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View From An Institution

ISSUE:  Winter 1980

               for B

Thirty miles or so south of L. A.
stand two hangars, like two tombs
on the plain between
the freeway and the mountains,
remote dark swarms of army helicopters every hour
departing and arriving: I still
feel too sick even to think
we lived in their presence,
their shadows,
for nearly a year. Oh yes, I remember
it. And when I can’t sleep
I think of huge observatories parting soundlessly
or those two domelike structures
we passed once on the coast highway,
the nuclear reactor eerily lit and crane-manipulated all night
               long. . . .
And when I’m by myself,
this is my demented song:
welcome to the University—
it seems you’re the only one registered this fall.
You’ll notice our nocturnal sprinkling-system.
You’ll notice the library’s books are all blank on the inside.


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