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: Daily

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Another poem I wrote in college. It’s an overly simplistic view of certain situations, but it was meant to illustrate how heroes come in many different forms. There are many ways we can step in and help those around us. Even a small gesture can make a huge difference. You never really know how your actions can impact others for the better.


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Poem: Ten O’Clock on the Coast

tide

This is something I wrote as a junior in high school. It was during a weekend trip with my parents to the beach before wrapping up the school year. (And I have no idea what “western heat” is supposed to mean. Did I mention I wrote this in high school?)

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Poem: Nobody (2 versions)

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This poem is a bit psychotic and probably sounds suicidal. While written during my second semester of college, it really channels the depression and isolation I felt in 6th grade (If you haven’t heard that post, you can see it here.)

I only went so far as to pick scabs in the way of self-harm. In no way am I condoning or encouraging self-mutilation. But to a degree I can understand what leads a person to that point. When you’ve been bullied physically, verbally and/or emotionally, you can feel powerless and that maybe if you’re the one causing pain, you can gain back some control. But you’re only sinking deeper into a dark place.

I’m not sharing this poem to glorify anything but to illustrate the emotion of this time in my life. If you or someone you know is suicidal or may be at risk of committing self-harm, please seek professional help to work through the problems. Help is available. Talk to trusted adults.

And if someone comes to you and shares about their problems, LISTEN! Listen and take them seriously. And seek intervention.

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Poem: Allusions of Myself

selfesteem

I wrote this during my sophomore year of college. I remember sitting in the cafeteria trying to come up with a poem to share at a poetry reading. Yes, during a freshman writing course, my professor introduced me to a group in a nearby city that hosted monthly poetry readings. She said they would welcome a college student. I just had to find the nerve to give it a chance. Eventually all my favorite poems that I had written in high school had been shared and I was in need of new material.

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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

cassie-bernall-book

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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