recycling :: nate marshall
it’s your 1st year of college & you should be missing
home by now but mostly you don’t. you read the
Chicago newspapers & call family on Sundays.
you pick up going to church at a place adjacent to the projects.
you’re not from the projects & the ones in Chicago seem worse
but there’s comfort in being around plainspoken folk.
the church folk feed you & also cook you food.
you take African American studies classes & sleep
through Spanish & write poems at night. you
read the newspaper. you consider pledging a fraternity.
you go to parties to watch people. you don’t miss home.
you call your ex girl a lot. you imagine her face across
the phone line. you stare at the scar
on her chin. it is shiny & smooth. you read
the newspaper. you text new girls mostly. you invite
them to play cards & bet clothes or take them to dinner
on your birthday so you don’t spend it alone
or you share their extra-long twin beds or you just text them.
it’s your 1st year of college & your nephew is tiny
& your niece is young enough to be happy & the world
is new & you are not going home for Thanksgiving.
you are in the South at a new friend’s house.
you go to church with his family & to his old high school’s
basketball game & to his malls & to his grandmother’s house.
you did not make your team past 9th grade & never went to malls
much. your grandmother had been dead for 2 years now.
you read the newspaper. his family are nice people.
you do not miss home. you go back to school. you stop talking
to your ex girl. she has a new guy. you do not miss home.
you write poems. you read the newspaper. there are still more
kids dying. your 1st year of college & you should be missing
but you’re still here. you write papers about black people
& voting & violence & families & that is the same
paper. you don’t read the newspaper. you have finals to finish.
you go to church on Sunday with your new friend & you
talk to new girls & consider pledging. you have heard
the fraternities will haze you. you have heard about beating
but you are not from the projects & you are not in Chicago.
you stop reading the newspaper. you decide to kiss a girl
& mean it. you decide to pledge a fraternity. you should
have more information about the newspaper. & the girl.
& the fraternity. you should call home more. you don’t
read the newspapers or call. you are not from the projects or
Chicago. you do not miss home. or your ex girl.
or your newspaper. there are still more kids dying. you
convince your new friend to pledge the fraternity.
he worries about the hazing, the beatings.
you tell him this is an opportunity. don’t miss it.