Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scholarship Bobby

Anna said to keep his scholarship he better tell her
all he was doing, and she knew better than to limit
his quote end quote progress to his quote end quote scholarship,
he had not had the advantages that she and Paul had
enjoyed. And most of all, she would not talk so high and bright
to a kid she loved but, as he said, was from the lowlands,
a word that made her think he was reading Thomas Hardy
but knew he wasn’t, all he had to say was Cervantes
lived in a house full of books like this one, she should beware
of playing too many of the roles in mere romances,
adding, of course, he didn’t understand Don Quixote.
Anna loved the lad like he was one of her own children,
of whom there were none. Paul sat by and listened to him talk
of the classes required and those that were not that he took
to make the minimum to qualify to keep going
because it was either this or nothing. He had to quit
fucking around, he told himself, love was no substitute . . .
But he didn’t mention Earlene or Roderick or how
she battled the odds with ten to twelve hours a day waiting
tables, working the register, wiping surfaces clean,
keeping the place going when Aggie herself was not there.
He thought about her, though, and nearly confessed his heart’s weight.
All that stopped him were the details of what he was learning
and what else he could learn if he stayed the course and survived.
. . . how Shakespeare dovetailed into Joyce, what jazz had to do with
language (Paul smiled and added, Don’t forget my man Mozart),
and all the grinding freedom–how could it be both? he thought–
involved in letting yourself go, then shaping the result
as though Melville led directly to Giacometti,
a bad example, she interjected, but what I mean
is the flow of words in the service of meaning is like
the chisel that reduces human folly to its core.

(29 January 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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