When I was a child I only ever wanted to be strong.
I wanted to be able to compete with the boys
and when I foot raced them at recess I won every time.
They called me ‘She Hulk’ because of my muscular frame
and from the way I only ever wore soccer t-shirts and sweat pants.
After that nickname was implanted into my brain like a growing weed,
I’ve only ever wanted to be feminine.
I started wearing skirts and dresses
and in middle school they shrieked at the site of my makeup and done up hair.
But that weed inside of my mind only grew, and grew, and grew
until I became a mixed drink cocktail
with one part anorexic and two parts lonely,
because I thought that the definition of feminine began with the word frail.
No one ever realizes how greatly words affect us,
how a simple nickname can turn a pretty girl into a skeleton.
I stood at five foot two weighing seventy nine pounds,
so cold and frozen,
yet I still considered myself a ‘She Hulk.’
You could see my ribcage through my t-shirt
and my spinal cord protruded loudly through my weathered skin,
as if somehow my bones were dirty knives
just trying to cut through the flesh of judgment.
As I grew older I became the girl that was never enough.
Not good enough to speak poetry.
Not good enough to lay paint on a canvas.
Not good enough.
Not tall enough.
Not big enough boobs for them.
Not primped to perfection.
Not undeniably straight.
Not smart enough.
Not dumb enough.
Not ditsy enough.
Not cool enough or fun enough.
And I began to believe, too, that I wasn’t enough.
I never told my mother that I had been in madly in love with a girl.
I never told anyone about the night we first kissed
because I was too vulnerable for the judgment.
And parents always justify saying that ‘kids will be kids’
But when we are kids our brains are still growing
and the smallest of seeds that get planted will one day bloom
into one giant regret,
will one day affect the choices that we make,
will one day influence us about the clothes that we wear,
will one day shape us into the person who we thought we would never be.
I only ever wanted to be strong,
and as a child I thought strength was only about being able
to lift a bar stool above your head.
I thought that strength was only about being able
to beat the boys in bare foot running races.
I was told that strength was something only
a man could have.
But as I’ve grown older I’ve realized that strength
isn’t about muscle at all,
but it’s about weakness,
and the ability to overcome the social anxiousness.
It’s about carrying around a lifetime of baggage
on your broken back
because the ones that kicked you when you were down
are going to be the ones that were ultimately wrong.
I thought that the definition of woman
began with the word disappointment.
And I became a mixed drink cocktail
with one part freedom
and two parts Sailor Jerry
because every girl needs a stiff drink once and awhile.
We are not disappointments.
We will never be the ones who gave up on hope.
We will never be the ones who gave up on each other,
or our mothers.
We will always be enough;
enough for the ones who shunned us
enough for the ones that cursed us
enough for the ones the hurt us
and destroyed us
and beat us when we were covered in bruises.
But you see, bruises fade
and the scars of our flesh are only stories
things we have overcame
and there are things out there that we will overcome.
When I was a child, I only ever wanted to be strong.
I hid my vulnerability.
I hid the parts of me that were true.
I never told my mother about my girlfriend
because I was afraid she wouldn’t understand,
kind of like all those people who never understood
just how much words effect us.
I can’t say that I can beat the boys at foot races anymore,
because, well, I smoke cigarettes now.
And I can’t say that the nickname of my childhood didn’t affect me.
But I take that name now and embrace it.
Because I am strong.
I am the ‘she hulk’.
I am a mixed drink cocktail
with three parts greatful.
Another song written in middle school - edited of course. ;)
I'm trapped within these walls
Never to leave at all
I am the prisoner inside my own home
My spirit is broken
I do not believe
I'm locked in this chamber which I cannot leave
The needles that break the skin
The anger that runs within
I’m giving it all away
Just to stay alive
The needles that pierce my veins
It will never be the same
We’re on pins and needles now
It’s how we survive
They say he’ll find me soon
Got to get out of this room
The blood will spill and he’ll take what he wants to
I’ll never let him through
GET OUT OF MY DREAM
He whispers in darkness, “I’m not who I seem…”
The four walls around me
They start to close in
I know I’m too late now
I know I can’t win
So just tell me I’m crazy
It’s all in my head
You’re not the killer
And I am not dead
Don’t tell me it’s impossible
To start it all over again
Infection sinks through your pale skin
You’ll curse the day that I’m dead
Tired of being treated
being stared at
and hiding my braces
under the camouflage
of my colored
with mascara and
as they make
and people are
But where is it?
