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Don’t be like them!

Don’t be like them. They want you in the ranks,
the mob — the clan of dullards who want you
to live in line with their stifling ideals.

They want you brain dead and
soul dead like them. They want
you to work the 9–5. They want
you in a cubicle. They want you
to be a sitcom watcher. They want
you to pledge to their flags and
worship their gods. They want you
take a side. They want you to settle
with their politics and vote for
their two-faced leaders.

They need to be led
because they’re too weak
to lead themselves.

They want
to think
to act
to feel
as they do.

They don’t want you to look within.
They don’t want you
to question
to dream
to write
to create
to rage.

They swallow myths
not as eternal truths
but as concrete history.

They don’t understand art
or the metaphors of life.

They live constrained by
ancient decrees and
delusional prophets.

They want you domesticated like a pet.
They want to paralyze your spirit and
categorize you so you’re easily handled.

They don’t want you polluted
with passion
in this

They want you
to be a good


They adore freedom but only on their terms.
They want you to color within the lines.
They want you to stay on the well-worn path.

Don’t be like them.

Enter the darkest point of the forest.
Look beyond the walls they’ve erected.

You will be mocked, criticized, chastised,
looked down upon. They will want you on
medication, behind bars, or in the asylum.

That’s when you know you’re on the right track.

Keep going.

Don’t sacrifice the core for the
mindless multitudes. Unlike them,
you’ll saunter through life
stalking the light.

Stay true to your raw self.
Give us
your fears
your sufferings
your secrets.

Make the intimate known.

Climb that goddamn mountain
and bellow out that poem
that’s graffitied
on the dark walls
of your inner alleys.

Don’t be like them.


Author – Erik Rittenberry

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