Reality Check

November 29, 2008
By Victoria Sisouphone, Ithaca, NY

What if I wanted to break away from society?
A culture
Where war replaces peace
Where money replaces love
Where emotions run dry
Where coping with it doesn't apply
Is this the kind of community we want to live in?
Would you stop me from leaving?-- Can you blame me for cheating?
My way out
Of life.
Out of School. Out of Love. Out of Pain.
Out of this
Repulsive palce
I live in
Where being a terrorist is as easy as
Having brown skin
Is this what we want to live in?
A corrupt place where rules are
Pushed aside
Where solving problems are resolved
With homocide..
Don't blame me for breaking away
Where there is a place hatred won't go anyway
Love has meaning and is not
By something green
Where peace reins
Over war
Where emotions rise
Above more than just words that are said
Now put these ideas inside your head
Tell me what you think now
Because if you don't think differently somehow
Then there is no hope for the future and the now!

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This article has 141 comments.

on Dec. 18 2008 at 4:31 am
this is marvelous! i love it! i also love how you talk of change. it is wonderful that you want to make a change and are dedicated to seeing it through. dont ever stop. because there will be those who want to push you down bt u cant ever stop. you want a change in this world then u make one. we all need a change. i just wish more of us were as brave as you to admit it and work for it.

Sara A said...
on Dec. 18 2008 at 2:51 am
Oh no. What the fuss was all about? Pft, email me again when there is a good one or a real poem posted

on Dec. 18 2008 at 1:25 am
I read this poem over again after reading all comments, including the author's.

I am not her friend. I have never met her. Some call her Vicky, others Victoria. That's all I know about her. Yet, I side with her. I have read the poem over and over again. I have thought about it long and hard.

Her message comes from her crying heart. She is not truly saying that she is going to cheat her way out of society. You would think the people on this site would read more in between the lines! Even though it says "cheat" very cleary, she doesn't mean that. She's saying: "Don't blame me for what's happening to OUR corrupt planet, I'm on the other side. I'm trying to fix it. I'm actually READY for change." That's what I thought when I first read it. And immediatly, I agreed 100%.

Our world has gone to the dumps. I'm not complaining. In fact, I am trying to change it just as much as Vicky here is. I want this mess to end. That is my obligation as a writer. We have influence, more so than even the president-elect Obama in all his speach-giving glory. What is our purpose but to try to change what we can change? We can't change the weather, we can't change terrian. We live with it. We can, however, change society.

This is our future! I mean, here you guys are sitting and complaining about one girl's view with her poem, while you can be out there, starting the great reformation out planet will need to go through!

What angered me most is the boy who went to his mother about her brown-skinned comment. Basically, she was refering to the judgmental path society *hint hint, our country* has taken. And all of you who go against her, you're proving her comment. I thought you were trying to fight her, not help her!

Please, a poem is not words on a page. A poem is something so much more powerful. A poem has the deepest meaning one can ever get. Try to understand that.

Victoria, you're changing the world. One person is better than none. You're a light in the darkness. It's nice to know we're not all fighting alone. May our future be better than our past! Let us change the world! See you at the top. ;D

Fizzy said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 8:58 pm
Okay so I am somewhat puzzled, Samara: Did you tell ME my way of saying what I think about this is being misunderstood (I think I have to apologize if that is the case - time to play the foreigner-card...?), or saying the author's style is misinterpreted? In that case I'd say that's one of the points I love about this poem, you have to think about it to actually get its meaning, and there is several ways to interprete it. If you're looking at it already beng angry at the world and yourself wanting to leave it (unlike Vicky, apparently, which shall make us all be happy), you'd probably understand this as a total support of your ideas. But if you're seeing the world as an "upsy-daisy" place, it shall make you "think differently somehow", and I personally tihnk it is our duty to open peoples' eyes. Not to make them feel worse about the world, the place they live in, themselves, and who they are. But to give them the impulse to improve the latter.

Dang: Starting out with a "what if", the then following is all just hypothetical, innit? (A way of making the image seem more actual is not to use conditional forms all the way through, only telling this is all hepothetical in the very beginning...)

crich897 said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 6:35 pm
Hey Victoria,

I really love the theme and ideas behind your poem. Actually, that is what I am writing about.

A certain line particularly inspired me, and I was wondering if I could have permission to use it in an upcoming piece? That line is "Don't blame me for breaking away".

I feel inspired to write a poem that goes hand in hand with yours, in a way, and I'm pretty sure that I would like to use that line as a foundation.

Let me know what you think, and keep speaking out!


