Couth is Wasted on the Young

The children
are required to read
for twenty minutes
so I have roughly half that time
to write.
It is like I
am Tillie Olsen,
if Tillie Olsen had a job
for three hours a day
and was not required
by her culture and her gender
to be the servant
of everyone else in her family.

It could be worse.
I could have to work four hours
or four and a half
and these kids could be less entertaining
or more defiant
but the struggle
to be a great artist
against the constricts
of the world around me
is quite real.

I feel your pain, Tillie Olsen
and Maya Angelou
and Juan Valdez
and Humpty Hump.
I sing the praises
of those great artists before me
on whose shoulder I stride
growing larger
more immense in talent every day
while the friggin’ youths
I am paid to care for
read in blessed silence.

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