Coug Life


Twilight is  beginning to cover the State College Walmart parking lot. A white and red CATABUS turns left onto Atherton carrying virtually no one the day after graduation. I came here to make hella bank doing rideshares, and hella bank I made. Of course, now the car is having trouble from all that driving, so the spoils will once again go to the victor.

Sitting in this half-working car editing VA’s next release, Grace Takes Me by David J. Thompson, is a fitting setting for the poems the collection contains. David’s work is heartbroken, full of shattered dreams and reminisces of lost chances. While I’m far from shattered, the poems are a suitble reminder that you can count on life to create obstacles any time you’re sure of your next move.

State College is the real name of the town where Penn State University lies. It really is nothing but the college, and this Walmart and various other Walmart-esque vendors. The people to whom I gave rides here were all young, ambitious, exuberant, and excited. It was absolutely refreshing to be faced with so much positivity after so much driving justifiably upset people around in the forgotten and defiant rust belt cities which I’ve grown accustomed. These kids made me feel excited for the future and affirmative in my goals to carry the press forward. Even now that the car has taken a shit, I believe that I’m ready for whatever may come.

With my means of gainful employment removed from me, I have plenty of time to catch up on the more important but less profitable work that I need to accomplish, namely David’s book. It was supposed to come out in March, but March was truly the cruelest month. Luckily, after a remorseful apology and explaining to David my predicament, he gracefully accepted that shit happens and said he would wait for me to put the book out in May. It’s going to come out too, though probably later than even the postponed date, but you know, shit happens.

It’s strange and harrowing, awful and wonderful to read words that are so brutally honest about human failure. From relationships to dreams, the poems I’m looking at have so much to say about how none of us are guiltless nor deserve the things we crave. Despite this, somehow, in both the lines of the poems and in my own heart, I find reason to insist on continuing to pursue what Bach called the joy of man’s desiring. Like life itself, there doesn’t really need to be a reason to do anything, though I’ve plenty.

So, I’m bringing the car to a shop in the morning and I’ll let the diagnosis decide for me whether I’m headed back to New York or continuing my shady hobo quest to cover the United States with poetry. I’ll be happy and fine either way, even if there is no real reason to be.

My sister and I have this weird connection to John “Cougar” Mellencamp, and David’s book has sort of a Coug feel to it, so I’ll make my closing salutation the title of JCM’s really unlistenable but aptly titled sophomore album:

Nothin’ Matters and What if It Did,