Big Man

I don’t consider myself a poet. I’m more of a prose person, you see. I don’t know very much about the correct form of a poem, or about metrics and stanzas. I’ve never taken a class on poetry, though I hope to someday. I don’t even know what constitutes a poem as “good” or not.

What I do know, however, is that throughout my time at U of M, I’ve begun to enjoy reading and writing poetry. They’re more for myself, if anything, but I’ve started to fall into the habit of writing when stressed. Prose, poems, you name it. My lack of experience with the art form has caused me to be hesitant in sharing it. Without doing so, however, I’ll never receive the constructive feedback needed to grow; as such, I’ve started to share some of my poetry with my loved ones. With their encouragement, I finally have the courage to share something poem-like. As such, here I am, risking possible embarrassment and an inundation of angry comments.

Now, a little background information: I love my university, but coming here was a real shock. It’s not a secret that the University of Michigan has a wealthy student body; however, sometimes I wonder where the economic diversity and my fellow middle class (I guess lower middle class, by U of M standards) people are. Please note the VAST majority of people here, regardless of background, are very nice, polite people. But once in awhile, being at this university makes me wonder what causes students to treat others differently simply because of economic differences. You’re wealthy? I’m happy for you! Do you have airpods? Great! Live your life how you would like! These topics, while somewhat mentioned within the text below, are not the point; please know I’m not judging them, nor the people who those apply to.  Written during a frenzied two-hour span after work one day, this poem focuses on entitlement. Without further ado, I present the rant-like poem called “Big Man”.

 

Big Man

You donned air pods and a Canada Goose jacket

I guess you were ready to start up a racquet

Your wealth and goods were not the problem, you see

But rather the way you treat people like me

 

Did it make you feel good, Mister Big Man?

When you whispered to the guys in your clan

You spoke softly enough to not draw attention

But loudly enough for me to hear the mention

 

Where is your dignity? you asked

Your arrogance and scorn unmasked

Why would anyone work in a fast food place?

Oh, if you saw the expression on my face

 

At the table you left a huge mess

We should really clean up, one guy stressed

That’s their job, you snarkily replied

Your words insulting and utterly snide

 

You looked at me with disgust and laughed with your friends

I wondered why you couldn’t have just made amends

I guess you believed that you were superior

But the working class is far from inferior

 

That was the first of many meets

Whether in class or on the streets

Did you ever stop and truly see me, Big Man?

Not for what I can’t do, but for who I am?

 

I sat behind you and your friends in class one day

Sometimes I still can’t believe the things that you say

You boasted about the answers you stole

Had paid for and copied by the whole

 

You talked about your experiences in school

Explained how your parents had raised no fool

For they provided you with the best tutors and classes

Connections and opportunities by the masses

 

When you bragged about all your A’s and test scores

Did you realize how your resources opened doors?

I’m not neglecting your accomplishments, Big Man

But some other students just can’t have the same plan

 

I saw you again at my second job

This time without your buddies or friend mob

You came to pick up a package or two

But your orders were far from just a few

 

In the following weeks you ordered countless things

Hundreds of luxuries fit for dozens of kings

So many goods you’d forget what you purchased

And yet your impatience still frequently surfaced

 

Your suit was more important than her book

You would groan at the line with just one look

You wanted your name written across banners

But Daddy’s money couldn’t buy you manners

 

You admonished your peers for working

While you would judge them ever lurking

Nights where you got too drunk and blacked out

Featured students at jobs out and about

 

College admittance is one battle in the war of a lifetime

Believe it or not Mister Big Man, some students live dime by dime

With lower graduation rates and financial strain

For some students, studying is not the only pain

 

There are barriers for your peers of low-income

But to you those students will always be scum

All I am asking is a simple plea

Listen to me, hear me, can you see me?

 

There are plenty of privileged people, Big Man

The problem is not just that, do you understand?

It’s the entitlement, the sense of supremacy

The contempt and ignorance that become your legacy

 

I’m glad your parents support your education, Big Man

But the reality is that not everyone’s parents can

It’s not a bad thing to be privileged or “the best”

But it can be when others are actively oppressed

 

As such, this is my last message for you

Fix your attitude, be aware, be true

Treat others with kindness and use your influence

To stop the poverty cycle’s continuance

Elizabeth Schriner

Hello! I'm a sophomore who enjoys writing about drama, creative fiction, and arts events happening in Ann Arbor. I also enjoy writing about topics related to culture and current events. Enjoy!

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2 Comments on "Big Man"


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4 months 28 days ago

Wow, this poetry is amazing, thank you for sharing. I don’t find myself to be much of a poet, and usually I’m not very impressed with poetry in general, but this really resonated with me. The style and voice were just as powerful as the message and I can’t wait to read more poetry from you in the future!