Slam Poetry on the Subway

Today I almost had a shame attack in the subway station.

I went out to this MeetUp event across town and ended up being an hour late, even though I arrived at the station ten minutes early. I was wandering around the streets in circles for 40 minutes before I finally realized why I couldn’t find the restaurant.

I was at the wrong station.

I had gotten off a stop early without realizing it, because I was distracted. I was busy writing a slam poem in my head that hit me as I stared into my own reflection in the subway window.

I quickly got on the subway again to head to the right stop. But as I approached the exit, I checked my messages and saw another girl who’d also gotten lost, had given up and went home. I immediately questioned myself. Should I even bother to show up? Should I give up too? I was already an hour late.

My eyes started to water as I beat myself up for not even being able to show up to a dinner on time. But I quickly tried to counteract my own critic, reassuring myself people get lost sometimes, and people are late sometimes, and it’s ok. Besides I’d already come all the way out here and I didn’t want to give up yet.

I decided to message the group and see if they were even still eating/ talking. Thankfully, I got an immediate reply,

“Yes.”

I was incredibly grateful for such a simple word.

—-

I was telling my friend M a few months ago that I’ve started to write slam poetry. At least in my head it sounds like slam poetry. I usually write my poems on my secret blog. But I liked that I wrote this one on the subway, so I wanted to share it.

Here’s the poem. When you read it, pretend you are reading it into the mic at a slam poetry event.

What Are You?

You ask as if you expect me to know the answer.
And you expect the answer to be exactly what you already think.
But how can I answer this question when I am still unknown?
What am I?
Who am I?

Am I this? Or am I that?
Why can’t I be both?
Why can’t I be all of the above?
Or none of the above?
Why do I have to be only one thing?
Why can’t I be as diverse
as all the trillions of stars in the universe?

For I am a galaxy of emotions~
sorrows, fears, anger, guilt,
shame, joy, peace, hope,

stillness.

There are multiple galaxies swirling inside
and continuously expanding.
But I squish them down,
repress them,
stop them from growing
until they build up like the big bang-

EXPLODE

into hundreds of supernovas and black holes
wondering
What am I?
Who am I?

Why do I even have to know the answer to a question
that you ask just to appease your own ego
and your need to identify
to label
to stuff me in a box.

I do not fit in a box.

Why do I need to be one thing?
Why do I need to be any thing?
Why can’t I just be?

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