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Orientation Week

Ron Koertge - Image by Sonia Sones
Ron Koertge

and a family of two is exploring the Student Union.

Dad is all decked out in the shirt she bought

with her own money. Joyce is wearing snug

cut-offs and her freshman breasts stir as she walks.

Dad knows that all the boys plan to slip some LSD

in her cocoa as soon as he is out of sight.

He takes in the monsters, hair down to there,

a fuselage in every pair of pants.

Worse than he expected. Certainly not the eunuchs

and mild wethers that he hoped for. And where

is the Jake Barnes dormitory?

He sees them do it to her even as they stand

by the car. Worse, he sees her ask for it,

coaxing with her expensive teeth. Why can’t he

lock those vivid hips in her room?

Follow her everywhere, revolvers drawn?

Punch a few of those furry bastards in the chops?

So he does what he can — lips to chaste brow,

hand to bare arm, saying

Good-bye now. Be good.


Ron Koertge is a well-known, much-admired poet and the author of several award-winning young-adult novels. His new collection of poems from Candlewick Press is
Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses, a book of re-visited fairy tales as only Ron Koertge could revisit them. His website is ronkoertge.com. “Orientation Week” was originally published in a collection titled High School Dirty Poems, published by Red Wind Books. A larger collection of his poetry is the University of Arkansas Press’s Making Love to Roget’s Wife: Poems Selected and New. “Orientation Week” is reprinted by permission.

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Ron Koertge - Image by Sonia Sones
Ron Koertge

and a family of two is exploring the Student Union.

Dad is all decked out in the shirt she bought

with her own money. Joyce is wearing snug

cut-offs and her freshman breasts stir as she walks.

Dad knows that all the boys plan to slip some LSD

in her cocoa as soon as he is out of sight.

He takes in the monsters, hair down to there,

a fuselage in every pair of pants.

Worse than he expected. Certainly not the eunuchs

and mild wethers that he hoped for. And where

is the Jake Barnes dormitory?

He sees them do it to her even as they stand

by the car. Worse, he sees her ask for it,

coaxing with her expensive teeth. Why can’t he

lock those vivid hips in her room?

Follow her everywhere, revolvers drawn?

Punch a few of those furry bastards in the chops?

So he does what he can — lips to chaste brow,

hand to bare arm, saying

Good-bye now. Be good.


Ron Koertge is a well-known, much-admired poet and the author of several award-winning young-adult novels. His new collection of poems from Candlewick Press is
Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses, a book of re-visited fairy tales as only Ron Koertge could revisit them. His website is ronkoertge.com. “Orientation Week” was originally published in a collection titled High School Dirty Poems, published by Red Wind Books. A larger collection of his poetry is the University of Arkansas Press’s Making Love to Roget’s Wife: Poems Selected and New. “Orientation Week” is reprinted by permission.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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