Herbert Marcuse –
I saw you in a 1967 picture lecturing endlessly
On the defects of (perhaps)
Totalitarianism, and even Marxism.
The tables had been set, the podium and the loudspeaker –
Were not so different in constitution and shape,
As they are today.
However, this is an altogether different topic…
The guests sat with their legs crossed and I do not know
If they understood a whit of what you said
Or even cared a fig for it at all.
Only I could see you thundering like that Nazi
Who had become notorious for snatching university positions.
Perhaps, your words were as light as whey and they passed like air
Straight through their ears like right-angled beams.
Was there a woman with a knitting yarn or a man with a semi-porn magazine?
For a minimum attendance was absolutely necessary.
Only one, seated near the dais,
With his socks drawn down to his ankles and the hairy overgrowth visible
Was trying to make out a sense of this apparent non-sense.
He was in-charge of these implements which you, yes Marcuse, you
Were in possession (but for a time)
And when your overwhelming
Lecture would be over in an hour or so,
He knew that this awesome ‘game’ shall be over as well.
And so, he was wise enough to make a sense of all.
Perhaps, he had that little grain of vision
To know that they were growing impatient with each of your words.
And so the impending claps sneezed into their palms.
So he sat, with his eyes downcast, looking at a fly
Or at the tremendous strength of finality
Strange but stubborn that was edging –
By and by…