Friday, August 27, 2010

Poseidon Comes Up For Air

Even dream jobs become stifling if you stay at them long enough. It's been twenty years of this pink heaven in an ivory tower. I'm tired of being a creative writing instructor. It's no big deal, this sort of career burnout isn't as serious as, say, postal worker syndrome, but lately minutes of inner static have grown to hours, hours, hours.

It's not as bad as it sounds. But I've propagated the humanist myth for so long that at times I wish I could sort mail. And every once in a while the joists below the aegis fall sideways. They can't fire me for what happened, but I think my stock at the state college may have gone down.

Larry had been coming to my office, not missing one single of my requisite office hours. He isn't completely devoid of talent. Larry isn't Orpheus, and he doesn't have breasts, so you can imagine how hard I had been working to support the college claptrap pertaining to Man's Unlimited Capacity.

Larry has been working on an epic poem. He has been adamant about completing it, even as I told my class more than once that epic poems are to be avoided, as are variable rate mortgages and 'time shares' in tourist traps. No one has time anymore for the longer drink of poison.

As Larry read to me the forty-third stanza of "Poseidon Comes Up for Air," my attention moved to an earthbound woman who had the finest twat in all of the limitless cosmos. But his skill as a reader had improved over this leaden term of a common pregnancy. Larry managed to break my wool gathering with "a humming bird lit on the man-god's epaulet." If someone who mattered had used that line, it would be a fairly good one. I was able to listen to the rest of Larry's stanza before the static turned to sirens.

"Let me stop you there, Larry. That stanza is perhaps the best verse and the finest reading you've done this term!
I think we can punch it up a little. After the man-god kisses the tiny scales on the humming bird's foot, I want him to rip the little fucker off his epaulet, tear it to tiny feathered scraps, and shove them, in a moment of masochistic hubris, up his left nostril. I suggest ending this stanza with these simple words: Fuck this feathered symbol of enlightenment and freedom. Fascism, fascism forever!"

It seems that during the outburst I snatched the yellow legal pad out of Larry's hand and turned it to a mass of humming bird feathers. It was Larry's only copy of Poseidon Comes Up For Air, hand written like a note from lawyer to defendant. As he walked, shaking and birdlike, out of my office, I followed his steps with a few words of encouragement. "That was an awfully nice reading, Larry."