Oh child, how much of the world you don't understand

I just sit here and nod while you talk yourself into a hole

You wink and I pretend not to see

You think you're flirting is working on me

Subtlety is not your style

You don't know my name

But you're desperate to play the game

Listening to the randomest assortment of music

Instead of doing your ALEKS math worksheets

You throw out music names, striving for communication,

You speak of Bora Bora while your buddy picks Cuba

To look like this hoe-dunk nowhere town in OR

Has given you a sense of culture

Just because your charter school only meets Monday-Thursday

You're convinced metal in your leg and six fused bones in your back from an accident make you wise

But they've only proved your childishness.

One day, you will look back at this and you won't even remember

You won't remember room #215

Or the girl/woman in the black sweater

Who you stare at with wishful eyes

And pat the seat beside you like I'd actually move to sit there

But I know that any reaction, no matter the one, will only encourage you

Even your teacher calls your bull

I am twenty-three, a grad student

Which you don't know

And wouldn't make a difference

Even if you did.

You are sixteen.

Wearing a bright pink shirt

(Don't laugh, it's your girlfriend's)

Desperate to appear undesperate in your search for popularity

For attention

For me to give you an inkling

That we are playing the same game

If only I could tell you

You're not even on the same ball field

You don't want any of this

Credit card bills

Phone bills

Car payments

Insurance applications


Real life

An absent social scene

Relationships that function outside of a vacuum

Outside a schedule of being forced into the same location

Making decisions based on the well-being of others

Rather than giving a single thought to your own preferences

I live in a world you know nothing about

Within a context of so much you think you can change

Only to find the world exactly how it was when you started

(though it will never be what everyone promised it would be)

People that fight for one thing

Only to find they don't want it

Once they get it.

That's what this is for you.

A chase.

A new discovery.

Trying to prove you can

Even when you shouldn't

Maybe one day you will grow up

Maybe one day you will learn

But I think by then

You will have wasted your whole life

Trying to learn the rules

Of a game that doesn't even exist