All right, kids. Class dismissed.
Time to join the working class.
What you learned in class
stays in the classroom. No need
to find the volume of cones
or the inverse of cosine when
you should’ve learned how to cosign,
to bow to bosses and cut your losses.
Know that the classroom
is not where class ends.
That class permeates the atmosphere
like the stench of foul cheese.
That class clings to the walls
like stubborn blood stains.
That class is a construct caging clarity
and keeping everyone in a certain class.
Class invades conversations about manners.
Class bolsters discrimination based on income.
Class becomes a battleground for two halves
of the same coin. Elephant loves to ban books.
With no class, you are deemed as crass.
Take no class, you are called unintelligent.
With class, you are expected to keep it up.
In class, you are told repeatedly to shut up.
We are so busy fighting in class and over class.
Black board pitted against Yellow crayon
when both are being screwed over by the
white chalk applying white-out to the books
that are taught in classrooms about class
to keep the Upper Class in class and those
deemed crass and unintelligent without class
in the slums. In the streets. And in silence.
Phoenix Ning is a twenty-one-year-old Chinese novelist, poet, musician, podcaster, book designer, visual novel creator, and blogger. Her published books include Paragon Seven, Bouquets and Chains, and Eastern Dragons Don't Breathe Fire. Her life mission is to pen the 200+ books in her PhoenixVerse centering queer people of color as the heroes that they are. Her poetry has been published in thirteen literary magazines, and her music is available on all major streaming platforms. Soup Dumpling Express, her podcast on Chinese culture, is available on Spotify. She is currently a grad student studying library science. Find more at https://thephoenixverse.com.