Olivia Melodia

The Real World

When will you come back to the Real World, they ask

And what will you do when you do?

The American way they nod Yes

Up and down up and down in understanding

Of this “Real World” they address.

As if the Real World is a thing outside of em-tee-vee,

Wants to say the millennial

Raised on Tila Tequila and metaphysics.

As if the Real World is a bubble where you learn how to Get By,

Soaped up with so much money

Too much money

Don’t know what to do with the money

They build the birds a home not the students.

No one learns to fly.

When will you come back to the Real World, they ask

And don’t you feel behind?

Behind on the body count of serotonin

Killed by micro-fracture and macro-transaction,

Behind on ten-dollar wages and twelve-dollar lunches

Behind on social-scaling up the side of the World Trade Center

Or down the back of Le Bain,

Waiting in line for lines.

Or waiting on line, whatever it is We say.

I don’t know how you do it, they say

And Only You could do it.

Only You could live in a place where

The sky is split open by sunlight not skyscrapers,

Pierced with the white peaks of Pirin

And the great white finger of

Your grandmother’s God.

I don’t know how you do it, how you

Dine with old friends turned strangers

Turned friends again by the mere oddity of Being an American Here,

How you listen to the husband’s well-rehearsed speech on why

His garage wine is the best garage wine.

It must be so hard, they say.

It is unreal but also awful,

All so awful, they say

To be floating far from Home.

As if you cannot be grounded in ground that did not grow you,

As if songs without symmetry seldom make a sound,

As if forbidden toes dipped in sacred lakes make no ripple

If a tourist never tells,

If the toes do not point West,

If the heels don’t click for Home.

Olivia Melodia is currently an English Teaching Assistant and BEST coach in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. She is aggressively proud of being from New Jersey and refuses to identify as a New Yorker, despite years of speed-walking and living in Midtown. Olivia attended Hamilton College and studied Philosophy, Hispanic Studies, and theatre.


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