CANTO 7 September 17, 2011
I remember that going to the Coffee House in Atlantic City felt normal
There was coffee and poets and left wingers like Steve Twiss,
My first gay friend.
I wish I could say that I remember anything about the poems
E read that night, but I don’t. He was good and professional.
His real name wasn’t E, he had simply decided to choose a new name
I didn’t know that was a bad sign.
His girlfriend wasn’t there that night, as I found out later.
Now, here’s one advantage to having been raped, it was easy after that.
I took E’s virginity because his girlfriend was a virgin and refused to take the pain.
And that turns out to be the ONLY reason he chose me.
I didn’t see the pattern beginning.
That the only woman who wanted him had something wrong with her
And he never hesitated to tell me and I went along with it.
But I said goodbye and I left, ready to go back to Ohio University
And my first off campus department with 4 other friends.
And E., who had told me that he could never love me
That I wasn’t good enough.
Showed up in Athens, Ohio, a totally lost East Coast boy.
I found a friend to give him a room and I was his only friend.
So he said, and I quote “I might as well marry you.”
About this time, I was informed by the School that they had
Forgotten to tell me about an required couse that was
Not available until the next fall.
And that they were cancelling my Playwriting major.
Everyone else had moved over to the English Department.
But I had minored in Philosophy, not English and either way,
That would be a fifth year of college and there was no way
That my parents would help with that.
So, this being 1970 and we were morons who thought that
Education didn’t matter, I dropped out and collected E.
And we got on the bus to Cleveland, me and this man
Who didn’t love me but was following me wherever I went.
My parents were not happy, but it would be another 40 years
Before I found out just how unhappy they were.