Study, son. (A Poem)

I've always been a big fan of trying out different styles of writing, as a means of expanding my horizons as a writer. I've written short little pieces, most of which I will never share, to try out ideas or new styles. Some of them work, some of them don't, but I'm trying to be more transparent about my process in the hopes that I might share something that helps get someone else over the hump creatively at some point.

The Poem below stems from a recent conversation with my son about school, and I thought he raised a few valid points (The dialog below isn't his, but it's written in a spirit I think we can all identify with). I laid in bed a day or two ago, and realized that the apathy of the youth towards education really has justifiable roots in reality. It's a conversation that we seem to have repeatedly, from one generation to the next, but things keep going downhill. I realized that the reason everyone talks about their childhood like "The good ol' days", isn't just that they had fewer cares and more fun, it's that society has actually has been worsening for generations, and each successive generation really DOES have it worse than their parents did. I'm not talking about hard work. The kids today have less of an idea of what hard work is, at least in a manual labor context, than what we do or our parents before us. 

I'm more interested in the WHY behind that. Evolution is a slow process, so I'm more inclined to think the reasons are societal as opposed to genetic. We aren't really teaching each generation to be lazy (well, some must be), but I'm of the mind that each generation has seen things come to pass like the loss of retirement savings after working for all of your life, having your job outsourced to cheaper labor elsewhere, etc, as a far more damning reason as to why the youth of america just don't want to work like they used to. Though it's not always the case (I happen to be lucky enough to work at a company that is much better than most in this regard, though I've had plenty of shitty ones in the past), by and large companies don't take care of people like they used to. They haven't show their workers as much loyalty as in the past, and the younger generation sees this, and causally, doesn't see the benefit to working a full time job for 40 years and think it will be enough for them.

Once I made that connection in my head (yes, this sort of stuff is in my head at one in the morning when I can't sleep), I decided to try it out as a "spoken word" free form poem, which I've pasted below. Let me know what you think?

Study, son.
By: Christopher Godsoe

"But school is boring, dad! "
You say like we haven't all been there
"My teacher hates me, he wants me to fail"
Well, the world hates everyone,
Bob and weave, stick and move

"I don't need to be rich to be happy"
True enough, at least it used to be
The world has lost its middle
Pass by the skin of your teeth?
If I can pay my rent, I'm still free, right?

Can the world really hate me?
It just don't give a shit
It cares what you do with a gift,
Not that you have it.

Think biology is tough?
Try customer service
Where you get to say/think,
"Thank you sir/kiss my ass"
At least three times before lunch. Everyday.

Watch the clock tick by
Sixty seconds closer to freedom
Flip that burger, answer a phone
And try to keep your shit together

Unemployment is at 10%
Welfare abusers making out like bandits
A hand out, a hand up
What's the difference?
When the ladder has been pulled up

Why work so hard?
A voice inside you
Your fathers
It worked for him, it will work for you
But the world ain't flat anymore

You know that hill you walked to school?
Uphill both ways, in the snow?
That's what opportunity looks like now in
America. Life,  liberty,  
and the pursuit of the Almighty dollar

People don't take care of each other anymore.
"Gee, you work real hard...
That's why I need you right where you are
Just keep up the good work,
but no raise. We need all hands on deck."

Yeah, the minimum wage went up once
I remember that week
The price of bread and milk doubled
Paint over the mold,
But don't fix the leak

Break your back for a pension
For an honest life's work
Maybe it will even be there
If you get lucky and retire
On a year of made quotas

They say the youth don't want to work for a living
That may be true, but do you think maybe
They've just seen their parents
Get robbed of their keep once or twice
And they've decided not to play that game

Minimum wage,
Minimum respect
Remember that movie
where the burger cook owned a house? 
Wouldn't that be nice

A shitty job is like the time out chair
Except the time out doesn't end
You get to see all the fun
everyone else is having
While you live with consequence

So study,  do your homework
Show us all what got
Discover what you love and do it
And I hope never understand
Just what the hell I'm talking about

Do I have a good job?
Yeah, I do 
But that kind of luck is drying up
They don't trust regular people to make decisions anymore
And they won't pay you a livable wage to push a button

So does a Dean's list certificate
Mean you've got it made? 
Have you not been listening?
They hand those out with flash cards now
I said THINK

They'll test you, and test you
To make sure 
you're a good little robot
So don't complain to your teachers
They're in the same Titanic you are

Study, son. But know
That not everything you need
Is in the manuals they will give you
They ripped out the chapters on free will
and buried them. Because digging is hard work

Open your eyes up and listen
open your ears and see
Always make up your own damn mind 
You're either buying the life you want
Or you're being sold something else

Don't be afraid to fail
there's still respect to be found
for those willing to make a wrong choice
for the right reasons. But pay attention,
and don't make the same mistake twice

What's true in you, is true
Trust your gut, learn all that you can
Make choices and don't look down
That round world you're on, the one that turns?
Means tomorrow you get another chance

If I've taught you to take more
than what someone is willing to give
Than I've taught you enough
But learn more than I have to teach you
Study, son.