Pride wants to paint these nasty band shelves
Even with the leaves and cobwebs inside
Even with its maroon paint chipped and scratched
And peeling like rust from a bicycle chain
Because we're giving them another coat
Metallic gray sheen
as if a brand new car had just entered the lot
Fresh-painted shelves mean fresh beginnings.
is wiping the dust out of cubbies.
is reaching a hand into one of them,
Is praying that nothing tries to bite back,
like a spider or a beetle or
"Is that a little screw?”
“A mini forest?”
“Why this look like old, wrinkled skin?"
Quotes brought to you by Disgust,
featuring a question from Confusion:
"Where in band have these beginning kids been?"
But, Joy is slabbing paint onto peeling shelves.
A misplaced stroke on an arm summons Laughter.
It squeaks when a paintbrush strikes a poor boy’s head.
Always knew that boy was friends with Stress,
But who knew his sides would be graying so soon?
Weary makes the body take a break.
Curiosity and Boredom watch the paint dry off.
Frustration glares at cramped hands.
Will it be worth it in the end?
"Probably not," says Pessimism.
For shelves scratch up and paint peels again
as the cobwebs reform and the forests regrow.
But, Optimism smiles at the memories.
We see good times in those gray streaks.
We laughed, cried, and fought to make those.
Pride wanted to paint those nasty band shelves.
And someone else will have a fresh start
when the shelves become all nasty again.
And we will be gone from the place we call
before the shelves ever start to peel again.
Now, Pride wants to be a perfectionist.
"Do the cubbies look like they need a second coat?"
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.