It seems wrong to erase the last professor's
blackboard notes. Not unlucky, not sinful,
but an insult to the recent past which still
smells like linoleum, shampoo, and pencils.
I'd rather sit and watch the oversized clock,
each desk empty, each window the measure
of its own light. Soon the air will fill with
hands that flutter like the laurel in spring.
Branches and voices. The commerce of words.
Sophistry in the lyceum of daydream.

When I was a child I'd point the boxed
record player out the bedroom window.
"Blueberry Hill" to the shed roof, to the
tiller shut down midrow. "Aint That a Shame"
to the night-folded leaves of the spangly
mimosa, to the bass-boat afloat in an ocean
of crickets and rotting pears. Time is
a canvas, says Thoreau. You must toss
the reigns on the horse's neck, says Emerson.
I'm in love again, says Fats Domino.

IS LOVE FAIR? --- my blackboard question
for the hour. Who cares? is what these two
might say, arriving as they do each day, hand
in hand, his shirt wrinkled as a bed sheet,
her's all midriff, hardly there. I want to say,
"Don't look so bored! High above you
is the 'chairness' of chair. And it's a classic!"
But they aren't bored. They're in love. Small
difference, but nonetheless. Their days still
passion-shocked, brimming, over-blessed...

Some ultra potent styling gel, those last drops
of Ie vin herbez in Tristan's beard, and Iseult
can't keep her fool mouth from the full
course meal of him. No red hot iron or town
of lepers, no kingly sword or flour spread
on the boudoir floor can keep these two
off each other.... The moral of the story?
Don't come knocking when the white sail
is rocking. Don't deny the heart its real
illusions. Don't fight monsters. Avoid golden hair.

I can't convince them that class is short,
that loves are numbered, that beauty resides
in dishabille. Leaves in the windowsill.
Light that seeps through the wall where the painted
lumber rots. Uncertainty on a stairwell
two aging lovers stand atop. The mop of hair
that's yours, 0 youth, once was theirs.
'Twas the dream enchanted me, you might
say from a far address, and descend
into a mortal body. Its brevity. Its loveliness.

"Are we going to be tested on this?" one
student asks. Then another: "Why do all
the love stories end in death?" Now that
their singles' cruise is a sinking ship, I wish
that I could take it back. "Forget that,"
I start, "the poet says 'death is the mother
of beauty,'" and sigh, assured they're not buying it.
Already, the room is a racket of books
slamming shut. Love, that quickest of powers,
bolts for the door at the end of the hour.

--- From My Psychic
©2006 James Kimbrell
Sarabande Books
2344 Dundee #200
Louisville KY 40205
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