Birdcage Academia: Break Free

Wrote something to summarise my university experience. Sort of.


A Writer’s DNA

Red bricks vault overhead, weighing the air with their shadow
and stark worlds are framed and inset, the better to stare out at you.

The carpeted halls are soft springs beneath your feet, like old moss
on ancient rocks. You can smell sweat & desperation & pretension

seeping out of the walls. Though the ceiling arcs
into space, beyond the crane of your neck

you feel it regarding your spine, trying to see which dust jackets
hold your flesh upright. And shudders roll down your paper vertebrae —

I took out the bones, you say & stuffed An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow
down instead and the words ridge your skin from the inside —

but that’s not true. You’ve got smudged comics and tattered paperbacks,
you’ve got popular hardbacks, lit mags, and tasteless porn too

and fuck anyone that tries to pull them out of your blood. They belong
there. You have the eyes of the Brothers Grimm, button-bright & rotting

and you have Neil Gaiman’s tongue to flay the darkness into shape
and you have Ken Kesey’s magpie hands fluttering against a flock of ideas

and you have Roald Dahl’s magic infusing your bones — they still shatter
but each shard is a dreamhouse full of nighteyed children & hollow peaches

and you have Mark Twain’s rolling river-twang voice to carve your initials
into society, and  Stephen King’s bleak heart beating inside.

Munro’s steel fuels your blood, along with Murakami’s dispassion
and Butcher’s drive; Kafka rattles around your ribcage and your Bradbury nose

is tilted toward the stars to sniff out new stories. Tolkien is your father
and Robert Jordan sings you to sleep. Your friends are numerous:

small, medium-sized, mass-market and independent, comprised of ink — digital
or otherwise. You have Marquez’ teeth, to grind cheap meals into amethysts

and your thoughts are poetry, scattershot from a pump-action in the Deep South
and suburbia is stitched into your scalp, the better to keep literary fiction

and circle-jerk academia from pecking your flesh apart. These walls
are too high and you are finally stepping out from under them

by tracing your steps back to where you began. Listen close,
and you will hear Verne calling out from beneath the sea & Lovecraft

echoing between the stars.

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