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2021-11-21, poems

Yale Verse Harvard

shall we
join the student section,
or the family at the top row
taking a stroll around the
yale bowl?

i’m sure those kids feel like
they are on top of the world,
and the boys on the field feel like
they are the center of it.

today, they are.

magnets for wealthy alumni
and the merely interested,
attracting the sort of people
who talk about endowments”
in reference to dollar amounts.

it bothers me
that some people
don’t understand:

it’s yale
not yale

these top-ten-percenters
should know better,
the five-percenters
aren’t invited here,
and the three-percenters
only attend s.e.c. games.

three-quarters full
two quarters in,
the same metro north we arrived in
delivers new york city to
new haven’s promised land,
only two days ago i heard
a girl planning her outfit for today
at the end of my block.

she said:

i’ll see you at the game!”

and i did not see her today,
or i did see her today, many times over,
in the similar bright eyes and
clean faces of pretty, rich, northeasterners.

the tall ginger boy found his yale merch
on the walk to the stadium

the boy with the flat top bought his
yale hoodie years ago but attends n.y.u.

which are the real students,
which are the true alumni,
and who here is keeping score?

the little kids at the top of the stadium
are more exciting to watch than the
meddling between television timeouts,
and the score reads twenty-something
to thirty-something.

a girl with hair of a perfect sheen
climbs back and forth
the social strata, up and down
the yale bowl, a grand smile
for every picture, a blanket
wrapped around her torso,
and no mind to pay for football.

i thought her stand climbing
was a symptom of other hopes for
social ascension, but this group
she’s with only makes her feel like
the prettiest girl in the group:
not popular.

a boy with a bowl-like stomach
stands with his sleeveless shirt
just over his chest, shouting and smiling.

he once catches my eye,
i give him a thumbs up,
knowing that the loudest in the room
is the one who most needs to feel heard.

the sun rose in the east
and set in the early afternoon.
a dark and cold student section
watched warm crimson spill
onto the field, glowing from victory,
evening sun, and many bachelor and
graduate degrees of smugness.