Graffiti in the Library

Chalkboard, Brendan Hunt



The graffiti scribbled into the desks of the library

intone different levels of cryptic messages.

Suck a dick! well that one’s clear.


A more delicate hand chides me

to Be mindful! and adds diagrams:

happily welling from a lumpy stick figure’s self.

Does it precede or respond to the dick?


This is my least favorite library on campus–

it eschews the classic, any Gothic sympathy,

or even stalwart Modern mood. It’s unceasingly practical.


There’s an alcove of small beige desks, most all

tattooed with the topical comments of undergrads.

Mandy Simmons is a whore! Bush did 9/11!

Ponce de Leon is dead–Nixon was framed!


There’s very little said peaceably or whispered

into the veneer of these desks.

I scan the room for a virgin surface, and settle

on a desk and chair. In simple lettering


the only message present reads: I’d like for us all

to settle down, quietly. and I imagine him, a student

not quite my height, looking small in this desk,

and quiet, and alone.

About the Author

Andrew Cushen, University of Florida

Andrew Cushen is a fourth-year English and Spanich major at the University of Florida. He is the editor in chief of TEA, and he hopes to pursue an MFA after graduation. “Graffiti in the Library” first appeared in TEA. 

About the Artist

Brendan Hunt, Bard College

“Chalkboard” first appeared in Bard Papers. 

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