Old Man on Campus

He moves among the young
Pulled by air currents
Pushed by gestures:
He has the presence
Of cigar smoke
And something of its odor.

He lingers amidst the library stacks
Like Bellow's ghost,
Looking for pages to live in.

He interrogates academic journals,
Demanding that they divulge
What only he can decipher;
Kidnaps orphaned lattes
From the basement coffee shop,
Devours the Science Times
That beckons
Stained and matted
From the counter.

His briefcase, never open,
Bears the same battered manuscript
Over which he labored,
Through which he breathed,
During the years of his
Academic apprenticeship.

When i come close to pitying him,
i look close until i see
The smile of utter solitude
Crease his face:

The bliss of solipsism
Is his;
He is an anchorite
Amidst the young --
A minor god,
Hurling bolts of erudition
Into a sea of ink.

--Mr. Gobley

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