brown paper poem


I went to open mic poetry to see other poets.  I didn’t carry any poems with me or even a book to write in, like I sometimes do.  I was strictly going to listen to others.  But when I got there, a poem whirled above me, almost hitting me on the head with a hammer.  So I grabbed a paper bag from the pastry shelf, asked to borrow a pen, but the barista, in full support, said “Would you like a pencil instead? Like that you can erase”.  She seemed excited about my emerging poem.  I like that excitement!  Yes, good idea.  I took the pencil, sat down to write, and told my arriving friends not to talk to me.  I wrote, and stared into space.  I remembered so many moments, like beaches and salsa dancing and walking away from all that is safe.  I remembered there being only “one way” which was the “right way”, and how I didn’t know know anything but how I felt.  I remembered those decisive moments when the ones telling me what to do lead miserable lives, hidden behind office walls, wearing ugly clothes.  So all these moments tied themselves together in metaphorical dots and wanted to be written on a brown bag–not just any paper!  They wanted to be stamped hard and spoken out loud.  As the artist and the poet, I must obey.  Here’s the poem:


Supremacy told me to sit down; I would not

Supremacy told me to be quiet; I could not

Supremacy told me how to behave; I behaved not

I didn’t rebel because I wanted to,

like a person just wants to play any given game or go to a particular school

I didn’t even know if I was rebelling or what the word meant

I was innocent

I didn’t know slavery existed

and that it was a giant monster, clothed in Supremacy

trying to trap my soul

I just knew I couldn’t breathe

And I had reason to know

because I had breathed before

With big open lungs

It was fresh air that tasted like salt

It was giant open spaces

A lot of room to think

to decide

To come up with my own opinion

Now they wanted me to obey the master

clothed in Supremacy

Allowing me to breathe in small measurements

One teaspoon at a time

I saw the deprived people

clenching, like in a gas chamber

That was not going to be me!

2 thoughts on “brown paper poem”

  1. “One teaspoon at a time
    I saw the deprived people
    clenching, like in a gas chamber
    That was not going to be me!”
    I like the complete poem. The above lines stood out. Thank you for the amazing poetry.


  2. Thank you! If I were a poetry snob I would spend a lot of time developing and editing that poem to make the whole thing stand out! But I post them as they come, in their raw, unedited form:-) There’s something I like about that, too…mainly the carefreeness of it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s