WHEN I GROW UP, by Jessamine O Connor


When I grow up I want to be nobody.
I want to say all the same things as the people around me.
I want to believe whatever everyone else believes,
and be happy enough with the way things are,
however they are.

When I grow up I want to be fashionable.
I want to throw away my clothes every season
and wear what’s new.
I don’t want to think about who makes the clothes, or how young, or exhausted,
or mistreated they are, I want to be cool.

I want to upgrade my phone just when I get used to it,
want to drive a new car, or at least have a new number plate.
I do not want to look like some weirdo in an old banger, wringing her hands
about aluminium mines and the oil industry,
I want to just drive.

When I grow up I will not age.
I want to own shelves and shelves of cosmetics, all tried and tested on rabbits
and pigs, just so I’m sure it will work on me.
I’ll hide behind a skin-toned wall and paint on the mask, whatever way’s the way at the time,
so no one would know I was somebody different, I want to be them.

When I grow up I want a house you could eat your dinner off.
The kind you walk straight out of and no one would know you’d ever lived there.
I don’t want any books on the walls, blocking my annual catalogue paint-job,
and I’ll be so busy tidying I won’t notice
the day passing, or the years.

When I grow up I want to be married to someone presentable.
I want to wear a diamond ring, and be proud of those children
who waded in mud twelve hours a day mining,
and dug with huge shovels, in blood and gunshots,
just to make my ring possible.

When I grow up I want to go to McDonalds, or KFC, or wherever.
I don’t want to be a bleeding heart
animal lover
tree-hugging nutter.
I want to eat shit.

When I grow up I want to sit on the fence.
I’ll never argue or make a scene,
I won’t be protesting warplanes or boycotting Israel, that stuff is for loonies
who still think little children are worth more than money!
I won’t complain.

When I grow up I won’t think about things too much.
I will look blank if anyone tries making me care.
I will not be drawn
into some emotional reaction over the Earth,
I will be detached.

When I grow up I want to understand
why the economy is more important than water,
why fracking companies can tell all those lies.
But I want to believe them,
and when I grow up they will be right.

I want to live a long life with no scandals.
I want people to say over my grave that I was decent,
never made any trouble or a show of myself, that I kept things nice.
I want them to walk away talking about something else already.
I want to fade from memory, to have made no waves.

I want to be nobody. Nobody special.