Monologue #23

When I came to college they gave me a packet of maps.
Don’t walk on the grass, stay on the brick paths, the signs read
and as I walked up the marble steps I stared
at this illogically numbered set of boxes named Chambers – wandered my way
through this set of days they called orientation: a whirlwind of five hundred names and get-to-know-no-one games – and I didn’t know a way to stop my head from spinning

so I walked with the parade of people crouched over their cell phones,
stayed on the brick paths, never let my feet go naked in the grass – I took all the good classes,
worked to get the top grades, went to office hours and highlighted all my pages,
went to the gym once a day and never dared to wander astray down that hill – I filled my schedule to the brim with scheduled social activities then

one day, in mid-November when the sky bled a dull grey monotony, I realized I was – unhappy. I dreaded the tyrant alarm clock of the class bells ringing, wanted to break out of chamber’s white prison walls,
I wanted to mourn the loss of my childhood when books replaced connection, grades replaced affection,
my heart wandering without a sense of purpose or direction –

When I came to college they gave me a packet of maps. They said stay on the path, take your place in the top class of society’s machine: point north toward the six figure salary, raise your well-dressed children within the white picket fences so they do not wander astray, and all the problems will go away – if only you take this little white pill and invest enough in your retirement funds, bracket fun for the weekends and work seventy hours in your week to make enough money to escape to some exotic destination on vacation, take up your white American burden to drive the economy forward with your Christmas purchases – forget that Jesus says blessed are the poor, keep buying in, don’t question the other doors – you are born out of privilege to keep the plastic holy and just do what makes you happy – for a moment

Well hell if I know what makes me happy – if a four year liberal arts college with unlimited free Tenders and blaring music on the weekends can’t keep me satiated, maybe I’m one of those helpless cases that just isn’t meant to graduate,
maybe I’ll be one of those Asheville-out-in-the-mountains hippies that lost their maps years ago, those rebels who never gave their souls to check the IRS boxes

When I came to college, they gave me a packet of maps, but I don’t need them anymore –
I’m done trying to silently triangulate between society, my parents voices’, and my own –
because I am not a lone peg in the cog of higher education’s machine –

I am a human being
who has been gifted with the opportunity to live and breathe for the Earth’s wellbeing,
I am a wonderer who dares to envision the homeless taking their place next to those with PhDs, I am a seeker of the ocean’s visions being breathed into whale’s dreams,

I am a poet whose words will not apologize when I wander astray, for I am here to say
listen carefully: this is the story of one woman’s liberation, whose map will be her wisdom, whose compass will be compassion, and whose voice lies in the resurrection of the soft whisperings of her heart – telling her to let her feet breathe naked in the grass –
yes, she is free, and love will be her path.

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