My history prof says I’m doing too much, but somehow that’s still not enough for me. I’m planning on double majoring, double minoring. Holding up an internship over the summer. Becoming an English tutor on campus.
Anything to compensate for the fact that I wound up at a state school. Anything to confirm that I’m not a failure.

[asphalt]

Words roll off tongues like pebbles I kicked across infinite stretches of pavement when I was little. Your words chisel across the wet asphalt of my mind and all I can comprehend is the way you mispronounce each bounce– I want to tell you– but a lack of velocity has strung my tongue into the absence of physics behind my teeth.

Words are my big obsession, words roll off tongues like pebbles, obsessions roll off tongues like disregarded Home Depot specks of rock, you grimace and transform it into a Guy Fawkes grin, eschew the faintest good, good….. good, and somehow with each looping of that monosyllabic phrase, it breaks down into two… good-uh… good-uh, and physics still strains my asphalt from doing a damn thing about it.

Thoughts consume me too much and thus I abandoned hope in thinking, my dependence is on the vocalization of physics, the aerodynamics of voices, the velocity of diction, the gravity of your imperfection; it doesn’t quite strike me when you say we live animalistically– that your sister, although forbidden from telling too much over international phone service, says we people are vile beings– nothing permeates my blank slate.

This country is not-eh good-uh anymore, the frail phrase plummets from her Revelon-smeared gates to the gas pedal she rests her Dr. Scholls sandal on.

It’s good. Not good-uh, I say.

They’ve ruined-eh you, she dribbles.

Who?

Them, she flicks the word as it rebounds off the ever-changing windows. You were different before you left-uh. The phrase shakes unsteadily, awkwardly, filling the vacancy of the van.

Words are my big obsession, and the cruel song you sing me is vocalized all wrong. I focus on the r’s she trills, the unsettling pauses where they didn’t belong, the disregarding of silence where it would otherwise be necessary…

They’re all like animals there, you should have just stayed close to home

No

But they’re just like-uh animals every-uh-where, that’s why they hate Americans.

The sentence cascades over my head in segments as the van draws to a halt downtown.