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Soap Box Poets

by John P. Kerzaya

‘Now is the time for all diligent
students to paper chase’ said
the diligent student to himself.
A day, a week, a month - years -
decades-centuries like whirlwind
leaves passed in fiery circular
yet precise logic as in a dance so
said with same note and thought
to finish what was started long
before amid a mountain of books,
papers written, half-proofed
revisions forged cold from half-
wrought thought, the degree
hard as steel as goal, out of
many such parchments stamped
seal in wax the: ‘You are one of
us’ or ‘You belong’.
The student shuddered, shook as
on a ladder penultimate rung
with paroxysmal insight, fell
from his mountain of books,
papers, parchments and
‘Paroxysmen’ of walled gilt and
red tapestries and tiny statues
dancing in swirling courses as in
autumnal celebration overhead as
he looked up laid out like a
welcome mat.
The student stood while clutching
the ladder sloth-like to assess
his condition -- striking pain
sloshing wavelike as green Jell-O
in a bowl put down too fast to
be substantial aft to frontal
lobe, but then, quietly, dissipated
like the outward concentric rings
in the pond from stone just
dropped and attenuated. ‘Thank
God for attenuation’, he thought
as he looked out toward the
opposite bank of the Seine and
saw a radiant green light in the
night distance too small to
discern its source.
When he awoke the student
could see farther and deeper
into the indices of social reality --
for always now there remained
a certitudinous and fixed star --
the green light at harbor’s end.

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