English student says studying in Ireland “changed my life”

Eric Orosco ’18 is an English major who studied in Ireland over the summer after receiving the Seamus Heaney Fellowship for International Study.

The donation for the experiential learning opportunity came from Stockton accountant Ned Leiba, who studied under Heaney at UC Berkeley.

Here is one of the poems Eric submitted with his application:

I remember deciding to love you
bottom bunk, my body wrapped
in fleece or that sorry excuse for a brown
throw blanket. You, loon-like,
wings tucked close for warmth or buoyancy.
There was never a lesson
that said boys can be beautiful too
but I found myself clocking your curls
and curves and the way you
wore the women’s section of Target.
There isn’t a field guide for loving
written by brown, queer bodies
no step by step instructions
on how to pull a man close and mix palettes
of beige and alabaster
or to even recognize the hues
of you and you and
you were the difference between
I’ll walk you to your car
and you know the way out, right?
So of course I’m ashamed it’s taken me 40 steps
40 partners pushed into positions not suitable
for weight heavier than a week of missionary and reversewhateverpositionkeepsmefromhavingtomakeeyecontact
And I remember, you turned your head toward my wrapped up
direction and ran your fingers through my black locks
and I decided that I would let you through let you love
let you be you.

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