the others

the others
by emma blowgun
i remember graduation caps
hitting the auditorium
ceiling amongst the shouts and
cheers from family, friends,
and the likes;
stage ignited with the future
dreams of two-hundred and fifty
or so…
many of my peers left to the universities, for
the dorm life, studying hard and
earning the pride of their parents they
were beginning to mirror more and more
each day.
in four short years they will be
considered educated and proper
and i wonder how much learning is
actually happening at these colleges.
sometimes i doubt it’s really worth the
costs of the six-digit tuition.
several remained in the town we grew up
in, working part-time jobs and living in
the same home they always had; continuing to
reap the benefits of the family and the shelter
and all the perks that come with them.
weak; souls of play-doh, hearts of turnips,
balls of mice. many
of my high school friends fall into this
i sometimes wonder how many bowls
the same group of kids can
smoke in the same attic before they aspire for
something better?
or at least something different.
the others were thrown into a world
that had always remained unknown.
up until graduation, failure meant earning a
bad grade or losing a minimum-wage
job. even at rock bottom, food was
on the table and a bed and a roof
were supplied.
in the new life, they were cast to
streets where gangs dress in khaki,
landlords carry shotguns and
police travel in pairs.
where wooden stairs covered in vomit
ice over and cause the homeless to tumble
over backwards and the local
soup kitchen.
light from streetlamps doesn’t quite reach
the ground and front yards are covered in
fields of dandelions. more impressive
lamps and weeds can be found in the basements
of most houses to the west,
near the factories that smell strongly
of oatmeal
and cover the smell of the skunk
they meet minorities, they become minorities,
they sleep in parks and inside abandoned
tree houses.
i consider myself one of these “others.”
just recently i found myself in a situation
that proved (to myself) my adaptation to the
urban lifestyle; involving a
butterfly knife, a chain, and a three a.m.
scuffle at a laundromat over
forty dollars.
someday i’d prefer to fall asleep on the
red line in chicago somewhere between
belmont and jackson and wake up reincarnated
as a house cat, or put a bic lighter in my yawning friend’s
mouth. i want to forever
yell death threats across empty parking lots
while lighting a menthol cigarette and drinking
smuggled absinthe; letting obscenities fly like
b-12 bombers into the furious city night.
i dream to one day blow clean gray smoke
over every ocean from every shoreline in the
it’s a dream beautiful enough to make
me feel sorry for everyone that believes
their dreams are more ambitious than
so spread some codeine your blunt
wraps and pass that shit to the left because
where i come from, gravel roads go
on and on and on and on
and people who don’t fear the
the world sleep soundly
on futons surrounded by wine
bottle ashtrays, and alarm clocks
beep in monotone and start
everyday the same.

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