In my dreams?
I wouldn't know
I don't sleep
I gotta explain
my braces all
and I will
until I die
and I'm tired
and so I'll stop talking
and fall asleep
and wake up
the next day,
Teacher, shall I write a sonnet? Must I?
When I’m not so sure of my poetry…
Shall I write a poem of fourteen lines?
In iambic pentameter –by me?
What shall I write about? What can I say?
In this sonnet which I must jot down now?
My sonnet should be about what today?
To write a great sonnet I’m not sure how…
Teacher, can I write this sonnet later
For I’m not sure of what to write about?
The teacher then takes my simple paper
And “you already did.” my teacher shouts.
‘Detention’ my teacher says, ‘for lying,’
‘But thank you,’ she adds, ‘for at least trying.’
© Mariam Mababaya.
I am the weather constantly changing day by day.
I am the light that fades before darkness takes over.
I am the cheetah protecting its young.
I am the rain pounding against the window.
My hair is silk brushing across your hand.
My eyes are baby blue crystals bearing down on people.
My hair is golden light that reflects off the green grass.
I am the blinding white snow as the sun shines bright.
I am a bird’s song echoing in the daylight.
I am the wind blowing past your face.
I am the unstoppable river that moves and moves, day by day, and season by season.
I am a book worm inching, reading page by page as hours go by.
I am a splash of color to everyone’s joy.
I am the ground beneath your feet.
I may speak words of hate but my friendship will never destroy.
I may make mistakes but I am the one you keep.
Kids go down
The slide…they head toward the swings
TIME TO SCREAM!
Free time ends
Their parents want to go home
Fake Words – Zamreen Zarook
God have given us mouth,
Not to speak to north and south,
Tongue is given under an oath,
So it’s our duty to protect them both.
Girls chat fake with boys,
Having a notion that the boys are toys,
They often make varied noise,
Thinking to keep a trap on handsome guys.
Boys are also human being,
So it’s not possible being clean,
Things varies in the way they are seen,
So positive thinking will make you keen.
Boys’ minds are pure,
As it is pure bio,
So don’t try to pour vino,
Which will take decades to get cure.
It’s not fair
But then it never is
All the teachers
All the learning that they got
It couldn't prepare them
It couldn't stop it
Or halt it
Or even control it?
The whirlwind that is I
All the promises and
All the lies
It was all too much
It was never enough
The whispers behind my back
The taunts, and jeers;
Even the teachers
Who are supposed to protect
and keep order;
Just walk away
Just ignore her
She’ll go away
Yes Mrs. Mother
Well stop it
She has coodies
No one likes you
No one wants’ to play with a lesbian like you
It would be so much better if she were gone
I wish she would just leave forever
I never showed my face
But you still;
What did I ever do to you?
What could I have done to you?
I was only ten
Just barely out of childhood really
But I can't really blame you...can i?
No I can't
My only option left
Did it make you happy?
Did you smile?
Was all that work
All that cruelty
All that heartache;
Was it worth it?
Did it finally make you feel better?
Like you were better,
Who was your next victim?
Not like it matters
They didn't help them either
You can't see
You refuse to see
Just like the teachers
They all failed
Not only me
I hope you all are proud.
White board…names written hori-
To go pee…right when class starts –
THAT’S just wrong…
Of students who have bladder
Problems – WOW!
Not using lunchtime to do
No one knows
When to do their duties – SER-
Years gone by and we are all still fools
For the silly things we laughed at school
Farting and burping and breaking the rules
Making large bubble gum circles whilst swimming in the local pool
Playing tennis in the summer because Wimbledon was cool
Weekends on muddy pitches pitting your wits to tackle and duel
Flirting glances at girls although not knowing how it was cruel
Teachers bursting veins in their heads shouting to try and teach monkeys who scratch their arses and play E.T with their cagoules
Making grass bunkers in the summer with mates and a girl would show you her white knickers for some toffees and a daisy chain to amaze at and to drool
Remembering the children’s faces and the world we left behind to know that we had better times when we were all still fools.