Freshman Year

I remember
arriving on campus
that first day
with my dad
and brother
and noticing
that all the women
were beautiful.

And I remember
thinking that
this must be
heaven and what
a shame that
my brother and
dad wouldn’t
be able to share
in the
delicacies.

I remember
walking through
campus
noticing the girls
wearing skimpy
bathing suits
desiring
to be noticed
but pretending
not to care.

I remember
going out with
the whole floor
because that’s
what you do
when you’re a
freshman
and walking
down haines
street looking
for a party.

I remember
the drinking game
which somehow
led to sleeping
in the same bed
with the girl
who otherwise
wouldn’t have
talked to me.

I remember the
excitement
of these early
days before
classes started
when everything
seemed great
and it was.

Where men
and women
came together
as nature intends
after the long
awaited
summer before
one’s dreams
come true.

I remember
being confused
for a jock
because I played
sports
and made fun of
because
I’m short.

I remember being
excited for the
start of classes
to learn about
world religions
and moral
problems
of other people.

I remember finding
out about the Zen
club and learning
to meditate
and to experiment
with the combination
entailed in drug
recreation.

I remember eating
food from the dining hall
never thinking
about how it was grown
or where it came from
and soon gaining 10lbs
from all the fun.

And the gorgeous weather
and the frisbees
and the volleyball
and taking my shirt off
because I grew up on the beach
and that’s what you do
when you’re in sand.

And I remember thinking
this is where I’m going to spend
the next four years of my life
these wonderful transformative
years
though maybe that wasn’t what
I was thinking but rather what
I’m thinking now about
back then.

I remember the nervous energy
floating in the air
where everything seemed magical
like a summer camp
and not yet realizing how different
this constructed reality
was from the real world
of the future.

I remember passionately
exploring all these new things
topics never before addressed
and when I had a free moment
going to class.

I remember waking up
at 8:45 to get to class
by 9 which was 20 minutes
away
and coming back and crashing
and my roommate
thinking
I was some sort of
degenerate
which I was.

And smoking weed
with my neighbor
but everyone was doing that
and admiring
the stacked cans
of the keystone pyramid
which landed
those two poor girls
in trouble.

And shabbats with Chabad
because I was proud
to be jewish
and I had my mezuzah
hanging up on my dorm
room door
and learned to bake
challah and all sorts
of picturesque moments
which cement an
identity
hopefully for at least
those four years
if not more.

And the tai chi lessons
where I first learned
about spirituality
from my teacher Russ
who was 60 but more
flexible than me
and knew more wisdom
than he was willing
to give away for free.

And the early identity
with philosophy and
religion and encountering
resistance from
the other dorm room
residents
who claimed I could
never do anything
with that line
of inquiry.

And serving as captain
of my dodge ball
team
and taking it
just a bit
too seriously.

And meeting
future people
who I would
have relationships
with though
at the time
they were just
familiar faces.

And watching
as the seasons
went and passed
winter bringing
skiing back when
the poconos
still had snow
this will make
more sense
30 years from
now.

And traveling
to baltimore
with my friend
Andrew
to meet the girl
who would become
my first real
girlfriend
and break my heart
several times
over.

And not be old
enough to understand
what was happening
but old enough
to keep doing things
despite
the consequences.

And I remember
how the library
seemed like a sanctuary
though now I’d
liken it to a prison
or a factory surely.

And how the sushi
tasted particularly
delicious because
I’d never tried it before
even though
now I eat it
every week.

And listening to bands
playing out in the green
and chauffeuring my
entire floor over to a friend’s house
to dance ho-downs
and drink
jug handle wine
to blue grass music
and good intentions.

And getting excited
about these little adventures
through that campus
which seemed so big
because I had yet
to see the real world.

And going
all of a sudden
to Granada spain
to pursue language
and culture
but mostly
because that’s
what you do
when you’re
able.

And then following
the first love of
my life to Paris
because she wanted
to study art and
architecture
and I didn’t see
the harm
in following
her cue.

And pursuing her
at all costs
through venice
and amsterdam
though I didn’t
do mushrooms
back then
but I did experience
making love
when you’re both
high
and my girlfriend
trying to seduce
me.

And getting caught
fucking
in the computer
laboratory
of the ecole
because these things
happen when you
are young
and traveling
through Paris
with a soul mate.

And burdening
my house mother
because I hadn’t
bothered to even
learn the basic
french phrases
but walked around
the Bastille eating
crepes and pastries.

And visiting the
gallery of dali
and picasso
and thinking
here we go
finally something
that’s caught my attention
and then coming back
to philly and seeing
more of the art
mentioned.

And coming home
for the summer
with my girl on my
arm still making it
through it all
overcoming the walls
we’d run into
to enjoy a summer
in the golden sand
when I was still
free to be jobless
without much
questioning.

And excitedly planning
for the next semester
and the next trip
and the next chapter
of my life
back when I was
a king
in my own mind.