“They Want”: A 17 Year Old Boy on His Future

anarchy, protest, teenagers, rage against the machine

This Venice High School senior provokes with his response to the question, what do you want from your life?

Dennis Danziger writes: Tony Lopez-Figueroa is a 17-year-old senior at Venice High School in Los Angeles. When I asked students who are a few months away from graduating exactly what it is that they want as they transition into a new stage on their lives, this is what Tony wrote:

They Want…

By Tony Lopez-Figueroa


They want me to pull my pants up to my waist, but I love to show my undergarments

They want me to smoke what kills, but I’m determined to inhale God’s vine

They want me to add parts to the machine, but I’m going to ask questions and make it crash

They want me to depend on the government, but I’m off that slave ship

They want me to fear the streets, but I holla, “What’s good my brothers?”

They want me to watch my mouth and speak more fluently; I say F*CK that!

They want me to judge by stereotypes, but I invite those who invite me

They want me to kill and oppress others over religion; I say, “Only God knows where we’re headed.”

They want me to work until my head’s full of gray, but I love to smoke and hang with my homies

They want me to think my future’s in their hands, but I own my decisions

They want me to catch a man-made disease so they can only cure my symptoms; I say “I lived the good life”

They want me to contradict my dreams; I’ve never feared an opinion

They want me to serve at 18, hold up now; I can’t sip till I’m 21?

They want me to play their game, I never liked baseball

They want me to blame the brothers in the ‘hood, but haven’t ya’ll heard of dirty bacon?

They want me to fear the coward flaunting his pistol, I fear no one but God

They want me to vote for “our” nation’s leader, I never liked puppets

They want me to fear the reaper’s scythe, I know it can’t pierce my soul

They want me to think I’m at the end of the plank, but I’m not blind

And neither are you, so open your eyes my brothers and sisters.


Read more on Teenagers on The Good Life.

Image credit: Anonymous9000/Flickr

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  1. Tom Brechlin says:

    Tony, this all sounds great if you were just talking to your homies, but dude, there are 200 guys and as many girls in the wings that are waiting to take the job you want, guys to take the girl you want and succeed in their goals … leaving you behind in the dust.

    It takes more resolve, more energy, more character to do what’s right and /or what’s best for your future. Like I’ve told a lot of kids your age, choose your battles wisely, there are plenty of battles worth going after … pulling your pant us isn’t one of them.

  2. Tom Brechlin says:

    Though it was a quick moderation ….

  3. Tom Brechlin says:

    Out of curiosity , what in what I just said triggered moderation?

  4. Tom Brechlin says:

    Oh yeah…. pig = bacon … I get it. 🙂

  5. A couple of good ones, but mostly spoken like a true, dumb, inexperienced 17 year old. Nothing profound here (even though he sure seems to think he’s profound), and he’s clearly someone who has no plan for his future other than wanting to ” smoke and hang with [his] homies”.

    @Martin – I’m 99% positive “dirty bacon” = dirty cops.

  6. What Martin Oliver said, because, while some of the things this young 17 year old man said are profound and mature, some are just dumb things said by a 17 year old kid who knows nothing of the real world.

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