It Ain’t Like What Gets Taught Here Matters After

What’s the point of all of this
Sitting in these stifling rooms
Day after day
Learning things our older brothers and sisters learned
Our cousins and their friends
About how the world works
The way things are supposed to be
When it’s clear that
The world doesn’t work that way anymore
If it ever did
Skills that might’ve served once
But’ve been replaced by machines and software
AI putting out paintings and poems
Progressive generation of music
Notes that never could’ve been heard before
All the things they said would make us better people
Given over to machines
While it’s clear we’re being trained as cogs ourselves
Wheels meant to turn and go nowhere
But just feed things through so
Someone else can have them
And be swapped out when we can do no more

Never so clean in real life…
Photo by Pixabay on

Is this really all there is to it all
Making those of us who still might’ve had futures
Something to enjoy
Into the shapes filled by those a few classes ahead
Bullets in chambers to be fired at enemies whose only crimes are
Different colored skin
Different modes of dress
Different prayers lifted up
Or none
Or sitting on something someone else wants
But doesn’t want to pay for
Unless they spend the melted and remade metals
They think we ought to be
Coins cast at some problem or another
‘cause cash is king and they want to show off their crowns

Do they really only want us to fill their bodybags
Graves they make us dig ‘cause they won’t lift a shovel
There’s someone else to do that for them
Of course
Or their pockets with the work they want done
Don’t want to pay to have done
Any more than they can help
‘cause they don’t think they have enough
Even when they have more than they could ever spend
More dollars than days of their lives and ours


It seems that way
Learning the lessons they leave for us to take
Making us machines they can program as they please
So we don’t question
Or if we question
Keep it to ourselves
‘cause the pasts they push forward
Seem short on complaint and long on compliance
I was just following orders
Doing what the boss said I ought to do
A commoner refrain
‘cause if we say anything
We are weak and entitled
Even if we are the ones they want to carry them forward
And their bags of money
Swelling with what has been stolen
And none of us want to look weak in front of the rest
‘cause we know one of the things we’ve been taught to do
Sharks in the sea and wolves in the woods
Is to find the ones in the herd that struggle
And take them out
And it ain’t like most of us keep ourselves from doing it
Rather than letting it be done to us

Of course
You can’t say anything about this
Have to hold the line they give you
So you don’t find yourself out of work
The work you thought you wanted to do
Before you found out what you would have to do
How it keeps changing
Demanding more of you
Offering no more
You’ve got your own kids to feed
Or a cat or something
‘cause we’ve heard the folks your age and older talk about
How nobody can afford it anymore
Who couldn’t already
We listen even when you think we don’t hear you
And want you to be honest even when you can’t

But it ain’t like we’re safe
Is it
Seems like we see it every day
On those screens we supposedly stare at too much
But if the world’s so scary as you say
Why do you blame us for turning away from it
Toward something where we have
Something that seems like control
It ain’t like the screen makes us do another drill
Leaves us in a lockdown

You can’t say anything
But we ain’t caught quite yet
We can still speak up
At least a little
Maybe only here
Maybe only now
But still
And if there’s only the one chance to be heard
Before the echoes fade into the void
Or grinding gears drown them all out
Drown us all out
Or the rat-a-tat-tat of clicking keyboards
Beats out the tattoo of our subsumation
Then let us scream and be heard
Even if it’s disruptive now
‘cause we ain’t going to have the chance again
One way or another
And it ain’t like what gets taught here matters after

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