HOUDINI DIES. I TEACH HIS OBITUARY IN COMP 101.
(found material from the New York Times)
famous as a defier
He relates to my own domesticity in the following manner:
underwent two operations.
Outside, the last bite
Nearing end of semester One, trimester Two. First draft of final papers soon due.
to be cheating the very jaws of October
Only I only mention trees—magicians—
I know traps, trees, locusts
I missed a class in September.
his engagement apparatus—
Write about this:
Narrow your subject. Limit your thesis. This is not arguable.
then, completed his performance—
Spoons, cups: these are too small.
Bouts of nausea did not keep me from 8AM classes.
his company went to a Schenectady called pain.
I have learned—if one leaf
A: To give. (3 out of 5 points... please, please, phrase your answers in full sentences.)
his removal keen and alert.
One day, my students looked through me.
this is particularly virulent.
How should I know that? May I ask them it now?
the body was born on March 24, 1874.
It was pity. My black
his name, the son of a rabbi.
It will be a winter birth.
even before opening his first kitchen closet, it is certain
In the shower, yellow-white tears trail
Some of them see me as captor. I am holding their future hostage.
at the age of 9 joined a trapeze.
the first were bound inside themselves,
Some female students wonder passively about my age, marital status, contagion.
I think: I have had enough with children.
similarly, in the middle of handcuffs
I whisper-pray to the fetus, please
I do not know what I am thinking. My fear in tatters.
his long series of shackles (70,000)
I have heard of other mothers—
Can my students comprehend the complexities of buried alive?
skyscraper strait-jacket, from which
Twenty-two eighteen-year olds have not learned to string between them
in his early days
I will cross between two worlds.
My students begin to ask—will I cancel the last paper, grade on what’s been done?
for thirty-three years Houdini
Assignment: write your own obituary. Write it about someone you admire.
he risked his grave:
that I am useless a vessel essential
that I won’t be capable am
that I am no teacher
or that I have carried hatred —beside a child
that I do not write my child
that I will damage have already done
that I am not stronger do not hold faster
that these after all are irreversible
Houdini (describing the most narrow):
The instructor (to her charges): I will breathe it only once
I am also perfect
As soon as you can—
I did teach Houdini's obituary as part of a comp class. But the obituary wasn't current.