Something I wrote for a poetry reading in English. Its meant to be heard spoken, so its a bit odd at some points in written form, but I'm posting it anyway.

we

are the top of the class

you place us upon high thin pedestals and then lay what feels like the weight of the world upon our shoulders

"you are all

examples"

they tell us

whispering lies into our young sensitive ears until we are drunk with them

i am tipsy off this vodka and these expectations

study do your homework get good grades pass the test get into college get a shitty corporate job that you will hate for the rest of your life don't ever get in trouble and don't ever be unhappy

you have stolen us

young and innocent from the west gold coast of childhood

whisked us across the oceans in your merchant ships to this foreign land and you sell us to the highest bidder and work us like dogs in this poison machine until we crumble like all the dirt that has gathered under our fingernails

i hate this broken system but i come back every morning after every single fight I COME BACK i am an beaten wife crawling on these bruised hands and knees to the man who breaks her glass-fragile mind because i am to afraid to leave him

you drown me in your gentle oppressions which i soak away with wine but i am sinking deep and fast and i clutch onto this textbook like it is my life preserver because i was taught no better hold onto the knowledge that they hand us on these rusted platters and take no more than what you are given

these scars upon my wrists are my class notes they are carved deep into my flesh so that they may burn into my bones dear lord let us never forget how to find x or the structure of the cell because they never taught us how to live or how to be happy when there's rain clouds

you give this title like a badge HONOR STUDENT but its a two word chain four syllables binding me to this desk and these scantron bubbles burst against our fragile brains don't test me know more master my paper heart can't stand these tears

you took our innocence you gave us nothing this knowledge is garbage that flies out of our mouths and onto the page as we spit it right back at you

an AP course forces a young girl to alcoholism before she's had her first kiss first touch and her first relationship is with the yellow and orange global history textbook fuck you pearson do not tell me how to learn

these numbers say i'm not good enough and this C average means i'm crap but this test don't mean shit because i won't let these grades break me or this standard testing rape me i refuse to shatter like a cracked shot glass in the hands of a disorderly bar patron

screw this class, and take your exams back because i am more

than just

a test score