Monday, October 5, 2015

Charles Rammelkamp


I'd graduated from the university in May,
a degree in English,
and here it was October
and I was still delivering pizzas.

"Well, at least she's not
going to marry him,"
I overheard Katie's mom
saying to her husband
when their daughter moved in with me,
just three weeks ago.

At least I drove my own VW
and didn't wear a silly uniform
like my co-workers back
in that greasy pizzeria,
even if I had to pay for my own gas.

The cops stopped me
when I was driving up to the dorm
to deliver a pepperoni pizza and mozzarella sticks
a group of coeds'd ordered.

The whole area was in lockdown.
"Some kid jumped off the tenth floor,"
the one with the stripes on his shoulders told me.
"Apparently he got a bad grade on a Chemistry exam,
said his parents would kill him."

Charles reads "Failure":

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Charles confesses: "I've had several friends who spent time in limbo delivering pizzas after they'd graduated from college. They always seemed to feel as if they'd lost their way, been cheated somehow, the butt of some cosmic joke. What was that education for, anyway? In America, failure seems to dog all of us: surely at the root of many suicides. There’s no success like failure, Bob Dylan famously sang."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP's most recent book is Mata Hari: Eye of the Day, published by Apprentice House. He edits The Potomac, an online literary journal and is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore.

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