In the margins of a journal taken from the bottom of a trunk


Through a snapping wind the young
in sandals   ℘   draped with anti-war
sentiments   ℘   festive Fall maple leaves visible
from the reflective Sachar Center   ℘   the well-tested weary
in tweeds and briefcases

fantasizing breakfast   ⎶   at five on a Sunday
morning   ⎶   cafeteria opens at noon   ⎶   a
night on the couch   ⎶   not inquiringEveryone in Russian class for
who’s in my room   ⎶   somebody crackeda different reason   ∏   To read Trotsky   ∏   To read
Saturday nightTolstoy   ∏   To get a job at the CIA   ∏   But I
was there because I loved
language   ∏   so like Russians, having trouble
wow I need yourwith the instrumental
notes      didn’t get the timeline
at all      these worth morewe came down from our
than a ticket to a Patti Smith concertdorm   ⨒   we’re looking for some
conversation and a hit   ⨒   for people
two students separatedlike us, like, aloof toward the long
by only the tablet arm of a chair   ⨂   onelooming hours of homework
racks up privilege   ⨂   that will open the world
to him   ⨂   the other walks off into
an unsparing gaze
of a hostile arcade


⩉           ashtrays on rutted pine tables     ⩉     a clack on the lattice board earns White a second eye     ⩉     the expedited exchange of bishop for knight      ⩉      a guitar strummed in the Castle haven


The recital hall is locked      ♯      The custodian
will get here ten minutes early      ♯      But it takes half an
hour to tune the harpsichord
here to analyze the revolution
we missed   ⤥   to pick up yards
in the resurgence   ⤥   we’re meeting
describe false consciousness   ⌭   it’s rightat the Castle tonight   ⤥   as the Viet Cong
here in this class   ⌭   you shouldtake Saigon   ⤥   one more rally to resolve
update the textbook   ⌭   you should be ina generation
the textbook   ⌭   I’ll immortalize you
in a pamphlet

come quick      the girl raw-eyed
no not here      get up
unknown substance unknown
source      not at three
in the morning      back here
come      to cajole a suicidal young
girl      it’s up to us tonight


to those who planted the lessons of those days in wider fields
to those who wrote the endowment checks


This poem was published as one of six poems in issue #2 of Ranger magazine.

Andy Oram
December 7, 2020

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