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 Vol. 3:  Saudade 

Graduation

Tuur Verheyde

Tuur Verheyde is a twenty-four year old Belgian poet. His work often discusses current events, progressive politics, spirituality and highbrow and popular culture as well as personal experiences and stories.

This is the story
Of my student struggles
And the moment I attained
Graduation:

The romance
Is what did me in.
Not actual romance,
Not anything that exciting,
Just the romance in the idea
Of being a student poet
In a town overflowing
With energy and intellect.

Oh, the people I would meet,
Oh, the talks I would have,
Oh, the things I would do
And write.
Academia’s fragrance lush
Like a cornucopia of promise.

I was so seduced by her,
And the idea of student life
Because they promised to bully me
With pleasure and plenty
Into becoming someone better.
I was eager to feel the growing pains,
To be soaked in a baptism of fire,
And come out strong, sexy and sophisticated.

Just five years ago,
I was a depressed, suicidal self-loather
Counting on student life to reduce
The borders of his comfort zone to rubble,
Cast out the craven contentment
And leave only the interesting and engaging.
I was asking for it.
Tempting fate,
The Goddess,
Or whoever was directing then.
I was practically begging
The powers that be
(Be they higher chaos or order)
To give that old poetic irony
Another bloody shake.
And as these things tend to go,
Neither the journey, nor the destination
That I got,
Was what I had expected.

When you put all your stock,
All your hope of becoming
Better, stronger, wiser etc.
Into the student lifestyle,
One of guaranteed stress
And fatigue (if you want to do well)
With some binge and bohemia
For those who have the time,
The money and the stomach
For such things,
You are setting yourself up
To fail.

So it was then, that I spent
My first year desperately
Trying to keep up, foolishly
Trying to get my mental health
To improve merely through osmosis,
By being around inspiring people
And exciting situations,
Leaning hard on some people,
Until the attachment became
A dependency of validation,
Parasitic in nature,
Pitiful in scope.

The next few years were spent,
Pulled back by Paroxetine,
Fixing and regretting,
Waiting for a reconciliation
That never really came.
You see, just as the addiction
to validation and connection
Had broken friendships,
So too would the desperation
For reconciliation hamper
My chance to move on or start anew.

If you cherish friendships
Merely as fodder for one-way validation,
Or seek connections merely
As antidotes to loneliness,
As sources for inspiration,

As promises of self-improvement
And a better, more interesting,
More exciting life,
You are not loving people
For people’s sake.
You are loving them for the mark
They might make on you,
You are loving them
For the uses they might have.

And so I shuffled onwards
Patching up the academic failures,
Dream ever taunting me with
Glistening scenes of an alternative past,
Regretting faded friendships,
Waiting to be let back in
The lives and circles
I myself chose to walk away from,
Slowly retreating from the university town
And the need to take antidepressants.

Then my last semester came along
Coloured by Corona into a vast
Inundating blur.
Moving house, living the delicate
Dance of redecoration, renovation
And the final furlong of
Academic work, strangely
Brought it all together
In a peculiar picture
Called Transience.

Student years,
Some people fill them
To the brim with memories
Worth keeping—romantics beware:
Rarely absent is the surplus
Of mistakes, dead-end relations,
Wasteful drama that would not
Stop stinging, if not for
The speed of life.
Others, workmanlike
March forward towards
Their achievement first, be it
Academic, or job-market
Preparation, to save their
Snippets of buoyancy as a treat.
Some manage to do both,

And blessed be their luck.
Some people struggle
To do either, and with
That dull, discoloured filter
I am forced to look upon
The so-called golden years
Of youth and see
Mostly piss.

Regretting the mishaps and missteps
Is easy, just mingle
Your present FOMO
With glowing scenes from
Your imagined past,
Whitewashed and streamlined
With every reminiscence;
Harder is finding comfort
In loss, in the struggles
That once seemed celestial
In size but with time shrunk
To forgettable grime; Harder
Is cherishing the tiny gems
That shine unsullied and refuse
To imagine them planet size;
Hardest, to look upon a picture
Called Transience and see
Beauty in perpetually becoming
Imperfection.



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