"I Am the Shittiest Hipster" by Noah Cicero


I failed kindergarten. 

I was “held back.” 


Went to a small school. 80 kids a grade. 

Everyone knew. And they never let me forget. 


On several occasions: 

By the crabapple tree,

the neighborhood boys

taunting me for what seemed like forever,

calling me “stupid.” 


Once, during group reading in class,

the teacher stopped everyone

and yelled,

“Noah, stop pretending you can read.” 


All over the country,

future nerdy hipster kids 

knew how to read.

They were getting stars. 

The adults were impressed by their marks. 


Aunts and uncles discussed with them 

their bright futures. 

My 8th grade teacher told me 

I was doomed to work at a gas station. 


But things were even worse. 

I liked gym class. 

In movies, hipsters hate gym class.

Also played football, baseball and soccer. 

And I was always one of the best. 


In the 8th grade Ohio athletics test, 

where they test speed jumping abilities, 

pushups, pullups and sit-ups,

I won for the whole grade. 


Hipsters don’t win athletic events!


My favorite bands growing up

were Metallica and Guns N’ Roses.

My brothers’ favorite hobbies were 

shooting, trapping,

and four wheelers. 


I’m not David Foster Wallace. 

David Foster Wallace’s parents 

were professors. 

David Foster Wallace had a tiger mom

that was always up his ass. 

My mother was high in the basement

on Xanax and painkillers,

watching soap operas. 


Later on, in adult life,

my failure at being a hipster was evident. 

I can’t grow a beard 

because I have psoriasis. 

My face would become

red and blotchy. A beard

would just make my life worse.


I’ve never owned a flannel. 

I look great in yellow. 


Never went to NYU or Notre Dame.

Instead went to the 649th ranked university

on the Forbes college list. 


I still like Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. 


I’ve never owned a Mac, 

which is my true defeat. 


I have a political science degree, 

and not one in the arts or English. 


And I’m attractive, but not in a cute white boy way. 

I look like a guido—broad shoulders, with blue eyes shining

out from dark skin. Hipster women, 

if I’m not introduced by someone they know 

with an explanation of my publishing history,

instantly think I’m a dumb jock, 

wondering why I’m even at a poetry reading. 


I have failed in every way to be a hipster. 


But I do smoke American Spirits, 

drink GT’s Kombucha, 

and like a band called Screaming Females. 


Really, I want to apologize 

because it feels like I’ve invaded your world 

and won’t leave the party. 

Please take note when talking to me: 

I’m the stupid kid in class.

I’m the kid you feel better than. 

I’m the kid who does badly so you can get stars. 

I’m the kid who will work at a gas station. 

And even if, factually, I’m smarter than you,

and I intimidate you immensely,

I’m the stupid kid in class.

*forthcoming in nature documentary 

(house of vlad productions, 2018)