The problem with people-watching
in the middling suburbs outside Pittsburgh,
is everyone looks like they’re related,
a little too similar, bad photocopies
of the same dull morality.
The girls have similar haircuts
and the boys wear similar shorts.
The men and women,
they cannot stomach the ‘F’ word,
but they adore efficient order
enforced through totalitarian violence.
Chemical air fresheners are pumped
through department store ventilation systems.
Perhaps the compound is designed
to induce complacency for the status quo
and suppress everyone's style
or sense of fashion.
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4 days in the suburbs
everything I utter
has the same cough
there is this thought
stuck in a glass jar.
an image of her eyes
and 25 dollars
can make me run faster
than any automobile
but no one here runs anywhere.
what is that song
I used to listen to —
the one about stillness?
It exists here
on a slow suburban morning.
We climb power lines and play Titanic.
We go to parties, but only for the free food.
We sneak out to people watch at Walmart.
We're the whirlwind couple everyone dreams about.
We're what they don't show in movies.
New York, I won’t come home
Not even if you call
This arcade is on fire
And I laugh and laugh
The blistering cold winters
That took away my soul
In this suburban hell hole
Filled with computerized cynics.
Please don't even call
I won’t pick it up
I never answer the phone anyhow
Why would this be any different?
It surely won’t be.
It surely won’t be.
New York, I won’t come home.
My love for this girl
Oh, it is all I have
To take me away from this hellish hometown
To start somewhere new where constraints won’t fail me
Where the air is a bit warmer
And where people maybe even care, a little bit
All I ask for is a little bit
The ocean is collapsing in on me in this hometown of mine
The ocean is expanding anywhere that isn’t this hometown
This ******* hometown
Maybe all I want is anything but this
Is that good enough?
Will I bloom?
Will the tortured memories of the past drag me down?
**** they migh-
**** my hometown.
At least I had my books
They were never enough
And that was the deepest problem of them all
Only liars will tell you they don’t need anyone
My parents and their love of hating everyone
And their superiority to everyone else in this hometown
But everyone in this suburb thinks they’re better than everyone else
And I suppose that’s the greatest joke of them all
I took a walk on this dark, cold March evening
Along the sidewalks of the neighborhood I barely felt I could recognize
It felt like walking without a thought in my head
It drained my brain instantaneously
All I can think is how I need to get away
The evils of this school break
I don’t want to be cruel
Oh, but I have my lov-
Maybe my thoughts were taken away from me
By those Demons in the Nighttime
Oh, how they took everything I loved
My parents and those selfish causes
Sitting in, an empty room
Searching in, an empty room
Breathing in, an empty room
Taking in, an empty room
Oh how it looks unrecognizable to me these days
And I feel like a stranger in this empty room
In this home that feels empty
With parents who have clearly lost it
And oh how every individual action is judged
In this ******* hometown of mine
By my parents, by the family, by the people
But I had my book-
This boredom will be the death of me
Coming back to this undesirable hometown
Filled with lonely memories and deathly cold winters
Oh, how I wish to never come back here again.
Those high school graduates who will never leave
And stay in their miserable hometown
Nothing to do, nothing to say
Can barely ******* breathe I feel so restrained.
And I will surely never stay here
With its utterly cookie-cutter suburban homes
Its ungodly taxes to pay for nothing to do
And roads with insurmountable potholes
Maybe I’ll be able to breathe again soon
But right now my lungs feel red and raw
My eyes are blinded
By this ******* hometown.
Suburbia greeted me with pale hands in my late teens.
She was a wasteland in a mini skirt; in its’ own right it could be called a Cave with Plato egregiously driving his brand-new Prius 90 miles an hour saying “this is really living as long as you don’t look back” and all you can do is nod your head vigorously because the twisted **** that had settled surreptitiously in your baby lungs was giving you daylight hallucinations. My endeavors didn’t end there when they should have.
There was something uncanny about the way streetlights gave you the eternal glare. Of creating ordinary neighborhood streets appear like you’ve been there before in a dream, in another body. In a dazed stupor the sounds of a television and a light coming from a garage is forgiving in your misguided attempts to be comfortable in a foreign space. It could almost feel like home when your repressed trauma keeps resurfacing while you’re trying to introduce yourself. Almost.
In these polite badlands with everything uniformed the people I met were always trying to stand out from the serene landscapes. Sitting in plaid couches I was giddy playing the nihilist. Rerun episodes of Portlandia playing but all I remember from that smoky room were brown pants that looked extremely crisp to the touch and I wanted to reach out my hands and see if they would crunch under the paperweight of my heavy palms. I didn’t but I’m sure they would’ve emitted the sound of potato chips being eaten in a frenzy.
When I wasn’t walking through dark rooms feeling through what could have been hallways, a family’s living room or the cool gates of hell I was meandering my way through drowsy parties where boys with the names like Dusty and Slaughter were prevalent. Each with their own bizarre story about how they stole their parents’ money one night and took off spontaneously. Driving all the way to Nevada with nothing but half a tank of gas and one pack of cigarettes. You could almost pinpoint their personalities by the type of cigarettes they smoked. Most of them holding different colored American Spirits. Had I been smarter I would have asked for a light and a smoke. Never mind that I was always deadly afraid that I had some undiagnosed lung disease and that asphyxiation was my biggest fear or that I had a pack of Marlboro black menthols in my purse that were over a year old. I found my corner sitting in a worn outdoors chair. The ones where the armrest comes built in with a cupholder. My beer ice cold sitting awkwardly sideways while I tried to consider why the host of the party was wealthy yet so hostile. My favorite party game was the one where I took hit after hit of joints being passed around until I was crazy glued to my chair and my brain started to feel like a lagoon that continued to melt into a Campbell’s soup I once had as a child. Everyone completely unaware of the horror that the house had become to me. Somewhere in the distance I was acutely aware of who I would go home with, why my ventures into the suburbs had sparked my intrigue in the first place. The only reason why I had endured feeling like a spider watching a **** film and why I had lost my virginity just a day before. I was a displaced specimen thinking about her ***** in a room of 30 people or more.
lol my experience with rich suburban kids