Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Duck Speaks - A Poem

Jordan Ray

You know that there’s a problem in high schools
I’m sure you’ve heard it before
I don’t even know what it’s supposed to be called
Social Structures
Social Codes
The collective consciousness of the North American Teenager
The unwritten rules that everyone is supposed to know

The things that can create problems when people from different worlds collide
Fraternize with others that they don’t normally

The things that makes us stick to our own kind
The thing that says that you can come to the party
But you wouldn’t be welcome at all

You’re not cool enough
You don’t have enough class
Social Standing


And some people don’t think that it exists in this school but it does
Maybe not so bad as other places
With their set-up tables for the Art Geeks and Cool Asians
But bad enough that it makes kids do weird things

Like maybe try something out that they might not normally try out
Something that they think will raise their social status
Let them be accepted into that select herd that is the school’s elite

Or even just something that makes them want to change
So they can be like the guy with the perfect teeth, washboard abs and charm to spare
Or makes that girl want to be like the chick with the amazing legs and California tan

Do you know what it’s called?
This thing that makes people act unlike themselves
Makes them whisper behind each others backs
Cast glances up and down someone as they walk by in the hall
Scrutinizing them like a cute sweater in a store
Sizing them up like a piece of butcher’s workmanship
Sizing them down like a colony of black insects that go un noticed
But number in the millions

Tells them to just take a sip
Even though it’s against their better judgement
Or takes away their judgement entirely
Eating away at their individuality
Plucking away uniqueness like curly tufts from a black ram
Until he’s void of any creativity
Any soul

Screams at them to not say a word to anyone
Putting up a fun house of mirrors and illusions
Weaving deception like fine gossamer threads
Substituting fear for glue and lies for newspaper
As paper mache themselves into a sculpture
Just like number one’s
Or just like number two’s
Or number thirty nine’s
Number three thousand seven hundred and eighty two’s
Just another sheep in the herd

I find it funny that in a culture that appears fabricated on
Revealing the inner you
Letting yourself go
and glorifying yourself as an individual
That instead of doing this we all want to be just like everyone else
We want to be comfortable
To stay in our cozy little nests
All packed up with boxes of shampoo-in blond highlights and Jenny Craig supplements
And look around at the world and say
I wish that my bundle of twigs was a couple branches higher

If being yourself is for the birds, why don’t we spread our wings and fly?
Are we scared of how crowded the skies would get if everyone took off at once?
Is the guy who’s selling us our blonde highlight number 3B scared that he’ll lose business?
Are the trees scared that if we all leave our nests that they’ll be able to stand up a little straighter?

Are we scared of what some of the other birds might do if allowed to fly with the rest?

Who knows?
Maybe they’re really nice people who are just looking for some love.
Perhaps they’ve got some really horrible problems that they’ve got to solve with someone.
What if they’ve got a dream that could change the world?
There are hundreds of other feathered kinds of fowl
That you could meet
If we could all fly

But this fear, this mentality, this social weakness
Keeps our wings clipped
We just hop around in our nest
Along the nearest branch to visit our neighbors
Preferring not to think about anything beyond the boundaries of our tree
This oil sticks to our souls
Fouling us when all we have to do is pick up the bar of dove and scrub

And toss that pearly white cleanly godliness to our neighbors
So they can scrub too
And pay forward the aroma of freedom to the whole forest
Until entire flocks of birds soar through the air
Like synchronized skaters on a pond of peacock blue
Creating beauty
Or a smile

This metaphor has gone on long enough
But just before I stop I’d like to end with what really confuses me
Confuddles me
Confounds me
Perplexes bewilders and puzzles me to no end

We know the problem
We know the solution
It’s sitting right there
Like a steaming apple pie aroming scent towards your sniffer
But even though I and others like me
Keeping hitting the nail on the head
Hardly anyone else who hears us
Sees us
Or even some how senses us banging on that construction project that is building a better world
You don’t pick up your hammer
And pound.

1 comment:

~Julia said...

Now I understand your title; very nice. Mmmm Apple pie. You have a ton of analagies - makes for a very interesting read.

My school was the same way with groups, we said we didn't really have social groups, but we did. Though, they dissolved at the end of grade 12. Ironic really, we all stopped caring about the lines at the end when it really didn't matter anymore. Then again, maybe it was because it didn't mater anymore...

You realize, I'm sure the inherent difficulties involved in building a world with no lines or divisions. You'd basically have to go against human nature. We've always been this way because we need to have an in-group, and as long as we have an in-group, there will be an out-group. Sad really. When I was little, I couldn't wait to be an adult so that i could change the world. Now that I'm nearly there I wonder...