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The First Line of My Dissertation

Call the totemic brown corduroy
by its Ivy League. Sit down next to it.
Good Clean Fun: a lampoon by which we economize.

Playboy photographs the entire raft of them.
Light swirling off their bodies like psychotropics.
Like tropics. Like tropes. Triste mélange.

Little co-ed with white lipstick:
I heard her party was hell. No beauty. No love.
Just a gathering at Bar Six with legs crossed
like the eyes of a slapped back, like the sexton
of a dank and eerie chapel bowing before the altar
of a defrocked priest and hoping to be emptied
of imaginings. Imagine, her–stubborn muse, taken down
a peg or two. Beginning at the un-moored place.
Crossed. Crossed out.

A talent with nothing left to offer. And this too a gadget.
Meaning one covets the new model. There is no antidote.

The train to Cambridge is a caravan of psychics with crystal balls.

In class, three girls discuss the role of Fitzcaraldo…so?
The critic leaps up to meet the text and a romance
is imagined on the myth of sacrifice.

Co-ed, the panel finds you cute.
It is all they have left.

A dying music rises from the archives.
Greta Garbo in a silent film. Mont Blanc.

Imagine the first lecture of the first course
of a great cleansing. How would it begin?
How would its beginning serve as a conjunction
between two properties?

Co-ed, your grammar is a vixen.
I saw it nude in Playboy: The Women of the Ivy Leagues.
First a black glove and then a conference.
The class runs out. The underclass runs out.

I begin my lecture by pouring some water.
Then a fountain which breaks my train of thought.
Meaning, the thought is alone now: I will have none of it.

–Caroline Crumpacker



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