A Suburban Alphabet
Where I’m from,
when I was a kid,
The streets in each subdivision
all began with the same letter.
So, if you lived on Oxford Street or Oakwood Court or Olympia Circle,
you’d say you lived in the “O” section.
That’s where I lived—in the O’s.
The O’s and the R’s were cool,
but if you lived in the H’s you had to make it clear that you were from
the real H’s along the highway,
not those ragged-ass beige apartments that happened to be on a street called Highland,
nowhere near the H section.
Those kids said they were from the H’s,
but we all knew the truth.
If you were an F or a G,
you were rich
and you had your own car to drive to school.
(You do not fuck with an F or a G.)
M’s were aloof,
T’s were weird,
S’s tended to have parents that were
D’s did drugs,
L’s hung out in the park, and
A’s walked to school.
And that’s everybody.
Oh, also the black kids.
We didn’t know what streets they lived on
because they were bussed in
And we didn’t ask them.
—Jonathan Balcerak, Wauwatosa, WI