Welcome to your first day

in the puberty class where

semen and

condoms and

bottles of Gatorade (somehow)

come into the mix

and everyone laughs but no one’s face is smiling.

We’ll start with textbook chapter one: Micro-economics.

The echo of your life

will be microscopic like

a ladybug’s thud on a New York subway track just

as the train snivels in.

The black heels hurrying aboard

will hear nothing, but within the tiny penny jar

(that is your heart)

Rome will be collapsing chromatically,

into the oblivion assumed to dwell

beneath the thunderous bottom

of the empty grand piano.

Got it?

Good. Flip to a blank page in your spiral.

Second on the agenda, let’s clear up a misconception

about the heart: you haven’t one,

nobody does,

not in the sense the word is defined in 17th century dictionaries right alongside

heavenly beauty and howling banshees.

Your brain is a coil of pulverized meat

tied round itself like constipated intestines. Chemical signals

blitz between the layers of charbroiled fat

imaginary feelings are just numbers in the bloodstream

calculated to encourage you to reproduce.

And if you’re interested in reproduction

that leads me to our next topic of discussion:

Love. If you were homeless,

would you sparkle

warm as apple pie glowing from the oven’s first cinnamon kiss? No.

Of course you wouldn’t

Persons who lack addresses freeze at varying but rapid

rates. If love is homeless

(which it is, us having just discovered the heart

is an empty sham)

why expect love to do anything other

than congeal into a black ice

block, cavitied, cracked

on all sides by the clubs of reality

(Which come in the form of 20th century literature)?

Tell me, children, do you like books?

You don’t know how to read them

until you read ripping, affluenza, suffocation into every wave of words

until you can drown yourself in a paper accordion of ordinary phrases

Frankensteined together by some dead gray author,

voices swirling in your head

all those who begot you telling you the seed was poisoned

telling you the tree wills a thunderbolt

upon the broken back of the sapling

until every book on your shelf screams and whispers

that constipation that comes of being unable to kill yourself but unwilling to bother

to keep your corpse alive

Precious angels

you know nothing.

Do you want to get literate?

That’s the spirit!

Come back tomorrow, we’ll discuss chapters two and three.


The point of this picture’s inclusion: How dare we complain and write and read and whine about death inside when there is death outside and all over? The death inside was planted there by the only person whose hands can reach inside. Why water and sun it for others? Let’s go out and help those less fortunate, physically or emotionally, rather than making more of them out of thin air and putting them in literature to make students feel their lives are pointless. I love my friends and I don’t want any of us to die of literature. Thanks.

By Léon Perrault – [1], Public Domain,


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