It was the last year of quarters at Cal: next year they would switch to semesters. I returned from winter-break in full wallow mode for the second quarter. I thoroughly given up the ghost that I was writing for Jane, and so these last three poems were written with no expectation that she would ever see them.
I'm sure you will be pleased to know that there is no third one in the series.
Pound it down, the nail beaten into flesh:
Wait, is Little Mertseger really going to compare his unrequited love for Jane to ...
Every time I see your smile I’m hung
On a cross-spanned moment, feeling the fresh,
As Pamie said, "Jesus."
Daylong torture until my spirit’s sunk
In a stormy hell of frustrate desire.
My every strand of hope has unraveled
And burned in the unnoticing fire
Which is it, crucifixion or immolation? Make up your mind, LM!
Of your eyes from which I cannot travel.
Now that is an awkwardly constructed sentence.
Dead, I am not God to rise and heaven find,
And so my soul treads the long, awful miles
To the Last Despair, my body left behind
Ah, yes, the Random Capitalization of deep significance. Unfortunately, I still use that device.
An empty husk crucified by your smiles.
"Crucified by your smiles" is good. Probably not good enough to build an entire sonnet around.
Only your touch will warm these cold remains,
And until that time I will Rest In Pain.
The deepest irony here is, of course, that while I was perfectly aware that I was being a martyr and that I had enough detachment to connect my unrequited love for Jane to earlier crushes on women who I had never really interacted, things were not really as bad as they could be and things were going to get worse.
In the second quarter of quarter of my junior year I took the hardest class of my college career: Mathematical Analysis. The course essentially takes all the results you might be taught in your first year Calculus course if you're a science or engineering major and proves them rigorously. IIRC, we started off with the axiom that 0 does not equal 1, and proved 1+1 = 2 in the first problem set. The take-home final had us prove a version of the Brouwer Fixed Point Theorem (every continuous function of a compact set to itself will map at last one point to itself) which sounds remarkably esoteric until you learn that it's very much on the same line of reasoning that results in the Nash Equilibrium of A Beautiful Mind fame. Fueled, in part, by the sublimation and avoidance of whole...sigh...Jane crisis, I got one of my three A+'s, the one that I'm most proud.
After picking up my grade that afternoon I asked Jane's roommate Yvonne if Jane and Tim were a thing. She said yes, and I became some form of the walking dead as I headed into spring break.
I suppose it could have been worse. I never heard sex sounds coming from their rooms, nor even saw them kissing. They were considerate of my feelings and discrete. But when the last episode of MASH screened that spring, the rest of the floor gathered in Tim's room to watch, and I went to watch in the lounge on the ground floor sad that she was watching in his arms as Hawkeye went insane.