Chris Maggio/The New York Times

February 17, 2021

‘On Valentine’s Day’

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On Valentine’s Day

This poem was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “The Raven”

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I regarded, piqued yet leery,
Which TV shows and motion pictures Netflix knows I watched before —
         My mind bombarded, unreactive, suddenly there came a tapping,
         As of bedsprings gently rattling, rattling in the room next door.
“’Tis the AC,” I muttered, “rattling in the room next door —”
         So I turned my volume up one more.

But the rusty, paced, metallic clanging ’gainst my pallid wall
Must be thrusting with such force to make the bed scrape ’cross the floor;
         So that now, to hush the squeaking of their mattress, I’ve conceded:
         “’Til my ears are raw and bleeding and my brain is awfully sore—
I’d rather total loss of hearing than to know my roommate scored—”
         So I turned my volume up one more.

Slumped into my desk chair sunken, least I no longer heard the thumping,
Soon again the sound of humping, from a new direction than before.
         “Surely,” said I, “surely that is someone jumping on their mattress;
         Whatever else, then, could my other roommate have in store—”
But like a fool I paused to listen and this mystery explore—
         Then I turned my volume up one more.

The jokes of chosen comedies can’t cloak them moaning constantly,
My headphones won’t be saving me, I’m out of hope and so forlorn;
         No cessation, stay for ages; they’re madly raving making babies;
         I remain patient, still and waiting, weighing what’s worth dying for —
My playlist’s inefficacious, the vocals are faint and dwarfed —
         So I turned my volume up one more.

And the mavens, never fading, still are mating, still abrading
I’m plainly panicked and prostrated and I’m at my last resort;
         All their bodies unrelenting, neverending, still consenting,
         As the bending beds beneath them wrench and creak until the morn;
And the goal I had of sleeping’s but a ghost, my spirit’s torn;
         I raise my volume — nevermore!

Jeremy Markus is a single, 5’8” senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who can now bench press 245 pounds. You can ask him out, as always, at [email protected].