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Totally like whatever, you know?
by Taylor Mali

In case you hadn’t noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you’re talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you’re saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)’s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren’t, like, questions? You know?

Declarative sentences—so-­‐called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true, okay,
as opposed to other things are, like, totally, you know, not—
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don’t think I’m uncool just because I’ve noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It’s like what I’ve heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I’m just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?

What has happened to our conviction?
Where are the limbs out on which we once walked?
Have they been, like, chopped down
with the rest of the rain forest?
Or do we have, like, nothing to say?
Has society become so, like, totally . . .
I mean absolutely . . . You know?
That we’ve just gotten to the point where it’s just, like . . .

And so actually our disarticulation . . . ness
is just a clever sort of . . . thing
to disguise the fact that we’ve become
the most aggressively inarticulate generation
to come along since . . .
you know, a long, long time ago!

I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.

To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too.
This poem is written by Taylor Mali.
I just enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it. Thanks for reading.
I need happiness in my life
because sometimes I am staring holes into my walls.
My mind wanders off.
What a waste.

I need happiness in my life
because there are days that I spent crying for hours.
My eyes turn red.
What a waste.

I need happiness in my life
because I could spent all weekend in bed.
My thoughts stay empty.
What a waste.

Sometimes I truly do feel happy.
Then I am laughing with coworkers,
take my dog for a long walk,
ride my horse,
read books,
But when these days pass
I am wondering about it
question and
doubt it.

What a waste.

I need happiness in my life
because I actually know where to find it.
My heart beats.
What a waste.

I have happiness in my life
because we all do.
My happiness
is my waste,
is my mind,
are my eyes,
are my thoughts
lies in my heart.
Always does,
always will,
always did.

What a waste.
I want to

be childish
eat pizza every day
be stylish
wear sweat pants all day
steal a lollypop
and give it back tomorrow
be happy one day,
the next full of sorrow
learn how to tweet
like the sweetest bird
buy a lama
breed a herd
Cut my hair short
dye it blonde
and black
or blue
don't take a path
just walk through.

jump on my bed
wear my hair down
paint my nails blue
practice a frown
mess up the bath
flood the kitchen
skip lessons of math
kiss my reflection
and marry myself
collect old fairy tales
build a bookshelf
paint my walls green
then purple
then blue
walk backwards
talk funny
and one day
meet you.

I want to meet you
but I want to remain myself.
I want to show you,
my incredible wealth.
The wealth I collected,
while being myself.
And may it just be,
the fairies in the shelf.
I want to meet you,
I want to share
But I want you to treat me right
and want you to care.
Not so much,
just a little,
so I know you are mine.
Make sure we stay you
you and I
and we'll shine.

I want to be childish.
Do you?
I want you to let me go.
Mainly because it makes me sad.
Because I am so lonely,
without you in my bed.

I want you to let me go.
Partly because you made me smile.
Because I hate how much I miss you,
every once in every while.

I want you to let me go.
Mainly because you sent me away.
Because you ended us,
and chose for me this way.

I want you to let me go.
Partly because I still love you.
Because you meant the world to me,
and your word used to be true.

I want you to let me go.
Mainly because you broke my heart.
Because you made this choice,
even though it would hit me hard.

I want you to let me go.
So I can finally find peace.
Because with that I simply could
put my heart and mind at ease.
I knew when I said
I love you
that I was inventing a new alphabet
for a city where no one could read
that I was saying my poems
in an empty theater
and pouring my wine
for those who could not
taste it.
It is by a Syrian poet, Nizar Qabbani.
If I tell you that I love you,
remember what I say.
Remember how I said it.
Remember all the way.

If I tell you that I hate you,
remember how it hurt.
Remember how I said it.
Remember every word.

But remember all the good things,
the laughter that we shared.
Remember what it felt like.
Remember when we cared.

Remember all the bad times,
the tears that we both cried.
Remember what it felt like.
Remember when we died.

If I tell you I remember.
I remember every single day.
If good or bad that does not matter,
cause in my heart each day will stay.

If I tell you I remember,
how it once felt in my heart.
You might feel that you're still with me
and you'll always be a part.
You're in school now.
You're a big girl, you own the world, little princess!
You sit down.
You listen.
You learn.

You just learned how to walk,
learned how to speak your mind,
how to do what's right.

Now they teach you how to sit still,
teach you not to say what you want
how to shut your pretty mouth.

Is this what you came here for?
Is this what it meant when I told you you'd own the world now?

It is not, so much I can tell you.

I want you to tell me what is right or wrong.
I want you to tell me to be quiet and listen.
I want you to encourage others to be just like you.

Be an inspiration,
say what you have to say.

Be respectful,
treat others the way you want to be treated.

Learn to help others,
for you might need their help one day, too.

School is not all about 1+1=2
It's about learning who you are.
Learning what you can do.
What your little hands and your pretty smile
are able to move in this world.

I want you to be protected, safe.
But I have to learn now,
by giving you wings
I gave you the biggest protection I could think of.
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