When I Flunked Out of Harvard

When I was about twenty-five, I took on the first extracurricular of my adult life. Every Monday, I hurriedly left my spreadsheets and analytics, jumped on the one bus, and followed Massachusetts Avenue over to Cambridge. There, I swallowed my Yale pride and took the only Harvard class of my life: an introduction to writing poetry. While I found the content interesting, I quickly realized that producing new content on a weekly basis was 1) a faster pace of production than my insight generation warranted, and 2) tough to do with a more-than-full time job. Collectively, this meant that, while I learned a lot, I didn’t have the breadth of a portfolio required for the final exam and withdrew from the extension school class. In some ways (my Cantabrugian friends will laugh to hear), after graduating with honors from Yale, I flunked out of Harvard.

I still like to write poetry, but only when it comes organically. And weirdly, after a long hiatus, poetry started coming back over these last few weeks. And so I give you my first work for a long time below.


Lightly Tied
Here I am: a balloon in Macy’s parade,
Connected to my people through thinner and thicker cords.
They hold them each lightly, though they hold me tight.
Wiry relationships bend and twist in the wind.
Every tie made manifest in the sparkling parade lights.

Sometimes I want to rear up
(I think “CIRCUS ELEPHANT ON THE LOOSE!” though I am but an inflated mouse)
and float/stomp away – a line of
relational carnage
in my airy path. More often
my ties are friendly; I snuggle into my bindings.

This is what happens to all old balloons:
They lose their anchors.
One-by-one their ties are clipped.
If they do not find new handlers, they float away: lost balloons.

If they have found their helium brightness, they take to the sky.
You think they narrow to a pinprick. You use physics. You are wrong.
They expand away!
They become
the all-encompassing blue
of the firmament.

If they have found no levity, you know the answer too well.
They bump along the ground and impale upon a stick.
A child happens upon the rubber carcass and shrugs as he adjusts his bindings.
It makes no sense anymore.