Whether you call him Mr. T, Coach T, or Mr. Tuleja, if you graduated in the last 35 years, you probably know Academic Dean Greg Tuleja. Legendary for his teaching, flute playing, dry wit, and cross-country coaching (always in shorts, no matter how cold the weather), Tuleja is also an accomplished poet who has been published in Maryland Review, Lonely Planet Press, Thema, and The Society of Classical Poets. The poem below is one of five he had published in Sixfold this summer; read more at sixfold.org.
“The Woman in 302”
This morning the woman in 302
rolled the piano toward the window again
and this time out it went, from three stories up,
a didactic gesture, she later explained,
rather than an aggressive one
although she did admit to being surprised
and perhaps disappointed
that no one was hurt.
She must have been more singularly determined
this time, and able to command the resolve
that is needed to do such a thing,
but we always knew that she possessed
enough leverage of spirit and control
of her imagination to reach
for grand, existential achievements,
drawing on a cunning strength of personality,
pushing through a tangle of ethical contradictions,
and finally getting it to go,
a great black blur against the yellow brick
and indifferent silences of our building.
Afterwards we were told that she had no regrets
for so dramatically annihilating convention
in order to grasp a dream,
and watching her, in this her finest triumph
we all realized that we were in the presence
of greatness, even the poor, shaken, anonymous
pedestrians on Madison Avenue, who might eventually
be persuaded, she had often said,
to take more responsibility
for where they walk.