Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
The first letter of the alphabet, scrawled
in ink the color of the blood
you might as well have spilled
in the struggle to attain that grade.
Those all-so-important numbers staring back at you
from a computer screen, eighteen days after
you sat down in a nondescript high school classroom,
having woken for battle before the dawn,
clutching a number two pencil and calculator
like you did your stuffed panda when you were five.
That email that had you refreshing your inbox
every free moment you got on December 15, or April 1.
It used to be you could know
whether or not you were worthy,
whether or not you were wanted,
just from the weight of the envelope
the mailman just dropped in your mailbox,
unaware that it was not just another bill,
but the final arbiter of your destiny.
Was it thick like the information packets
that crowded the mailman's satchel
like pigeons crowd the blind old man tossing
breadcrumbs onto the street,
or thin like a card from Grandma,
the only person whose opinion of you won't change,
no matter what is in the envelope?
Nowadays you have to wait
for the message to load, trembling
in anticipation, like an impetuous groom
on his wedding morning,
and scan the first line
and therein find the answer to the question
they say will hound you forever, determining
what people think of you, who you're friends with,
where you live, what you do everyday from nine till five:
And where did you go to school?