Kids These Days

Kids These Days

“Kids these days…”
You throw this phrase in our face
As you speed up the pace, and we’re outweighted
In a spontaneous race that only you created.

“Back in my day…”
You all say, looking away,
Gritting and gray
Forgetting the horrible ways
You told black people to “know their place”
And claimed shock therapy could cure the gays.
Your women were meant to be kept in the kitchen
While you reckoned children should just listen
while you misfired your pistons,
mired in your staunch positions.

Don’t pretend that everything was better
When unsettling regret sets in forever because
Our day is today and though you maintained labels
We’ve sustained inviting everyone at our lunch tables.

In these duplicitous days, your infelicitous ways
Are revealing the real actions and what really happened
In your “good old days,” sending us reeling,
Feeling we have no say, but now we have the impetus
To change your iniquitous wickedness,
So we vote and you choke on the words you spoke
reinvoke us to act, and provoke us,
And learning kindness is not just hocus pocus!

We used to wait for permission –
The condition of our ambition –
But now we grant it ourselves;
Our candor compelling us as you’re dwelling
on the childhoods you put on the shelves,
telling us we don’t listen or appreciate what we’re given,
That we only think of ourselves, but you keep
Dispelling our memories of you yelling
And telling us we are misremembering and embellishing

You harass us with the past, but
We run fast and we will outlast you
And we will pick up your slack and take it back and
We adapt while you react with little to no tact, we
Overcome your lack of self-reflection
With each election, you change the direction, eternally lacking affection,
spurning our need for protection, reinforcing our perplexion,
Because, yeah, we journal and question
And we yearn for suggestion and learn from correction.

Just so you know, old school is for the old and the tired,
and we don’t do as told, cause we conspire to break the mold –
Behold! Your old road is potholed, but our story’s yet untold,
so we will uphold the lessons you don’t know each of you teaches
as your lies rise and reach us, but each of us beseeches
what the other preaches because
If we keep memorizing what you memorized
as you closed your eyes and studied only rich white guys
and believed the lies, how will we ever rise and grow
and show what we know and go where we need to go?

We organize and create; we debate and delegate
and initiate while you bloviate and get irate
and miss what happens because
you don’t want to appreciate or participate.

But we fix all your messes,
And let dudes wear dresses,
And while each of us confesses, the Lord
Still blesses us because we give applause and
we are careful of stress and pause is pressed
lest we forget a cause we want to suggest!

You mourn your days and you scorn our ways
and bullhorn our laze, warning the craze of being overpraised.
But our mainstays are healthier, our weekdays are wealthier,
and we raise our hearts for more love in this place –
you started the race and you try to outpace,
but we embrace even as you backspace,
and we will amaze and liaise so nobody strays
from the finish line you secretly created and discreetly updated
The bar is rising and you keep criticising
but we keep surprising and actualizing
without your apologizing.

We keep enterprising, opening closed doorways,
ignoring imposed clichés because the way we appraise,
this generation’s success is unswayed, and it stays
All because of the kids these days.

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Why I Refuse to Comply

Why I Refuse to Comply

I refuse because I’m sick of everyone telling me what to do!
I refuse because don’t you remember
how exhausted it makes you to get up
and go to school everyday?

Because every molecule is telling me to run 10,000 miles an hour,
and you want me to sit silently
And look at the board.

I refuse because nowhere else in my life do I feel like I have choice.

I don’t comply because there’s nothing else to do,
And you can’t make me.
Seriously, what are you going to do?
I refuse because, you and what army?

Because this is dumb and bull and a waste of my time.

I refuse because no one asks me what I want.
And because, have you noticed outside?
And because, don’t you sometimes care more about later than now?

I refuse because I don’t care about this.

Because you won’t let me go tot the bathroom.
Because your condescension mocks me.
Because, don’t you sometimes not listen?

When She Sits Next to Me

When She Sits Next to Me

All at once she makes me sick to my stomach, and
also feel like I’m Superman or something, and
my palms are dripping faucets; and
somehow even my eyeballs sweat.

Has she always worn her hair like that?
Is that a new dress?

I sink deep into my seat, and
even though I haven’t figured it out,
I wonder if I’ll ever be able to do trig again.
A weakness of the knees;
a quickness of the heart, and
my face hurts from all this smiling!

My IQ and my heartbeat
have an inverse relationship now, and
I swear she smells like sunshine and strawberries, and
everything that is light and joy and summer and perfection, and
why do I suddenly care how my hair looks? And
why do I hear her name in every song I hear? And
why, when she sits next to me, do I do everything I can
to avoid making eye contact?

I fumble my pencil as I think,
it feels like there’s a first period pop quiz and I didn’t read; but
it’s more than a crush –
crushed is how I feel when she walks hand in hand with Taylor.
It must be, regardless of what my older brother says,
inescapable, undeniable, and
unrequited
love.

Scrub My Skin

Scrub My Skin

Imagine me with freckles
In a world of unmarked faces
A world of unscarred, creamy,
Smooth skin…

This poem isn’t about color –
It’s acknowledging feeling like
An other.

Like, there I am with freckles
Not like I want freckles
I hate the way they photograph,
But they’re there.
They’re me.

And suddenly, everyone’s all
“Freckles just don’t look normal!”
“I knew a guy in college with freckles,
But I just don’t want my kids around them…”
“Maybe your freckles are just a phase?”
“Freckles are reckless and infectious!”

So now I try to hide them.
Wherever I go.
Whenever I’m out.

I even scrub my skin until it’s raw.
Until I think they’re gone.
Crying, trying to hide them
Pretending I don’t have spotted skin.
Concealer doesn’t work.
There’s nothing I can do, though,
I have freckles!
I was born with them,
Or maybe some showed up as I got older –
Plus, they always show through
Any trick I try.