Old School (poetry)

by Tapan Sharma

Another day, another dollar in debt
My parents started with nothing. How’d I end up with less?
Used to be the head of the class before the whole scheme collapsed.
Top of the pyramid, no peers amidst me
Now I peer into the mist, appears opportunity must have missed me.
Can’t seem to dig myself out of a dead-end career path
Turns out it’s pretty crowded on the so-called right track
Go-getters, goal-setters, thousand-dollar books in my knapsack,
Every generation wants the next one to break its back
Keep it moving, single file to the diploma mill, now
Do the graduation dance in that dunce cap and gown
I should’ve been the crass clown instead of wearing the class crown
Google “what was my 4.0 for?” Page not found
Trade in your participation certification for a 401K, but in the interim it’s
hard to carpe diem with a car payment due in the AM,
So far in debt, lenders can’t seem to leave me a loan
Feel it in my bones I paid too much in tuition
Now a 9 to 5 is the new 25 to life, death waiting in the wings, coroner in a corner office Postmortem: a deadly cocktail of being broke and boredom
Put us in cubicles and tell us to think outside the box
Incestuous nepotists banking on daddy’s direct deposit
While the rest of us have to make a name for ourselves
Tokens in their broken jukebox playing the same old song
Head down, chin up, do everything you’re supposed to
Put your hands up if you’re down with the old school.