…Woulda, Didn’t

Kept my mouth shut except to
Make the kind of small talk that is expected
And that greases so many things
Palms of hands that reach out to open doors
And usher those through who apply that oil
Or
Focused on producing papers instead of grading them
Because the comments didn’t get much read
If what came in after is any sign
And it would seem to be
Or
Stayed in school at the one school instead of going to another
Taken advantage of the opportunities I did not know were there
Because I did not pay attention to that kind of thing
Not knowing that I needed to do so
Because who would ever have told me that when
Study hard and get good grades
Was still the rule of the day
Or
Stayed in school at the once school a little longer
As long as I had been expected to, really,
As long as most of the rest of them did
And maybe I would have won things for which
I was in the running
Before I tripped over my own feet
And one or two conveniently stuck out in my path
Amid snickering

I dunno. It’s artistic, or something.
Photo by Kulbir on Pexels.com

Been nicer to that one kid in Kindergarten
Not tried so hard to shove how smart I was down their throats afterward
Tried so hard to get out of being wrong
Read a book instead of looking at a screen
Practiced my horn instead of reading quite all of those books
Gone out and done instead of staying in all those nights
Been working instead of going out with friends
Made friends instead of making grades
Because it isn’t what you know
Because you can always learn something else
But some lessons only get offered once
And I skipped those classes in favor of attending others
More normal
More formal
And a lot of good it did me
If good is measured by creditors’ ledgers
And therapists’ bills

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