Graduate School

From the collection published in 2015, Catch Up With Summer.

Graduate School

When I entered the door
I knew there would be rules.
I waited for rules. There are always rules.
I have learned to expect
rules.
But no.
I am welcomed.
It frightens me. Shouldn’t there be some wall
for me to crash against?
Are the bars of the birdcage wide enough
for the bird to fly in and out at will?
Is it really
right
that I can think any thoughts I want to
unimpeded
In the silence
I am uneasy and it is with relief
I begin to understand
the very chair I sit in
It bends my back to a shape
that hurts. As pain
edges up to me and settles
I welcome it.
There are always rules
blueprints decrees and
lines drawn around paragraphs
in ink
twinging muscles and eyes that need eyeglasses
and chairs that were never meant to be comfortable but just to appear so.
Things that hold you in.
My mind is calmed
by this evidence that
the order of things
never having left after all
My aching back
the small punishment
to remind me
not to anticipate
what the rules are
I feel I can resume breathing out and in
at the correct pace and not
one I have to regulate myself.

Floating chair, collage, mail art postcard, 2013.

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8 thoughts on “Graduate School

  1. Yes. The older I get, the more I see how I have made my own cages and many times for no reason other than I thought I might be going out there too far, straying too much, and so I went the opposite – it was safer, I guess I thought, or didn’t think.

  2. You don’t seem caged in at all to me. And your art and words definitely seem unconfined by rules. Of course the way we see ourselves is not always the way others see us (and not always correct either). (K)

  3. This is beautiful …Reading this again reminds me of my first few days during my master degree studies

  4. Thank you. I remember when I left school, I was eager to be making my own rules, until I realized how hard that is to do. An undefined future was frightening. Defining it was frightening. Over time, I have learned the value of boundaries. Ones I set or were set for me. But trying not to let them limit me when it was necessary to go beyond. An eternal push-pull, it is fascinating to me.

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