Academia: Cassandra Kulay

It has been some time since the first glow, the
afterglow of learning and achieving
understanding, appreciating the pregnant
silence, the worry about checks and balances
because you are too glad, too proud of
mastering design after design, turning over
stones.  In your mind, you are crafting
excuses for all this knowledge, whether
or not it affects daily life, you want to
live a life of methodical examination and
waste your passion continuously on
archaic texts.  You are growing gradually
up to the fact that text is just another
manifestation of imagination, a spilling
conversation between reality and escapism.
The analytical can be cruel and without
humanity, taking what you give and
always wanting more of your attention,
like baby fussing, it is that demanding.
Endless faith in an endless business of
interpretation is followed by rejection
of the experimental and the imminent.
For solace comes to restore peace
and equilibrium, teaching that nothing
of this world exists when you are
working with care and precision,
listening to informed opinions,
adding up fear and hopes and
failures and successes, one by one,
then two by two and so on and come
crashing away into quiet desperation.
The atmosphere is kind to the productive,
the philosophical, to those obsessed
with systematic efficiency, until a
build up of emotion steals their peace.
They succeed in energy, in epiphany,
in declaration, in relation to a system
suddenly seen with microcosmic and
macrocosmic implications.  Everything
kept out of the centrifuge of academia
at once appears like a dear John letter
asking when you are no longer smart
and capable, who are you?  Now
meaning must be reconstructed in a
new symmetrical order, anguish,
betrayal, bitterness, resentment,
forgiveness, caution, lack of trust
that anyone can see beyond your
breakdown.  Anger simmers with the
fact that there was something real to
forgive.  There is embarrassment and
desire to somehow rise above the
shame, pain, the loss and a deeply
felt need to conceal the failure to
make the marriage last and conceal
the heart of the situation.  Once
your devotion belonged to that system
and now you cannot relate to that
simply ordered universe, it pursues
you and punishes you as unworthy.
The broken bond still haunts me.


From the book of poems, “Desperate Measures” (2012).