tonight the world is too big for you to change it.

August 2, 2008
By Linda Wang, Cupertino, CA

Mahogany beams support the ceiling but sometimes they
crack and TIME has ground a paste
of ash and brine that the Elegant Lady rubbed into
the gaps but


the beams shriek so often

they seem hardly sturdy enough to hold up the Robinsons’ home.

So talented, say they whose hands have been softened with AVEENO,
Fingerprints worn away with constant abrasion of VISINE to soothe those blind eyes.
So talented, say they who profess to know him

—and SMILE—
Etching clever words and deprecating wit

—into the cogs grinding themselves against his pride—
In short marveling over the words he’s written

—and the speeches he’s given—
about needing to help those poor children in Africa

—so much so he thinks perhaps he made it a cliché.

Tonight he will sit

on the steps leading to the podium and this pint-sized kid
(Overalls made by kids his age)
Will point at the poster and say—

hey mister aren’t cha gonna do sumthin’ ‘bou it?
No, I’m not “gonna do sumthin’ ‘bout it”

‘Cause I’m scared and mostly young
And all the ladies and gentlemen and SAVIORS of our world will

Preach with their causes served in Rolodexes
And wake next morning to find—

tucked neatly between Hatred and Ignorance

(But mostly BLINDNESS)

never do a thing about it


(So I’m not alone.
Not really.)

He watches himself from a distance and distantly thinks that maybe he

be a good person for


(Because though talk is cheap
It’s at least worth SOMETHING)

But if he thinks too hard
about the miseries of the world
And each soul that has seen HORRORS
and felt
Greater than he will know
He will discount too greatly the value of his HAPPINESS
and be
Under their weight
(For though one man may live even TWO
Lifetimes of sorrow is too
Hard for any ONE person to bear)

I kiss her deeply and think through the clouds of lusty haze
upon her deathbed of

and lace

perhaps she will say:
Treasure your youth, but not too much.
For youth and vanity are tied closer than that red knot you

Keep on your pinky for fate to kiss
And you will wake one morning to find

The world’s and your own future
Ransomed with inflated golden baubles

From when you last traded your hope and chances for


And the great SOPHISTICATION that comes

with declaring DREAMS impossible.

Tonight he will speak
And win awards
And write
And win praise
And do
A million other things
But not touch
A single soul.

Tonight he will think
That though it may make a difference


and DOESN’T.

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