At The College Library, Undiscouraged By Haters From Downhome HicksintheSticksville

Cool in his mesh tee-shirt, down which his long hair cascades,

although even this basement of the library is air-conditioned;

and comfortable in his faded and long-softened, baggy jeans,

he props his grass-stained feet on the table and leans back

in the chair.  He may put his socks on to walk to the dining hall, later,

but not shoes, not this late in the spring---not that close confinement.

His textbooks---history and political science---remain unopened.

Warm Friday afternoons are reserved, he thinks, for poetry---

especially the ancient and delicately erotic kind:

like the Eclogues of Theocritus and Vergil

that suggest between the lines more than they describe.

Sometimes, he reads the epics, too,

not for the sack of cities or the hack off of bloodspurting limbs,

but only to imagine the lovers in the background---

Achilles and Patroclus, Nissus and Euryalus, Orpheus and Kalain,

the love and desire they satisfied, surrounded by such much hate-filled lust.

But right now, he is reading a slender and agile lyric---

that has long survived the suppression by inhibitied haters:

elegant words written by Callimachus in the time of the Ptolemies:

how the city of Alexandria boasted about two beautiful boys,

adolescently eager to give to each other their bodies' ecstatic joys.

 

Starward

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Inspired by Constantine Cavafy's poems, "He Had Come There To Read" and "Days Of 1909, 1910 And 1911,"

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