“Der Zeitgeist” by Deidre Price // 2016 Poem-a-Day Challenge

Poetry / Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

April 4 NaPoMo Prompt: Write a narrative poem from the point of view of someone else. The less they are like you, the better. The entire poem should be in that person’s voice. Give your character a life and a story.

Der Zeitgeist

Here’s a trip:
All the humanities people they could pick for Interim Dean for however long–
and I told them if I had to take it I was going to keep my hair.
The hair would be a deal breaker for sure.

They said yes, but I had to start wearing pants,
and you know, I’ll never understand why what a man wears matters so much.
I’m basically a chest and a desk, you know,
one of those brains in a vat, and it’s like they want to pick what color goo I’m stuck in.

They know I like cargo shorts. They know.
They know I keep a box of chalk in one pocket and my morning cigarettes in the other.
They know I can’t carry that and carry my coffee. But it’s fine. It is.
I did buy these Italian shoes. I liked how they were pointy. They’re like ‘shoes, shoes, woah!’

Oh, and I got one of those nice briefcases with the netted pockets inside–
they’re just like the ones on my cargo shorts, you know–
so I’m carrying that around for my chalk and my cigarettes,
and it’s actually kind of cool because I can carry two packs of each at the same time.

And what kind of professor needs a briefcase to teach an intro philosophy course?
You know, that’s something that should cause alarm–
one of your PhDs headed into an intro lecture with a bunch of notes in a box.
I mean, what are they going to learn from a bunch of notes in a box?

I’ll spell the German and Greek words out sometimes,
but I’m basically just talking to them like they’re people–
because they are, you know, like people.
And I don’t know, maybe that’s why they want to pull me out to do their dirty paperwork.

I could see that. I could see them pulling me out to distract me, you know.
Wouldn’t that be a thing, if they got word that I was onto something–
or thought I was on something?
And then they just pulled me out and gave me a dean job because I’d, like, figured something out?

No, I give them too much credit. They’ve been gone too long.
They don’t see what I see–the ideas moving in the room as I crack open these kids’ heads
to try to get the brains moving again. And they do.
You can’t do that as Dean of anything. Everyone in the room is already too far gone.

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