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It's Academic

Updated on October 8, 2015
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If I had an hour to spare, I’d stay

after school clutching and pressing a buzzer

to name the four Central Powers,

to attribute words from the second verse

of “Positively 4th Street”:

dabbling at practices for It’s Academic,

our team for the region’s televised quiz show

tournament for high schools. An open

circle of teenage intelligentsia

lured me—Steve Neuendorffer,

willing victim of a chronic

stoop from poring over chemical equations;

Matt Colvin, whose lanky frame loped through

the halls leaning to one side from the weight

of the tote bag full of Latin and Greek books

slung on his shoulder; SujithVijayan,

so mentally supple he won the Citizenship Bee

though he wasn’t yet a citizen.

I had fun pitting myself against

these friends, strutting my intellectual stuff,

but ignored Mr. Greenbaum, the math teacher sponsor,

hectoring me to join. The members incessantly

wrote questions for their practice sessions

lasting well after I left, past sunset and the late buses’

departure until they shambled to their

obliging parents’ waiting cars, or their own.

Then there were weekend matches

taped at the studio in Washington.

I was a writer. I needed to keep

my own time unburdened by outside liens:

free to observe and ponder, free to ramble the woods,

to sway around a tree by the side of the

trail when a spider web sprawled across.

I would need evenings to hunch

at a table in the screened back porch

that Aunt Paula envisioned—

extension cords running from the house

so a desk lamp could cast a circle of light

on my typewriter’s keyboard as I described

the twilight’s mellow auburn halo,

so I could admire my keystrokes’ taps

harmonizing with the gentle rain’s steady drops.

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    • Robert Levine profile image
      Author

      Robert Levine 12 months ago from Brookline, Massachusetts

      Thank you, Ms. Dora.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 12 months ago from The Caribbean

      Looking back at all these past students and activities must be proof of precious memories. Yet, we all wish we had more time back then. You captured a scenario to which most can relate.

    • Robert Levine profile image
      Author

      Robert Levine 16 months ago from Brookline, Massachusetts

      Thank you, El.

    • El Shaddai 2016 profile image

      El Shaddai 2016 16 months ago

      Your last line stands out. "So I could admire my keystrokes’ taps harmonizing with the gentle rain’s steady drops." Very clever and provokes the senses.

      EL