Voices on the Wind Voices from Teen Years
INTELLECTUALS (for Cindy) by Leslie Clark We fancied ourselves intellectuals. Rare blooms that somehow managed to lift exotic heads from the hard-scrabble dirt of a factory town. While our classmates were concerned with how much beer they could guzzle, the best parking places in town, Bobby—long and hard like a highway, we had endless discussions about Nietzsche, Sartre, Collette, Marx. We got it all wrong, often, but at least explored the options. We confounded our small town teachers, challenged librarians. We formed our own little clique of oddballs– two hefty, sardonic brothers, a rawboned farm boy, a precocious private school student. You, with your razor intellect and acne, me, a collection of bones and brains and glasses. We gathered on porches to mock and banter and launch our lofty theories into the stagnant air. Sexuality was always an invisible other in our throaty voices though we claimed to have risen above all that. We girls were eventually distracted by the mundane, swept into a social whirl, seduced by bulky football players. We left the group’s guys behind on porches to add us to their litany of mockery. Though we still exchanged worlds discovered in books of rebellious thought, our intellectual edge was softened like the new curves of our bodies. We lost each other through life’s twists of paths, through careless errors in judgment. Now we lead our lives in wide-flung places. Still, I thank you for piquing that first craving of the mind, that quest for something else. Every day, I try to pass it on, and hope that somewhere, somehow you still do the same.