these ancient castle walls encompass football fields of yard
the walls of my room in Alnwick castle measured 8 by 12 feet --
smaller than a room in Sherburne Hall -- with one tiny
window opening onto an overgrowth of trees and bush hiding garbage
and a green gas heater with peeling paint, faded walls
intercultural learning takes place when
my neighbor smokes pot from an Arabian hooka
and we puke beer from five different nations -- mixed with Lipton tea and scones.
within the walls are we not trapped?
through six inches of plaster live three boys in their twenties. Within
their walls this afternoon one plays solitaire while another
watches and carves his name in the table for the third time.
Another heats a butter knife from the kitchen
in the gas heater's blue flame. He uses the knife to
melt the tiny brown brick of hash he holds
between his thumb and forefinger.
a girl from upstairs enters and complains she needs a new pair of Doc Marten's.
My neighbor from down the hall cranks Van Halen and masturbates
to "Page-3 Girls" -- pictures from a British tabloid of topless women.
5 more students knock and enter.
Soon the room is lit -- they are getting burnt by the gas heater.
Within the walls of the Pottery Room, Alnwick Castle,
Alnwick, Northumberland, England
Are ten boys and girls now, crunching
broken glass and bumping their heads on the low pipes here,
the basement laundry room.
Seven time zones away
in a house on 8th Avenue, St. Cloud, Minnesota,
50 people are crammed in a basement, around a water-heater and
broken washing machine.
All of these boys and girls
are drinking Busch Light Draft from plastic cups,
and toking off a one-hitter.
Between them lies half of North America
-- the third largest continent in the world --
and the entire Atlantic Ocean.
One group is learning culture.
The other is smoking hash within the walls of Alnwick Castle, Alnwick,
Last update: 1 July 1998
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