Ama B. said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 5:20 pm
I'm not trully sure what to feel. The message is in one way strong yet in another way slightly messed up. I understand your messgae, but everyone understand spoetry differently. It would be nice if you tolled us in a comment what you where trying to do, but that may ruin what others think of your poem, but it can also help others. For the message that I beleive you where trying to give us I gave it a 10 out of 10. But the whole poem in itself was more of a 6 or 5 out of ten. These are your thoughts and feelings and I in no way am trying to critisize your work. I however do like your line sayin "where being a terrorist is as easy as haveing brown skin". That really got to me, and this allowed me to notice the visuals in your poem. It also showed me our world in the view of another. You showed us all the bad of our world,and I think that this is what you were trying to show us, as well as the kind of place in which we can break away to. I beleive this poem would be a little more understanible if you tolled us the good of our world as well. Yes their are many horrors of our lives and yes we do all feel them, but sometimes we also just need to get away from it all, but this dosent mean our entire world is like this, your showing me a dark cold hatefilled world, but i know kind of like the "Ying Yang" theory, their is good in evil and evil in good. You should write a new poem with this same idea but also with the "Ying Yang" Theory. Good Luck on future poems, but try to next time give a more rounded view.

kianapearl said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 11:21 am
I love your poem. I've read the other comments, and it almost sounds like your being attacked! Maybe their only jealous... This poem is very relatable, whether others 'agree with it' or not. Keep your head up. It's great that you've attempted to encourage other people to see the world a little differently...but the world is also very close-minded, which could be why your poem has so many different opinions and seen through different views. Keep writing... I think your awesome.

SurferGuy390 said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 6:12 am
This poem is amazing. There's so many ways you could interprete this piece. In fact, most of the poetry on this site is great. Here's on of my favorites, check it out

on Dec. 17 2008 at 2:28 am
The poem is a very thought provoking one and is obviously making people take on many views.

When I read it, my first reaction was that it and your intentions were good.

That you realize what the problems that bring down our society are and you don't want to be a part of it. What with all the violence and hatred it makes you wonder if there's a place out there where people can truly be treated equal and just act in a decent civilized manner. I thought when you used the word cheating, it was more to symbolize your difference from others with a different mind set and your pulling away from them and turning your back to them.

After I read all the comments and feedback people have been posting I noticed that there is really many ways you could 'take' this poem.

Its a really good poem, but maybe could use a little more clarity. You could add something about what your idea of withdrawing from this society is or how it is your 'cheating' it.

=]keep writing!

John Doe said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 1:11 am
One more thing (I know this has been asked but you've not responded as I'd hoped): Why did you tell us (in your last comment) you don't want to abandon the world but write in your poem that you want to "break away," as you put it evvver so thoughtfully?

John Doe said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 1:08 am
I think this is poem is one of the author's trite attempts at sounding as if she is righteous and self-assured. The author obviously thinks she is righteous (as can be seen in her vehement repetition: "I just want people to know the truth"), which amplifies her insecurities.

There are problems in this world. We all know it. Writing "literature" like this seems to have an automatically virtuous nuance nowadays. Sorry, it's the truth.

Semar said...
on Dec. 17 2008 at 12:55 am
What is a good poem? Probably the one that inspires, or inflicts pain, or simply touches your soul.

What amusing in the back and forth exchange between the author and her critics or cronies are: first, critics pick on how much the poem does not inspire them - the list of faults in this world is shoved in their faces, and how the author seems to handle the faults is faulty at best, and frankly does not seem sympathetic. "I have a dream" speech of MLK seems like a waste of dream, at least this is how the country is portrayed here - racism and terrorism in one sentence. To what degree it happens, it depends on your experience in life, and certainly the author can't insist that her feeling is shared by every one else. "Trying to make teenagers see the world as it is" can be as difficult as changing their perception on the world. It is like forcing the same lenses, through which they all see the world, to be used in different eyes.

Second, author's friends back her up fiercely. I wonder not. But development comes from constructive criticism and the ability to listen and adjust to that criticism. This will then come to the third point, namely, how defensive the author is up to this point.

We are all entitled to our opinions, no need to point that once more. Everybody agrees that the world is a messy place ("repulsive" is a very very strong word to be used here), but it is how you are perceived to want to deal with it that makes the difference. That is the difference in how you can change the world. If you can inspire, inflict pain and then touch someone's soul, then you'd probably be done with that poem. The problem is, some people question even the message contained in it. Work with it carefully, phrase it carefully, be more sympathetic, do not be hasty, and listen to suggestions. You will probably have something strong there.

TheAuthor said...
on Dec. 16 2008 at 5:54 pm
I love the different ways people are interpertating this poem.

I know it has different meanings to everybody, some like while others dislike it or disagree with it. You are all entitled to your opinions.

My apologies if it is not all that clear. I should have made a couple of edits before posting it.

Utopias can't exist, I am not saying that I want the world to be that. I feel as if the world has become somewhat of a Dystopia.

