The stage is laid out

And the curtains are drawn to reveal

a classroom

The puppeteers take their places above it all and begin pulling their strings

At the end of those strings are students and teachers

And the show begins

The kids all fall in at precarious times like flower petals

They sit in their assigned seats


Structured, yet jagged


Packed in like cattle

Some are scolding hot from the bustling heat bouncing off the many bodies in the room and

Others freezing as the conniving breeze from the puppeteer’s’ whispers crawl up their backs into their ears and encapsulate their thoughts with a well-taught lesson to pay attention

There’s Shivering and wiping of sweat

Yet they wait restlessly for their teachers

Eager to make the minutes go by

And wondering

What are we learning today?

What systematic demands and expectations will be shouted in their ears only to be bounced around like a basketball by their insecurities

A game that never seems to end

But they continue to wait

Heads (start to) turn

Left, right

Then left again

Suddenly with determined speed

The puppet I mean their teacher, tugs her strings

Though the system above them is giving demands

The puppet is determined to keep pulling and fighting

Walks through the door with happiness in her feet

The action ignored by some while others sit inspired

The class starts and words flow out of the puppet’s mouth as if rehearsed thousand times over

Here and now

The kids know to listen, the kids know to follow,

the kids know to not tug at the strings

Or else the first show will end and the puppeteer will start anew without the warm welcome of a puppet

After the first show has ended

And the warm welcomes grow cold

There is nothing more to say


Play by the rules and watch the show

And next time

if you are even given a second chance you will know to


As asked

Because there is

No choice

No option

Just watch



Be interested

In the things placed in front of you

Don’t wonder about things that aren’t

Ask the questions you were taught to ask

Don’t think of ones you were not

Let the formation of your untaught thoughts crumble as if they weren’t building blocks of a question that could start a revolution

Let your curiosity fade away like snow entering spring

Let the thoughts be forced to enter your brain

by the Puppeteers

without your knowledge,

sinking into your heart like a watermark

While they watch you struggle and fight the strings until you fall into an inescapable pit of obedience

Carrying along nothing but the

Empire of “knowledge” that was built behind your eyes.

The next day

The class bell rings

You sit in the seat you were assigned, without resistance

You raise your hand and wait your turn, without resistance

Your fruitless fighting has left you defenseless and weak

The gears of ambition run slow and rigid

You no longer ask questions

once upon a time you were above average

now they’ve convinced you to convince yourself

you’re lucky if you get into a public college

Ivy League is a word from a dictionary you’ve never opened

Spoken from lips that you’ve stopped listening to

You only listen to the puppeteer now

And the Puppeteers are the ones that make

your transcript look like a barcode

Hopefully to be scanned by the highest bidder

So maybe they get their money’s worth

in the long run