A Spell


Two glowing embers hover in the blackness, the only clue to their blatant disregard of the rules. They sit in silence, absorbed by the nicotine and the paranoia, huddled in the cold against the sea of snow covering the fields. The campus lights cannot penetrate their well chosen position; they are masked from the prying eyes of the Dean by a screen of trees to enjoy their few moments of rebellion and relaxation. Her mind seems empty, calm, a change from the usual barrage of thoughts. Only the empty sky, the wind in the trees, the warm tip of fire between her fingers seem real, significant.

A crunch of footsteps in the snow startles them from their soundless reverie. A soft whistle tells them it’s safe, only Smarty come to join the pair. A snap, a flame illuminating a face, and a third red glow interrupts the dark. His deep voice grumbles excitedly about the brilliance of a professor, an introduction to the beatniks, a poem by Ginsberg. Ana urges him to remember, always eager to live literature, and the deeper voice pauses, then begins to recite: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo…” His voice trails away to inhale, the ember no longer spinning wildly from his gestures of emphasis.

The words hang in the air, eager for meaning, crying out to be understood, appreciated, by more than the three teenagers smoking tiredly behind the trees of the school. The spirit of Ginsberg, flitting among the distant, reticent sparks of light forever spying on our world of men, finds his place in the universal angst of the young. They seem unable to avoid the frustration of the inhumane, the lack of empathy of the “starry dynamo,” but can a fix really contain spirituality? Tonight, they will leave it to Ginsberg for proof of his escape.

Another rush of adrenaline as footsteps warn of an approach-only the Spaniard. It seems the cold clear sky has forced a search for company in the face of apathy. But no words sever the vow, only the gentle distant lap of waves and steady breaths mark the passage of time. Each is lost in the annals of their own meager thoughts. The camaraderie provides little warmth from the cruelty of the wind, eyes stung by smoke and forced to a vision of blurry, transparent shapes.

He breaks the spell. His harsh voice cuts against their hushed trance. As they trudge downcast, squinting toward the streetlights, she indulges in a glance against the treetops, a quick search for that spirit of poetry. Only shadows seem forever black against the lights of the sky.