You see, they taught me that to escape
was a sign of weakness.
Tough it out, bear it,
deal with it.
Don’t be a wimp.
But some contracts are signed too quickly
and the fine print reveals
conditions too onerous,
designed to beat down the spirit,
to enslave and stamp out inner fires.
And sometimes someone else signs for you.
Our civilization is like that,
rolling over entire cultures
with this crushing domination.
Schools were designed to wipe that smile
right off your face,
to make you sit without squirming,
to move you with bells
and fierce, loveless admonitions.
Rewarding you for fulfilling
the contract that makes you a good little citizen.
Look for the loophole!
Find the narrow window and squeeze through!
Pick the lock!
And then double back and help the others
who have been squeezed like lemons:
dried up, hopeless rinds.
Bring them water.
Give them the silent space
to find their strength
away from the bells, the little desks,
the rewards for knowing false things
and the punishment for being real.