next time you see a person
you’re not male or female
whether or not they’re male or female
no matter how they’re dressed
no matter how they look
tell them to smile.
but tell them this to brighten up their day,
not to hit on them.
imagine for a moment a world where we all check ourselves
and each other.
we make happiness, or expressions of it,
a social norm. a standard.
“hey, please smile”
almost as if it’s expected of you
as it should be.
breathing, alive, grateful.
Phillipe Martin Chatelain is a poet and co-founder of In Parentheses. Based in New York City,
he is currently pursuing a Creative Writing MFA at The New School for Public Engagement while succumbing to a caffeine addiction working as a barista in Midtown.