Schoolhouse Rap

June 13, 2017

(can be rapped or read like poetry)
They said being good at math and English was necessity
Trained for more than half each year to work in a factory
Perfect and precise, learn to be devoid of human error
But sometimes when you’re young, growing up is a terror.

Marked by a letter, a name for product quality
Made to sit inside while the day out there is sunny
A+, B-, expectations for us to meet
For consumption into the world, hence grade A of meat.

Learn your history, don’t repeat its mistakes
Do your French instead of painting lakes
Set your eyes down on your own paper
Don’t chat with others to become an idea maker.

Sure, I could be wrong about this
But it seems to me that we built all of this
Whole world around not simplicity
But complicated irony.

Start us young, keep us in line
And ‘our’ futures will be fine
You tell me mine is bright, I shouldn’t look back
But when I look forward all I see is black.

More years of sitting still at desks and offices
First homework to do and then taxes
I can’t be free anymore, I have a family to care for
No more hobbies, no time, when all I want to do is more.
I want to run, but only for so many years
I’ll get old and from the pain in my knees ill cry tears
I want to write, but not every book’s a bestseller
Where are all those paper bills I asked for?
You can’t live only on dreams anymore
Just papers that are greener
Than the sparse grass that might grow in the next hundred years.

To pay your rent, keep a roof over your head
How can I do that when I can barely buy bread
With the shreds of my lost dreams?
I can’t stitch my life back together at the seams.

So, you’ll get to work on time, same routine every day
And when you have them, you’ll tell your older children not to play
That they must work and slave for little paper bills
And warn them many times to stay from pills.

To make life happier, take the powder, take the drug
It’s easy to keep a secret, just sweep it under the rug
Until you feel ok about your drive-thru job
The one that replaced your dreams of writing a heart-throb.

Because you ignored your homework, sat for hours just thinking
You could figure out anything if you wanted, but you still weren’t studying
Because you didn’t want to, acting didn’t require much math
But the detention room led you down the wrong path.

That you were worthless without the first letter, A,
Marking your brain and determining your day
If you got the right grade on that test
They don’t care if you can’t rest.

Plan your future out, schedule perfect as can be
So many years of this or that before retirement sets you free
From the desk, the cold grey room
But when you do, you’ll go home in the gloom

Of old age, golden age, but everything is rusted
Brown and orange from all the rotting dreams you thought you trusted
Remember ‘my’ future back there?
It was never mine. Always influenced by the kind of people who don’t like mine
The dreamers, the writers, the actors, where’s your math?
You know I can learn enough history without getting an A on that

Test, the tests, the endless assessments
Determining our teachers pay and what we might do for the rest of our days
We all have off days, right? Its ok to need a break before you break
But why would I focus on conjugations when that snake
That has always been out for me and disliked my dreams
Is staring at me hard pulling at my seams

This is the test they gave me, they’re the won to assess
Don’t we all meet people we don’t like and who won’t like us at our best?
But you can get over them, ignore what they say
Don’t ever let them ruin your day
When you’ve just walked out of the college guidance office
And you know that that one test right after a friend died
The one they gave you, the one they assessed
Is the one that made your GPA drop and miss
Because you were grieving, your brain wasn’t working
The way they want it to on a test
You knew the material, but had to rest
Your tense hand and reach to brush away the tears
Remembering the person you grew up with through the years

So the falling watery memories drifting down your cheeks
Don’t touch the paper, smudge the words
Asking for the scientific names of birds.
Names you’ll never say again, never call
Because you don’t want to work that shift.
You still have a choice to control and plan
But because you were grieving and having a bad day
Your mind kept the names locked away
And your science grade dropped
And everything fell
Because your teacher felt they needed to tell
You to read the numbers on the front page
and not even ask how you were doing, what was going through head
just why your handwriting looked like your hand was weighed down with lead
and accusing you of not studying
when you had the best study strategy, preparing for weeks
for any surprises so you won’t miss

The small, off by one point requirement of this or that college
That could help you be happy and achieve what you will
But instead they sat there and wouldn’t acknowledge
That your dream was different from theirs, needing a different skill
Set of kills you can add to your list on the hunt for a job
Of acting, or painting, filming or writing that next sob
Story that we can relate to
The one that unites author with fan to cut through
The haze of monotony and meet someone completely new.

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