The Lecture


the prof stepped up to his podium and wet his lips, gazing before him hunched over, peering out from behind twin bubbled panes like a curious bird. he looked down at his lecture, written the night before on a double shot of cino. he decided that he had nothing to do with it. he decided then, there, that this paper before him was part of the reason for his failing marriage, for the bitterness of his child, for his failing kidney. he decided that this paper, written the night before to read before his class for 2 hours so that they could copy it down onto their own pieces of paper so that they could remember it later for the final where they would copy it down again so that he could read it and grade them–he decided that this piece of paper had nothing to do with him. had nothing to do with the faces gazing vacantly towards him. had nothing to do with this room with its bolted down desks, its bolted down windows, its air-conditioned cool. had nothing to do with this feeling churning deep inside of him. he spoke.

there is perhaps a reason why the word “mad” is synonymous with both “angry” and “demented.” when someone is mad, in either sense, they pose a threat, an imminent danger to society, to well-being, to the way things are.
i have found a kernel of anger in my soul, and i tell you that i have chosen to cradle it within me, to let it tremble within me, to cherish this spark, to nourish this into flame.

think of someone you know who is happy. think of someone you know who is content with their cell-phones, with their money, with their clothes. think of how they fit in. think of how the fire burns.
how cold we are, giving so little of ourselves to each other, so far away. when we drink liquor, how we become heated. when we watch the movie screen, how our eyes sparkle.
when we discover love, how we get scarred.
o, didn’t your mommy teach you not to play with fire? they teach you that red is the color of anger, the color the dumb bull charges, the color of communists challenging a regime. when you close your eyes in the light, you see red, red, life blood fluttering through your delicate veins.
some people become afraid of themselves. some people become afraid of each other.
white, white white. the color of skin, the color of purity, the color of the found, the color that takes all the colors into itself.
blue, blue blood, black blue, the color to describe a bruise, blue, the color of the police, the color of the cold, of the lonely, blue.
where is the color of the rainbow in a flag?
red white and blue, this is you.
i lay in bed at night listening to myself breathe.
i buy chicken mcnuggets on tuesdays and eat them quickly, dunking them in mustard sauce.
i listen to simon and garfunkel on the tapeplayer in my car on the way home, stuck in traffic.
i watch the news at ten with my feet on the coffee table and my dog bitsy curled up beside me.

i am angry. i am mad.

and i am no longer afraid.

and when i look into myself, i see so many colors that i am blinded. and i feel a heat so strong that i am rising.

i am mad, and i am going to tell you about it. i am mad, and i am going to share it with you.

(at this point the lecture ended, for several of the bulkier male students –to be specific, #74, a tight-end on the football team, and two members of gamma pi delta–arose from their seats and wrestled the professor to the ground and then trussed him like a chicken with his shoe laces. the students consulted each other to decide what to do with him. it turned out that one of the students had a hit of ecstasy on him. so they forced it down the professor’s throat and they gave him back rubs and made him smell menthol and wiggled a laser pointer around on the wall until he cried and hugged each and every one of them. they all danced together.
at the end of the quarter, they took the final and they did fairly well, with the majority of them obtaining a B average–there were several A’s, and a few C’s.)

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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