My new book, Everything We Bring, All We Leave Behind, has just been accepted by Main Street Rag and will be published sometime this year.
The University of Hell
It’s open admissions, free tuition, but F’s for everyone,
attendance is mandatory, and the classes seem eternal.
The pitchforks of the teaching assistants say no falling
asleep, no rest for the wicked, no soft answers
turning away wrath. They advance through the lower levels,
the core curriculum, each room packed and stifling—“Principles
of Envy” (prerequisite “Pride”), “Getting and Spending,”
“Advanced Rage.” All old hat. The most popular courses
are “Escape Methods 101,” and “History of Remorse.”
Tired of the mill-stack smoke, the sinner-students try
to transfer--Willing to Relocate, they write,
but the flaming postman won’t deliver, hands them
asbestos postcards: If you’re thinking of applying,
don’t. The restrooms are filthy, the graffiti
(Satan Sucks) never washed from the walls.
The elevators don’t work—no one goes up anyway--
and not smoking is prohibited.
Everyone has tenure, even the students; they couldn’t be fired
if they tried. The football program’s well endowed, but except
when the Flies lose to the Angels once a millennium, the games
are intramural. There are no rules. The cheerleaders jump
and twitch and beat at their flaring skirts with blazing pompoms.
Howling the fight song “All Hope Abandon,” the fans
in the stands in smoldering raccoon coats can hardly
see the players, silhouettes bashing each other
in the sulfurous light, trying to make the draft, though the big leagues
are full. Just as graduation is a cruel and empty ritual, the black wool
robes, the paper fans and programs catching fire, and then the walking
to applause across the stage to get that pre-signed, pre-approved entry form,
though all of them, even the magma cum laude, the Dishonor Students,
still have to stand in interminable lines, get the signature
of a smirking advisor, just to be freshmen all over again
because some people never learn.
© 2018 William Greenway
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