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Janis IAN

At seventeen

I learned the truth at seventeen

That love was meant for beauty queens

And high school girls with clear skinned smiles

Who married young and then retired

The valentines I never knew

The Friday night charades of youth

Were spent on one more beautiful

At seventeen I learned the truth...

And those of us with ravaged faces

Lacking in the social graces

Desperately remained at home

Inventing lovers on the phone

Who called to say "come dance with me"

And murmured vague obscenities

It isn't all it seems at seventeen...

A brown eyed girl in hand me downs

Whose name I never could pronounce

Said: "Pity please the ones who serve

They only get what they deserve"

The rich relationed hometown queen

Marries into what she needs

With a guarantee of company

And haven for the elderly...

So remember those who win the game

Lose the love they sought to gain

In debitures of quality and dubious integrity

Their small-town eyes will gape at you

In dull surprise when payment due

Exceeds accounts received at seventeen...

To those of us who knew the pain

Of valentines that never came

And those whose names were never called

When choosing sides for basketball

It was long ago and far away

the world was younger than today

when dreams were all they gave for free

to ugly duckling girls like me...

We all play the game, and when we dare

We cheat ourselves at solitaire

Inventing lovers on the phone

Repenting other lives unknown

That call and say: "Come on, dance with me"

And murmur vague obscenities

At ugly girls like me, at seventeen...