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The Little Rules
Mom, I don't think I told you this,
but when the Simpsons was on while you
were out getting groceries
me and my brothers would watch it with the volume low since we weren't allowed.
Because for some reason you thought
that only PBS kids was suitable for us.
Three years later, when I said said "eat my shorts,"
to you mom, you shrugged off the Simpson's rule.
We knew you were not going to set Mr. Burn's hounds on us.
And maybe Bart's bullies were right
that we were getting too old for cartoons.
Sneaking into the back row of a 18+ movie is cool enough
when we're only 12 you tell us we're not allowed.
Passing notes was once like walking on a tightrope
between Everest and K2 when I knew
at any minute you might find our love letters crumpled up
in the bottom of our backpacks and write a note to Mrs. Erikson.
You are the only reason that sometimes I put on
too much makeup to see if you yell at me to take it off.
I paint my nails neon pink, because I know that
you think that the unnatural is the spark of delinquency.
I'm not really a rebel child, but when I step on the
sidewalks cracks I see your face and laugh, because
I know that there is a chance that your back might break.
That would sure make you mad.
I sent in the application to the university that you didn't
want me to apply to because I wanted to snap another
It's funny because when you said, "practice the piano."
Instead I liked wait for your fuming face
as my joy comes from striking your chords out of tune.
When I saw kids lighting cigarettes behind the emergency
earthquake supply box at middle school, I wondered if
their moms ever told them not to smoke.
And their moms probably did. But when their only
rule is to stay away from drugs, then they still had to
find a way to snap their mom's piano strings.
If that means lighting a joint or cutting wrists
then those kids lost in backstreet corners and liquor stores
Had no other option, because their moms
might have told them not to smoke
but they never told them not to watch the Simpsons.
The little rules make us look down when we walk against a cliff.
The little rules are the only reason we use flash photography
in the museum of human revolutions.
When I put 5 teaspoons of powder into my ice tea, when the
package clearly states 3, I'm not doing it for the sugar rush,
I'm doing it for the rush of breaking one of your little rules.
Thank you mom for telling me not
to watch the Simpson's because for 3 years, watching
the Simpson's was like riding a rollercoaster that time
in Disneyland when I was an inch too short I had to put
cards in my shoes so my head would hit the pointing hand.
When I hear your voice after I curse to myself
in my head, sometimes I think I have a religious problem
and am hearing God.
You could be God; you're just as judgemental.
But Adam and Eve had to leave paradise sometime.
And when they ate from the tree of knowledge
they engrained into our DNA that shiver of satisfaction
I get when I break one of your little rules.
I know you only made these rules because you wanted
to build a roof, with shingles made of little rules.
I know why you get mad sometimes when I poke holes
in your perfect shelter and the rain drips down.
But I wouldn't let so much in that it would
ruin your brand new hardwood.
You wanted to build a moat around a the five foot thick
fortifications which you have been building since I was a
baby, so I wouldn't hear the wolves howling,
or the police car sirens racing down our street.
Sometimes I think the only reason I can go to sleep
when in the world, someone is shooting a gun right now
is because I live in the kingdom of little rules which you
constructed for me.
When you say, "have good dreams."
I do listen to you, mom.
One day, you will run out of little rules for me to break,
and I will have to make up my own to tell my children.
I'll whisper to a newborn baby in my arms one day,
"don't cry," and when they cry,
I'll tell them not to watch