We called him Drew-- but only behind his back. My English professor had an insane cackling laugh. Uncontrolled, but bright and honest. People who laugh with restraint are not to be trusted. He was a poet, mostly. Volkswagen Breakdown and other Poems.
Had a tiny Olivetti on his desk when he talked me out of taking grammar and explained the etymology of 'fuck' when I used it in his presence. "It means to beat or wail upon," he said. "Old German. Walked by a man painting the Markland house - Suppose he screwed up - He leaned back from his work and said, 'Fucked without a kiss.'
A Manhattan physician's son, born and raised on Park Avenue, he lived the good life. He passed around a first folio of Shakespeare to my class and made sure we held the pages up to the light to see the watermarks. He was tall, thin and ass-less with Waspy good looks and a bearing that bordered on queer to cultural morons. Christ, I adored the motherfucker.
But he didn't adore me. He didn't even remember me at a 10 year re-union until he connected me to my sister and said, "She was an amazing writer. (Snapping his finger) Now I remember! You were in the Army! Yes? I remember you.Your writing was covered in camouflage."
"Peace, perturbed spirit!"
He did tell me I didn't need to know grammar to write and those who did know grammar couldn't write. He was my guide through: Survey of English Lit I & II, Milton, Chaucer and Shakespeare. He'd laugh with that ribald cackle, "Horns! Horns! He was a cuckold..." Then he explained what a cuckold was. He explained what Richard III was. He explained what the Carpenter's Wife in Canterbury Tales was. He explained why Hamlet was driving me crazy while my parent's divorced.
Rumpled corduroy shirt and white wine swilling,
"Fuck you, (hope I got the grammar right) Drew..."
You don't remember who I am,
but how will I ever forget you?