Excerpt from philosophy grad school

A poem by Penel Alden 


Scraping and rubbing
Thumbs pressing
Against forefinger
On colophon corner and verso
Dedication corner and verso
Creaking forest growth
Tress groaning under the pressure
Of the other


Conference, and start all over again.
Narcissism beyond pride,
Beyond the pale flapping
Of leaves.
Opening from behind,
The pressure of thumbs breaking
The paper’s surface,
Wet with saliva,
Tongue pressed,
Slow, anxious, water drop pages
Opening from the rear places,
The blank unread places.
Seeing, no, imposing self there
In that textured ivory.
Pressed so close together
And cracking at the seams.

Face in the water
Moving over the water
Over the face of the water


I read somewhere of a passion,
A hot welding of living sculpture,
Story on the leaf,
No, on the page,
Black and white—tight formed.

Trained hands these texts
Trained eyes these words

We are bent down
Reading the sky’s reflection.
The buildings are a shaped place,
All corners and narrow knowledge.
There are words there,
Bound between dead flesh.

Eyes on text,
Ears on lecture,
Hands on pencil.

But I am always thrown,
Knocked, unprepared.
Nothing can save me from this:
The sun, warm on my face.


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