A young boy wakes up to loud honking and cursing,
Gets up from the ground and tosses aside curtains,
Roaches flee and rats hide as the light comes in bursting,
Blind to the sight until he puts on his lens,
Smoggy, gray sky of Los Angeles, a new beginning,
Father told me to work hard, like the men in Mercedes-Benz,
Maybe he can finally fix the cracks in the ceiling.
Young man studies hard, just as he should be.
Study, mature, study, grow, you will be up there with time,
The men in fancy suits who seem so carefree,
A nice home with no roaches, oh how sublime.
Remember, young man, as a boy, one day you thought to see,
The world and Los Angeles do not care for thee.
Fancy suited men in Benz watch, an exhibit of poverty, speed away in a dime,
Believing all the brown boys could not speak, especially rhyme.
Who cares, who cares, if no one cares.
He will continue forward, with all the stares.
Because of the thousands and thousands of kids in his place,
He will not fail Father, the future he cannot face.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to particularly write about, so I simply dived into describing the environment in which me and my friends grew up. I initially planned to just delete all of it and restart because I had felt that I had not described Los Angeles, when it took me a moment to realize this was the very situation for many other people of the area. This is not a poem about just a life, ultimately it is about the unfortunate setting for many others, friends, acquaintances and myself included. I’m not attacking anyone upfront, unlike the Percy Shelley original, but I do feel I represent this conflict between an abusive noble class and a poor class emerging from Los Angeles, in a different position from that of England. In England, Percy Shelley angrily pointed his finger at the king and nobility, and yet here in Los Angeles many parents idealize the people that shame and ignore the poor’s existence: the upper class. The upper class still maintains a superior rendition of themselves, keeping away from the sites of poverty, imagery they wish to pretend is non-existent. Though not directly attacking them, I do feel like I criticize the system, just not in the urgent and rather explosive environment Shelley seems to describe. I feel like a slower pace, a less direct criticism, is more suitable, especially in an age where instead of wanting to overthrow nobility, many families would prefer to be up there too. I believe the center of the problem is not so much in directly trashing the upper class, but rather establishing and depicting the relationship between the two: this depiction aims to thus be more modern. Apart from that, I kept the ABABAB CDCD CCDD scheme with an extra portion of EEFF, the criticism of the upper class, and the depiction of a suffering lower class.