David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Dear Dante

February 25, 2021

Yesterday, Inside Higher Ed had a story about states wanting to waive the "maintenance of effort" clause tied to money received to help colleges and universities.  I think more than anything, in my recognition that daily I have a freaking "maintenance of effort" to get out of bed, to read the next email, to review the next article, to not scream at the world, I sought refuge in The Inferno.

“Dear Dante”

(Alternate title: “Poem Of the Damned”)

(Second Alternate Title: “An English Major Mourns For Purgatory”)

Tell me, dear Dante,

What circle have I fallen in?

My brain's beaten down

By the brutal mutilation

Of the tongue through the dung

Of professional ministrations.

Do I hover around six,

Heretic of all I have loved?

What hellish fiend deviates

From simplistic soliloquies

To nightmarish monsters 

Formed by legions of MBAs?

Will I find White

Twisting in agony?

Does Strunk break a bone

In effort to get free?

Tell me, dear Dante,

How the hell do I get home?

Or am I closer to the center

Finding Fraud in lane eight?

Because nothing peals more false

Than the language of 

A "price corridor"

Or "engendered switching costs."

I can't ignore the hot wind

Blown by the bureaucrats

With their misguided, misdirected

Declarations of dependence:

"Show us your maintenance of effort

To receive your ticket to exit."

To be truthful, dear Dante,

What I fret most of all

Is that when I get to ten

The room will be filled with the men

Who in their daily spin

Right the narrative to their whim,

While what's left just burns.

Tell me, dear Dante,

Where the hell is home?