Bed Bug Blues

There I was
I-House

the International House
at the University of Chicago

there in that South Side
Hyde Park

land of Academia
and Academia
and

Academia!

In that I-House
that International House

ready to start my second
year there in that Academic
land that South Side
away from the Lincoln Park’s
the Belmont’s the tall buildings
of downtown Chicago

of North Side Chicago

Ch. 1

The I-House
it was going to be just fantastic

I remember
first year my brother there
the parties thrown
the tv the foosball
the billiards

all

fun

and now it’s
my turn

Ch. 2

to live in this big vast I-House
with the internationals
from France
and Spain
and Germany
and the Middle East

to be one of them
well, not really
but you know
what I mean

Ch. 3

I have to move my things

one by one
suitcase suitcase
lamp

suitcase suitcase
lamp

tv fridge
suitcase
books lots of books

bedding

there
that’s it

Ch. 4

Settling in
into this new world
this new reality
this new residence
here in the South Side

here in Academia

here in the I-House!

Yes, this will be fantastic
a place to work and sleep
and study and party
and maybe meet a girl
or two

Ch. 5

Slam

door shuts

Slam

door shuts

click

bathroom

click

bathroom

footsteps

I hear everything
in that echo chamber

those rooms so close together
in that hall that corridor

with those cavernous
wooden floors

Ch. 6

Chapter 1
The divine being commensurate
with the circumstantial ritual
entails a most particular moment
in the goings and comings
of Jesus…

I can’t believe I’m reading this
I can’t believe I picked these classes
is this what it’s all about

is this why I’m here?

Never mind

just get in

get into the Phd!

Slam

Click

footsteps

darkness

rest

Ch. 7

The Maimonidean reaction
to the exploration and explanation
of the Talmudic traction could
best be understood through the lens
of that which is yet to be mentioned
see the footnote
on page 267

again

again

these pages
of death

Slam

Click

footsteps

darkness

rest

Ch. 8

Here I am
alone in this cavernous home
my lair my little office
and study and bedroom together

I will persevere I will make it through
these perverse courses

and dead wood

I will push through
and accomplish the Phd!

Slam

Click

Ch. 9

I can’t sleep
I don’t know what it is
sitting here
lying here in the darkness
looking up at the night ceiling

why can’t I sleep?
what could it be?
Am I nervous?

I know its those damn doors

Slam

Click

What is the deal with this
hallway
and these wooden floors

Slam

Click

Who designed this building
anyways
all of us so close together
indoors

Ch. 10

“Hey, Mark you don’t look so good”

“Hey, yea I know.
I didn’t get any sleep.
I think it’s those doors
everyone coming and going
I can hear everything.”

“O, man that doesn’t sound good
maybe you should try switching
rooms.”

“Yea, perhaps your right.
I don’t know how long I can take this.”

Ch. 11

Up again

Slam

Ch. 12

“Hey, man you aren’t looking so good”

“Yea

i know”

“what’s gotten into you?”

“I don’t know. It’s those doors
or something

something”

footsteps

creeping

creeks tingling

cringe

Ch. 13

O no

these bumps
what are these bumps

on my arms
on my legs

this is very odd

I can’t sleep
now I got these bumps
great

what does this mean

Slam

Click

Ch. 14

Not again
another sleepless night
in this tomb
of a room
with all this commotion
going on

What am I going to do?

Ch. 15

more bumps
up alongside my arms
on my stomach
on my back
on the back of my knee

what are these things
populating my being

my skin

these red inflamations

these nocturnal creations

and those doors
those people
everyone slamming
as they go

and the wooden floors

those fucking wooden floors!

Ch. 16

“Hi there, sit down”

“Thank you Nurse”

“Yes, well it seems you have bed bugs
that’s what these red dots are
on your arms and legs”

“Bed bugs?”

“Yes, bed bugs
these insects that are in infected matresses
they suck your blood in the middle
of the night

see these three bites
breakfast
lunch and
dinner

they won’t stop
they swell up with blood

like balloons”

“Oh, that sucks”

“Yes, I’m afraid it does.”

Ch. 17

“Hello, Mark
Yes what seems to be the problem.”

“Well, Maria, I appear to be bitten up
by these quote unquote bed bugs
I have swelling on my arms
here see the lumps”

I lift up my shirt

she steps back aghast
deeply concerned

deeply

“and I haven’t been sleeping
for about two weeks now
it’s been terrible
I’m going crazy”

“I see”

“Here’s what we’ll do”
“We’ll move you into a different room”
“And we’ll take your things
and them too
will go yes they’ll go into
the freezer room
and then we’ll know just what to do next
and we will tell you I’m
sure

I’m sure, yes”

“Yes, that’s what we’ll do”

Ch. 18

It’s freezing in here
that would make sense
moving my things into the walk-in freezer
here in this I-House
on the South Side

in this Academia land
far away
quite far from those tall buildings
of downtown Chicago
of Lincoln Park
and the Sears Tower
and Belmont
and Millennium Park

here I am stuck in this freezer
moving all my things
to put them in this
icy chamber

and it’s not even winter yet
already
and my hands are already
tingling

cold

weary

my eyes maddened
with fury

Ch. 19

My things
I hope they are OK

on ice

and I in this new room
next to the elevator
chamber

going up and down

up and down

great how can
anyone sleep like
this

what an improvement

Ch. 20

The men
The men
they come and spray
they come and fumigate

fumigate my room
to kill those vile creatures
hiding in my mattress
sucking my blood

they must all die
for this is not about me
this is about the I-House

we cannot have them spreading
that would be quite
an inconvenience

having to shut down the whole
building
and relocate everyone
to some hotel somewhere
or a different dorm
or who knows what

better this is just our little secret

Maria and me
and the fumigator men
and my stuff in the freezer room
and me

next to this elevator chamber
room

Ch. 21

“Thank you for your patience
and cooperation, Mark
I hope things have been going
OK for you”

“Sure, Maria
I haven’t slept in weeks
and my grades are slipping
and you put me in this room
with the elevator going up
and down up and down
and my stuff is in the freezer
and I’m wearing the same
clothes for the past three
days but its cool.

I’m doing great.”

“Well, we do apologize for all
this but it is rather necessary
and we appreciate your silence
about this, well, you know
situation

as it is

but we will have your room ready
by tomorrow

yes tomorrow I believe
with a new mattress
and everything’s been fumigated
so you’re all set to go!”

“Is it safe to move back in
with the fumigation having
just taken place?”

“Sure, it’s all very safe.
They’re professionals.”

Ch. 22

I’m back the Clicks
the Slams

back in my room
back again

to read more about
Jesus or Krishna or
whoever whatever
it doesn’t really matter

ready to continue on this
train towards Phd

here in my room
here on the South Side
in this Academia land
in the I-House

Slam

Ch. 23

I let my things thaw
it’s good to be back
or so it seems

in my room
my little lair

I check my watch
the hand’s stopped

time frozen
bed bugs gone

I’m the only thing
left
here

to listen
to the

SLAMMING