Third in the series.  This poem came about as an exercise in a high-school English class (taught by Craig Mathews), as an exercise in highly compact poetry.  (Reference: Death of the Ball Turret Gunner)  The timing of the exercise coincided with filling out forms for college entry.  I don’t expect everyone to like this poem, since it’s decidedly…opinionated.  I maintain my opinion that it’s basically correct, though.



Functionally, the color of a notebook doesn’t matter.

Tan covers, though heavy,

Are aesthetically pleasing.

But when I carry them, I sunburn easily.

4 thoughts on “FAFSA

  1. Sometimes I don’t get poetry. This is one of those times. Though this poem seems to be saying something profound, I’m not getting the message. What do tan folders have to do with the accursed FAFSA forms, how do they cause sunburn, and how are they expressing your opinions? Sigh, I guess I just don’t have a subtle mind for deciphering hidden meanings in many forms of art. I need my poetry to be more transparent. Even so, I’ve always loved the passion I can tell is behind all of your works.

    • Spoilers ahead…

      I understand that it’s not easy to understand; this was an experiment in “linguistic density.” (There’s probably a more “proper” term for it.) Fair warning: this poem is intended to be “politically incorrect,” but not “racist” or any such, and will doubtlessly offend someone without meaning to. The poem analysis (for the writer, at least; each reader has license, here) is as follows:

      -The title is a clue to the meaning of the poem.
      -A notebook represents a person; its contents represent that person’s ideas and academic merit.
      -The color of a notebook is analogous to the “racial” (I find the term misleading on the grounds of biological similitude) background of the person in question.
      -Tan covers represent the ethnic backgrounds of those with darker skin. They’re “heavy” because such people tend to have a difficult time of things in many areas of life. They’re “aesthetically pleasing” for several reasons:
      1) In our current political climate (as when I wrote it in 2000), it’s considered socially, politically, and governmentally “proper” (for normal people, not politicians, so much) to have dark skin. It’s grants a large amount of “social capital.” (See Wikipedia about the latter.)
      2) Colleges, scholarship foundations, grant foundations, etc. are all quite (unreasonably) keen to help people with the “right” skin color and ethnic background.
      3) Again, on the topic of social capital, “ethnic” people (another stupid-but-common term) are more often considered “cool” (by various words and definitions), whereas white people are generally considered “less cool.” Nearly any white kid growing up in Southern California can tell you all about this, I suspect. This is a complex topic, so I’ll just leave it at that, for now.
      -When I carry the same merits as a more “ethnic” individual, my skin color (and ethnic background, etc.) do not allow me the same privileges as a “colored” person (another stupid term; few on this topic aren’t, as I see it) is given. Ultimately, it’s easier to get college funding as a black, Hispanic, etc. person than it is as a white person–and as the latter filling out forms for funding in 2000, I found this entirely unacceptable on the grounds of non-meritorious favoritism.

      I hope this clears it up for those interested, and doesn’t give the mistaken impression that I’m interested in racial conflict on this blog. Have a good one.

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