A good student, ‘The place is lumbered,’ he tells me
‘with a Rump of ageing Hippies’ – and it’s true I can see
Blakemen trapped in their burning beards and hair.
For lack of invention the Age strikes some to pillars
of Marxist/Feminist/Post-Structuralist salt.
Stiff-jointed liberals dance to escape insult.
‘Academics are Saussure they know everything’
goes the graffito, ‘they know Foucault about anything.’

Remember those post-war silken ladders unrolled
from palaces of cloud? The hard-working world
was going to join us there, Leavis and Levis in
the Realms of Gold. Now everything has come down.
There’s text in a bus ticket. Anyone tape-talks
and it’s history. I tell him, ‘Believe in your books.’

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