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Junior Year MAG
walk me to the train station again.
and tell me softly that we're all going to NYU.
and if we're not, just lie again. lie again,
in the grass beyond the trees
beyond the shadow
of the building we
of the classes we sleep in and our
implicit brothers and sisters who
gave us answers and told us
how to graph cubic functions.
(play me coffee-shop astor place lyrics in a darkened hallway in the heart of the bronx,
and strum your guitar to the tune of dictating voices,
the drum-beats emulating the sound of weary feet.)
tell me that we're all here for a reason,
and even with the 50 on my precalc midyear,
i'm still going somewhere.
tell me i'm not worthless.
tell me the numbers don't mean anything.
(tell the kids refreshing the college-board page and scouring the Internet for that blasted SAT score,
they're not going to die if what they got was less than the year they were born. tell them more.)
tell them that the numbers don't mean anything.
tell all the faceless ones who wait for the bell to ring.
tell them what they need to hear,
through intercom bells and voices all unclear.
you can't, because the words are emptier than the rooms in the summer,
where the sunshine's let in, and my school, built in 1938
with her stooping shape and wizened form, glows in her curdled glory.
you can't, because we need to learn about the tories,
and willy shakespeare and willy loman and the sour grapes of delusional ambition.
i'll tell you i don't need a dead white man to tell me about disappointment.
you can see it in the eyes of the girl who didn't get into columbia.
of the boy who didn't get into ap calc.
take your poets and all your literary devices, take your ideas, your words, your
outdated equipment, take it all, put it into a box and incinerate it.
take your books, your notes, your grades, your A's, your B's, your C's, your D's,
your hallowed, holy SATs and tell them where they all need to go.
tip the basket from the third floor window.
tell me why i can't do what i can't do. tell me more
give me the coordinates of the place where the invisible door
shut before me.
and plant a tree where that door used to stand.