On Of Mice and Men

By: Kathleen Guo


A hot air balloon needs an element to ground it.

Lest it flies too close to the sun.

And melts into a mishappened mess.

So you dig up the river’s hearth and slug it onboard.

And set sail for brimming blue skies.

But enough is enough and once you’ve realized there’s no way down, the only way to go is up.

You let go of your tethers, and fly into an endless adventure.

The anchors drop to the ground like dead weight, left behind.


What I meant, what I do, there’s such a rift between them.

Like everyone, I’ve still got a dream.

I’m still human. I’m still human. I’m still human.

George says to repeat what I need to remember.

George says that one day, we’ll live off the fatta the lan’, and we got rabbits too.

(I like rabbits. I like their fur. They’re soft.)

George says all we gotta do is wait. Wait ‘till the time’s right, wait ‘till we got the money.

I can’t wait.

I’m still waiting.


There’s a line ya gotta draw, between what’s right and what’s necessary.

An’ I just happen to be the one drawing it.

I jus’ gotta put my foot down. It was either me or ya.

When the world’s fallin’ apart, there’s jus’ gonna be me an’ you.

That’s what I thought for the longest time.

But it turns out I had my head in the clouds, an’ nothin’ ever happens there.

This is reality, my friend.

And I hope you know that I’m so sorry.


Ya see things when you’re a guy like me.

Ya see things come and go, ya see things change and grow.

Ya see things that repeat, over and over again.

I’ve got my feet in the ground, straight confrontation with reality.

That’s my pride, not alotta people can do that.

I don’t gonna escape, try to find some fantasy.

This is the real world.

And it ain’t pretty.

Brace ‘yer self folks, and hol’ on till the storm blows past.


What’s a man to do when the world goes to hell?

I gotta hold my head tall.

Let them all respect me, ain’ no one gonna look down on me.

I’m high an’ mighty.

See me in my glory an’ quiver.

I’m the reason y’all got somewhere to stay.

I’m the reason y’all got food in yer stomachs.

I’m the only one with a girl.

I’m top dog, and ya better believe it.

Because I don’t.

Curley’s Wife

Like all of y’all, I had a dream.

An’ I was so close too.

But life’s got plans for ya without yer consent.

And turns ya up on yer head.

Now I gotta live with my bitter defeat at the hands of reality.

I was gonna become someone big, big as Gloria Swanson.

Someone you’d know just by the two initials.

Someone who’s name would be on every paper in the country.

Someone who’d you’d scream for when they’d come on the radio.

I was gonna become big because someone said I was a natural.

But I’m not.

An’ I dunno how I’ll ever live it down.


I gotta live squirming in my own skin.

It ain’t fair, I know. Life ain’t fair, I know that too. But that ain’t mean that we don’ gotta try to even things out a little.

It’s a fightin’ world out there, you gotta keep moving along if ya wanna stay above the water.

Everyone’s got a right, got a right to live.

But’ cha see, I don’t. I gotta make my own.

Just gotta stay in line. Not a toe outta line or the water’ll swallow me whole.

An’ no one’s gonna teach me how to swim.

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