invisible. The narrator cannot decide, she is tormented with the choice, and then finally succumbs to a pile of sleeping pills and chooses a timeless nap. It was brilliant though, not overwrought.
I don’t understand the idea of the poem, because of course the only choice is TO FLY!!! Jesus, what is wrong with people? And sleeping pills aren’t overwrought?
You’re losing your edge, Harry.
I am going to tell you a secret. For a moment, just a moment, I drove the wrong way on the highway on my way back to New York. It was surreal, like a movie, the car lights all pointing at me, moving fast, hunting me down. I was blinded.
But you know what? I wasn’t scared. I didn’t even feel bad. It was like I was on fire, invigorated. I just calmly pulled over and made a u-turn in the breakdown lane. The sound of cars honking at me as they sped by felt like cheers— like adulation.
I thought: this is it. I am either going to die tonight, or I have truly gone bad. Like Johnny Cash when he was lit like a fucking Christmas tree. That shit is powerful.
When I pulled up in Brooklyn, Amit was standing on the doorstep. Remember him? Our insurance friend? Freddy Mercury? He was looking for Nate, but I know he was glad he saw me first. I said something to him I shan’t repeat in polite company.
We went back to his place, and had RESPLENDENT relations. I was dizzy the whole time and we stayed up all night and listened to Bohemian Rhapsody over and over and over. What do you think about that, Harry?