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The Grandest Show in the World

by Grant Sowels

Poetry Winner, VSU Student Writing Contest 2019

Step right up to the grandest show on the planet! You’ve seen imitators, duplicators, replicators, and even originators, but now it’s time to sit back and partake in the culmination of centuries of our meticulous planning.

First up we have Brandon, the 21 year old tightrope walker from South Side Chicago, Illinois. Look at him balance his failing academic career and his less than desirable family life. It’s not easy getting a 2.0 when your whole family is either bagging or selling 3.5s. Let’s give him some bills and social obligations to juggle while he’s up there shall we? Brilliant isn’t he? Alright cut the rope now guys, we can’t have him actually make it. Aw, so close Brandon. There’s always public housing.

Next we have 19 year old Janiyah, the beast tamer from Uptown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bring out the fuckboys, catcallers, and workplace perverts. Uh oh, with that leotard she has on, I wonder how she’s going to fare! Amazing, watch how she lacks interest, but presents it in a respectful manner while managing to have a life that does not depend on men! What’s this, it seems like her supervisor isn’t getting the message to heel and the desperate whip crack of “No” doesn’t seem to be getting the job done. Bad luck Janiyah, hopefully fortune serves you better in nine months. There’s always affordable care.

Lastly we have none other than David, the fearless 24 year old from Southeast Washington D.C. Today, we see the infamous David and his bike Hope attempt to ride the loops of passive aggressive racism, jump through the flaming hoops of overexertion, and finally perform the impossible and clear the abyss of social expectations. Here he goes; smiling at his coworkers and saying good morning all while the frigidness of icy stares and daggers of envy encompass him. Incredible, he provides for his children, is a loving husband, and is active in his community. What’s going on, he should be burned to a crisp by now. Fix it, now! Alright folks, the grand finale! He’s revving his engines to make the final jump and gives Hope one final last rub for good measure. And he’s airborne! Look at the deadbeats, killers, and drug dealers beneath him. He looks like he can do it ladies and gentlemen, and he does! Congratulations David, how do you feel? Oh dear you don’t look so well. Fret not boys and girls, he simply is suffering from PTSD, post-triumphant stress disorder. He’s just not built to handle the burdens of success. He will be just fine once he is around what is familiar. Put him in the pit with all the rest. Don’t worry David, there’s always next lifetime.

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