Sitting Inert, Studying a Movement: a poem on Martin Luther and caffeine overdose

There’s something ironic about studying reforms – action and progress – while sitting still for hours, shoulders hunched over a screen.

Sitting Inert, Studying a Movement

Twelve thirty in the morning
meant a forty-two-page citation
spree on the Leipzig disputation
between the great Martin Luther
and his rival, Johann Eck.

She had a struggle of her own,
between her heart and the L-carnitine
and taurine ingredients in her energy
drink. She would’ve searched
the possibility of death from
a thousand percent daily value’s
worth of riboflavin and niacin
but it was now two twenty-seven.
She was five Monsters in
and ninety-five theses too deep.

And at three forty-one, her face
went gray, her bladder hurting
from holding it in for as long
as she could because using
the bathroom was, now, an
inconvenience; it took up
too much time. But here,
she understood compassion,
as she saw Luther, eager
for accessibility, a bible
for the common people.
He prioritized his work over
his health, and then,
he passed six kidney stones, shortly
before his death. Commendable.

But at six a.m. with the sun rising over
St. Peter’s basilica, she sat static,
suddenly speechless as she read
of the treatise he authored
leading to the death of a thousand
peasants. He was undeniably
anti-semitic. And towards his
death, he diagnosed his cynicism
as a result of poor health,
and immediately, she ran to the bathroom,
to relieve herself of it all.

Just like the title explains, this poem was inspired by the night I overdosed on caffeine, developing a stomach ulcer, at the ripe, old age of 20. So, here’s a little story time:

2017 was the 500th anniversary of when Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses.

I know. Iconic.

And the year prior, a professor (who I absolutely adored) was writing a biography on Luther, with the goal of publishing his book by 2017. I was chosen to be his research assistant.

Again, I adored this professor, so I put in 100% for each chapter of Luther’s life. To put this into perspective, I dove so deep, I could tell you what type of beer Luther drank down to the pet-names he called his wife.

But 100% meant little sleep. So, to compensate, I started drinking Monster. Then I tried Red Bull. Then I tried 5-Hour Energy shots. Then I started mixing ’em with the mentality of “well, one cocktail won’t hurt.” And eventually, I didn’t need to sleep!


Obviously, I was wrong. Apparently, working long hours with no sleep also meant that your body’s immune system weakened too. And one day, I started noticing a cold.

And like any person living in a first-world country, I took some tylenol.

Well, APPARENTLY, taking an energy shot, followed by some Red Bull, followed by two Monsters, followed by a tylenol pill (all taken within 4 hours) can really damage your insides.

Huh. Who knew?

Anyway, long story short, all those things burned a couple holes in my stomach lining, all because I was just trying to be a good student.

College is obviously different from when Luther went to school, but the idea of studying to the death isn’t new…and it’s still (and will continue to be) relevant.

So, if you are (or were) a college student, I’d love to hear about your experience! In college, did you prioritize studying? Or was there something else that took precedence?

Just curious…’cause I know if I was given the chance to redo college, I’d do some serious re-prioritizing.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!






Comments 4

  1. varjakBaby June 8, 2018

    Two of my fondest memories from college were doing collaborative physics homework problems in a student’s dorm room on the floor; and my second semester second year dorm room (so idyllic, shadows of trees on the wall in the evening). I had a few sleepless nights but I never was too into caffeine. Having said that, there were free coffee machines in some of the campus buildings that I would guess some students might have used too much. And I played tennis most of the years I was there, garnering two consecutive ACL injuries in the process from bad landings on jumping overheads.

    One of the lessons I learned in college are that it is theoretically and empirically possible to pull an all-nighter and still not finish your homework.

    Liked by 1 person

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