Teacher

Fog hangs soft upon the dark trees creating a smoky veil of quiet as far as I can see from the window of my writing room. The words seem to trip over themselves in between my mind and my fingers and as I curse myself for being so clumsy, I remember something a professor once said to me about writing what he called first thoughts. He was a live wire, handsome, bookish, intellectual, rebellious. There was something about his arrogance, his encouraging us to break the rules, that sparked in my body and within minutes I adored him. I didn’t just want to be in his presence, to hear him speak, I wanted him inside me- body, mind, and soul. First thoughts are the raw material of the mind, the things you think about but, stunned at their naked truth and terrified of letting them become visible to anyone else on the page and therefore real, you immediately censor them and only allow yourself to write clunky watered-down second, third, fourth thoughts. The basic ones, the ones that make you feel safe, like you haven’t gone too far, like you fit in, like you will not be judged, isolated, separated from the soulless, stupefied lumbering herd. Of all our fears, our deepest fear is without question ourselves. He encouraged me to break free of the rest, to enter into myself, to trust my own thinking and my own expression, my own unrestricted ideas. While the other students at university mocked poetry and philosophy, I was thirsty for the dark murky depths of it. The way it worked on and twisted the mind into beautiful knots of intellectual ecstasy. I wanted to be pushed, challenged, unnerved, made to blossom and to open. I wanted discussion, debate, stimulation. It seemed to me there was no more worthy or worthwhile endeavor than to surround oneself with literature, verse, art, creativity, sensuality. I had a body like an hourglass but I wanted a mind like a forest fire, burning, crackling, licking at the flame of knowledge and truth. Raging, wild and destructive. Breaking down barriers, inhibitions, hesitations. I wanted to know everything about what drives a human to do such things as write, compose, love, hate, worship, kill, defy, manipulate, build. I questioned everything, relentlessly, and he never stopped me, there was always more, more, more. Nothing I could say that he couldn’t handle with dexterity and care. He and I met often throughout the fall semester in libraries and cafes, book stores, coffee shops and bars. Speaking for hours about the way of the world, the way of society, culture, crime, passion, the way of desire. The way of a professor and his young student who should not be so attentive to one another. Who should not take such secret pleasure in an imbalanced relationship which only stoked the seduction that much more. Who should not trade confessional poetry, fictional short stories, fantasy, drinks. She who had written a tiny poem about a girl stood smoking alone in the courtyard, slender arms, sunlight playing upon her golden hair, which he tacked to the wall in his office as if to signify something he could not say aloud. He who lights her cigarette underneath a moonless late autumn sky, leaning against the only car left in the strip mall parking lot. She who wore perfume on her wrists, as he licks her scent there slowly, his tongue hot, circling her sensitivity as her body and mind melt easily, aching all over for his forbidden touch. First thoughts, Allison. Now you’ll go home and write them just for me. 

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