I hate it when they recite Shakespeare and Yeats
and Frost and Wilde in sure voices, clear, bright with round hateful vowels.
I hate it when they expunge on the symbolism
of a sentence that starts with ‘and’ and shifts into bleuish bruises to finish
with a contraction that doesn’t make sense.
I hate it when they bury their noses into paper, and pretend that the smell
of ink, of dead trees and graphite is the height
of all things holy.
I hate it when they argue that they know, of course they know, what dead artists and dead poets dead singers dead writers dead bodies meant
when their eyelashes were falling and their tongues were licking,
the lungs expanding in their chest, somewhere close to breathing.
I hate it when they play word games to see who knows more Latin, who
can decipher Chaucer without breaking a sweat.
I hate their stone walls, and their libraries, their percolated camaderie.
And I hate even more not knowing
what it feels like to understand the words of the dead