web analytics
Necessary Prerequisites and Personal Casablancas

When your forces are dulled, your edge is blunted, your strength is exhausted, and your supplies are gone, then others will take advantage of your debility and rise up. ~ Sun Tzu

Of all the English 101 sections
In all the university
He had to walk into mine.
He spends an hour and a half explaining
Why my unsophisticated course
Shouldn't be a requirement,
That he learned all this in high school,
That he's read so much by now
There are only details left to discover,
That the way I interpreted "The Solitary Reaper"
As a poem about the way a strange beauty
Stays with you isn't as relevant as his
Reading of death in the poem,
All the while implying that I'm the one
Who's really marooned and that he avoids
Speaking up in class because he doesn't want
To drag things out.

He tells me how he and his friends
Laughed all the way through a screening
Of everyone's necessary prerequisite movie,
Casablanca, and the old stereotypes
Of the woman who needs a man to decide
And the proud unaware rich man
She has to settle for. That love and relationships
Back then are so funny. I tell him
Seeing it as a comedy is wrong and he blinks
Because I've blurted out the one expletive
His generation can't quite mouth. "Everything," he says,
"Is a casablanco, a
tabula rasa casa."
He loves words, believes they can make things true
The way I used to. But there's nothing
Written anywhere in my contract saying
I have to tell him where he's wrong –
Only where he's incorrect.

I don't tell him about you or how long
You waited for me to decide or the man
Of many identical suits you married.
Or how the fog rolled in and all my old lights
Diffused to take away darkness, to take away light
And all direction. Or how lines of poems
Spread apart and down like steps into
Stairways. That all the brushes
In all the hands can't erase
The board at the end of the day,
That the only way towards perfect clarity
Is to keep filling it with chalk.

I'm rescued when a girl comes by to interrupt
And before I go he asks what I thought
About the movie. I tell him I've never seen it
And do my best to keep it to a smile.
I don't turn back when I walk away.
All my best performances go uncredited.