Right now I am sitting in the office of the Head College Counselor. I don’t want to go to college again. Her office is air conditioned. It is 90 degrees in Boston. Humid. Today is Sept. 11, 2013. On my Facebook timeline I see pictures of The World Trade Center and pictures of firefighters, even that iconic picture, Falling Man. All of it makes me think about the weather, about loss, and I am glad I am not outside. The air outside is too hot which makes me think about Burning Man, that event that happens in Black Rock City. I don’t know much about Burning Man as I have always thought it would be too trippy for me so I never investigated. Not my thing walking around in a neon-lighted jumpsuit. What I do know about Burning Man, apparently, is that when you go there no one uses money. People just share stuff, things, stuff. If I could go to Burning Man this is the reason why I would go even though it would be really hot and sandy during the day and why I am glad to be sitting on this couch in the air-conditioned air.
In the air-conditioned air I am a voyeur. The Head College Counselor is on the phone talking to a student who is freaking out about college. The Head College Counselor is telling the freaking out student that there is no way that she can get into Brown. “You just don’t have the test scores. The grades.” I love the honesty and hate that the student freaking out is, freaking out. I want The Head College Counselor to tell her young advisee that she should go to Burning Man and then re-assess the college process. That she should get off of Facebook, stop looking at 9-11 photographs, and go to Burning Man. And, if that is not possible, she should sit inside her own air conditioned room and go to the Burning Man in her mind, turn it into Burning Woman, and burn burn burn into the softness that is right there, beyond all the burning buildings and burning anxiety and burning tears and burning parents and peer pressure, right there under her skin, so close to that if she listened quietly enough she could touch it. // Matthew Lippman
--Matthew Lippman is the author of three poetry collections, American Chew, (Burnside Review Press, 2013), which won the Burnside Review Book Prize, Monkey Bars (Typecast Publishing) and The New Year of Yellow, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize.
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