I’ve picked the wrong major,
ten minutes into the second class
I can already tell that
this isn’t the place for me:
Latte cups and politics,
scarves and Doc Martens,
soft spoken emotions.
This flower is a metaphor for your trauma.
And the Professor has asked me to share my thoughts
on a particular subject,
on a beautiful tragedy.
Tennessee Williams, by god, by madman,
by beautiful sorrow,
A Streetcar Named Desire.
I am trying not to laugh,
not to snort, not to spasm a smile,
to not dry-heave back a laugh that could,
into an uncontrollable sob.
I have done the homework, exceptionally well.
Scribbled into pages of notes an answer too absurd
and altogether an accurate look at what it means to be a human
that fights and drinks and shits and loves.
The room is silent
an all-ears respect of my turn to speak.
I am having a hard time chewing my lip,
to compose myself.
And I begin to read.
“A Streetcar revolves around the personal absurdities
of three individuals forced to live in close quarters.
The main protagonist, Blanche, is
[clear my throat; swallow]
I bite my tongue. They are expecting something serious,
insights on domestic abuse
the insanity of love
as the fulcrum of humanity’s duality.
I am able to continue.
“The reason we find this drama
to be an authentic representation of human life
with a lip tremor
as I chew back a significant smile]
each character is defined by contradictions.”
Slow, steady exhalations
that tend to quiver through pursed lips.
(I am sincerely trying my best.)
“The entire drama
is founded on the dichotomies of social stratification,
and psychological —”
I am laughing, uncontrollably
like any pendulum held up high;
like any pent-up desire,
any bottled-up pressure,
any laughter that itself becomes hilarious
because it isn’t expected.
I am roaring. I am red-faced boisterous laughter.
I am being stared at
all the more to laugh
at the deranged and ironic laughter that isn’t supposed to be.
“I’m so sorry!
[I am high-pitched, crying]
so sorry I can’t
“Mr. ___ ” starts the professor.
“If you have to excuse yourself – ”
I gather books,
and notebooks into a pile on my desk,
the pendulum slowing,
grotesque laughter coming to a rest.
I feel almost blissful, lightened
by this disaster of indecorous laughter.
My bag is packed. I continue to laugh
But I cannot leave
a reader response
No one else has spoken,
the room is very quiet
eyes on me.
A tremor begins —
a contraction of the diaphragm,
a spasm that cannot be helped:
an aftershock of laughter
5.0 on the howl scale.
My face opens up,
bright clouds of laughter,
“He blew his head off!
She was this
precious Southern Belle!
[laughter; slapping the desk]
[laughter, leaning backwards]
she made him
[slapping the beats]
blow his fucking head off!”
(I received a 100% for the reader response,
and an automatic withdrawal,
from my blessed