Poem: I Am

Struggle of wanting to help but not being sure how. Can one person make a difference?

In eighth grade we were asked to complete a form poem. Each line began with a certain phrase and we had to finish the thought. A typical response for this assignment was a bunch of random thoughts that somehow added up to introducing you a bit more, showing likes/dislikes/interests. Mine turned into something with a more mature theme.

I’ve included the template we were given to follow.

Given the content of the poem, I see this as proof for myself that I did want to help people in whatever way I could.

Yet, I’m still not sure why being kind, listening to what others say, being available and helping others were seen as secondary characteristics and behaviors. Why was seeking academic success, athletic abilities and other talents seen as more valuable? Those abilities can be taught or learned. But how you treat other people, whether you care about others or only yourself, that’s more of a fundamental thing. That really has to come first.

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Poem: Vanishing (with back story)

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Wired.com

This is the poem that got me started writing poetry on my own time. In previous classes over the years we had written poems, usually following a form or writing haikus and limericks. Those were good ways of being introduced to poetry, but they didn’t seem to be very personal.

In May 1998, near the end of eighth grade, I was at home in the den/family room. I remember Mom called out asking me to bring her the newspaper or something. So I got up and walked toward the kitchen as requested, and the next thing I knew I was on the ground. I had blacked out or something. They ran tests at the hospital, including an EKG, but no one could find anything to explain what actually happened. I was given a heart monitor to wear for 24 hours.

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I didn’t fully understand the seriousness of what happened that weekend. I just knew I detested having to wear the monitor. But I just wrote down what I felt on paper.

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Poem: Always Said

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This was an assignment during a college poetry writing class. We had about 20 minutes to write something. The professor wrote 8 to 10 random words on the board, and we were told to incorporate 5 of them in our piece. The other catch was to take a familiar saying and alter it in some way.

I’m quite proud of how this turned out. Timed writing assignments are tricky enough, without having added elements to deal with.

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Poem: April 20, 1999

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In honor of today being the 18th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, I thought I would share the poem I wrote about the event.

I was on the bus on the way to a basketball game during my junior year of high school, two years after the shooting. For once I wasn’t doing homework on the bus; instead I finished reading “She Said Yes,” Cassie Bernall’s witness and felt inspired to write about it from her perspective.

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