Columbae Gothic

Nov. 28, 2022, 8:22 p.m.

Ode to Columbae, I
you would wake up on the porch
drowning in sunlight
drenched in sweat
every inch of exposed skin burning, peeling, pleading
you would run away
inside to safety
how long have you been asleep?
how much can you stretch a cat nap?
the rotten limes and lemons
falling one after the other
and the nasty smell coming from an old resident’s fridge
how long would you stay?
how long have you been here?
you can close the door behind you
but the blinds will never be opaque enough
this house begs for sunlight
it collapses in and out on itself
the walls fade
nobody takes care of our art
we love and we lose and we move in and out
and the TV should be up against the wall
do you get it?
do you smell the cast iron pans?
when the sun-spotted walls
started closing in
and you ran out without looking back
do you miss them now? are you waiting to get back?

Ode to Columbae, II
The house is starting to smell the way a house smells
Warm timbre that creaks under carpet
Seems to reach our noses before it reaches our ears
And when I got out of the shower this morning
The air was warm in the third floor hallway
I thanked the sun for the open windows
And I thanked the windows for the sun

It’s just one of those Thursdays
Where time is suspended in space
And I see my roommate’s BeReal
Before I see his face
But that’s okay

It’s just one of those Thursdays
Where writing poetry puts me to sleep
And Halloween is nearing but nothing’s ever scary enough
In Northern California
Just daunting
Just overwhelming
Just gnawing at your bones like a hungry dog

The girl who knows
Which fraternity’s backyard
The eucalyptus trees shed their bark in
Is angry at my roommate again
So I stand up to say hi to him

It’s one of those days where I hate my poetry
And the thought of writing is so scary it’s paralyzing
So I dip my toes into the claw
And pee in the bush where I saw a coyote
Last week
To mark my territory

On this Thursday night
In this part of Northern California
To stay a poet
And to stay, not be a passerby
Of this house
Of warm timbre

Note from the author: These two poems are part of a larger series inspired by my home on campus, Columbae. I’m constantly trying to capture the daunting and dread of college life that runs concurrent to the vibrant and flourishing culture of my co-op. For the rest of the series, please refer to past and present Columbae yearbooks. 

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