Brown skin is beautiful. Some poeple see it differently though.

If I really wanted to abandon this world, I wouldn't have written this poem and I wouldn't be here typing this comment right now. I am going to make a change in a the world.

Samara said...
on Dec. 16 2008 at 5:17 pm
I now understand after reading Fizzy's comment. It is probably the style that threw off some peoples. If it is true that the author is asking people to change the world (otherwise there will be lots of people breaking away), then I would advise her to write the poem or approach the rhetoric differently.

Also, there are some typos. Fixing them would benefit the poem tremendously.

Samara said...
on Dec. 16 2008 at 3:20 pm
I see what is creating all the problem with some people, including me apparently.

This poem has an undertone like: My teacher is bad so can you blame with for cheating?, or my parents are never home, so can you blame for trashing the house or getting drunk at home? Along that line, if you know what I mean.

The poem pointed to a well-known fact, that the world is a mess (so can you blame her for cheating her way out?). If the author's argument is to open teenagers' eyes, let me ask her, who does not already know that the world is full of misery? And does the author also try to persuade teenagers that it is okay to cheat their way out because the world is a mess? Is she merely informing the world she is opting out? But her line, "Tell me what you think now/ Because if you don't think differently somehow/ Then there is no hope for the future and the now!" indicates she needs happy pills.

I guess the problem I have if the moral undertone of the poem. We have obligations to the world. Yes, our teachers can't sometimes explain things clearly nor handle the classroom well, but my moral prevents me from cheating. Yes, the world is sad sometimes, so quit complaining and contribute something positive to it. It is not okay to add bad things, like cheating or complaining to the already messed-up world. See?

Got a boo-boo? Get a band-aid.

And so the author's friends are behind her. If they are good friends, they probably should help her develop. And oh, people, stop asking me to vote!

TheAuthor said...
on Dec. 16 2008 at 2:29 pm
"What if..." Those are the words that I begin this poem with. It doesn't imply that I want to personally break away. It is saying that yes, there are things to be dealt with to the point where the feeling of breaking away can overwhelm me. But I fight that feeling. Look at the last lines that I wrote. Then tell me that I want to break away. This whole poem is to bring attention to people. Since when did this become a personal poem? This was written with my future in mind. With everybody's future in mind. No I do not censor comments. I accept all, good and bad, negative and positive. I would never silence anybody. Your comment might have just not gone through. Haha, being cynical is a waste of time. Being pessimistic is another waste of time. I trust people and I am not negative, you can ask all the people that know me. I love life. I want to keep the world in one piece for generations to come though. That is why I wrote this poem, in the hope that future generations will see a world of unity, not separation.

Justin said...
on Dec. 16 2008 at 5:35 am
My mummy said that she doesn't want me to hang out with someone like Victoria/Vicky. She said that she does not want me to get the idea to break away this "repulsive place where having a brown skin is like being a terrorist." She told me to prove it to this sad world that my brown skin means that I am beautiful, hard-working and honest. "No cheating," she said, "and change your world to the betterment".

Ming X said...
on Dec. 16 2008 at 4:51 am
First, the author said that the world is so ugly, so do not blame her for CHEATING her way out. Argh! What a character.

Victoria, when you find the nirvana-like world, which you might as well never, take us all with you there. Just NO CHEATING...

Or better yet, let's better our existing world by saving it, not abandoning it.

Deng said...
on Dec. 16 2008 at 4:45 am
Ah there Maxie, the author said exactly, "So/Don't blame me for breaking away/ Where there is a place hatred won't go anyway." So it is NOT a what if question; she wants to break away.

I was just wondering, where is this utopian place where everything is upsy daisy? Heaven? Other planet? Where? I acknowledge that the world can be ugly, but there is no other place that can satisfy her utopian wishes. She just said she wants to break away to that place. This is exactly why I think she gives up and becomes a pessimist much.

Change your world or at least how you see your world, that is more like it.

Fizzy said...
on Dec. 15 2008 at 9:06 pm
Hey folks - does this peom actually imply any *actual* plans to "break away from society"? The version I got on my screen right here starts out with a well-placed "What if...", so the author (Victoria or Vicky, to not be all too impersonal) is just making us listen up. You know how everybody is listening up when something like "ending", "breaking away", or other (most likely violent) ways of "change" is mentioned.

I think this is very good rhetorics.

I don't understand this at all as a statement of surrender / capitulation, but as a quite clear appeal to *not* do so - We shall take in our hands all the courage we can provide with our minds, and make the world, this world, our world "what we want to live in".

Again: One doesn't have to be of the same opinion as the author, and there is probably one way to express this for every single writer. This is not the way I'd have put it, and still I can say (and honestly say): Great work, you absolutely hit the core.

5 / 5 from Maxie.


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