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Dec 2012
I never really understood
Slam poetry
There was a man, a mic, and a spot light
There were words put on paper and words said
There was an eb and flow and there was this rhythm
Everyone seemed to speak the same
Getting faster getting slower
Getting higher getting lower
And there were profound words whispered over coffee cups
Obscuring the chocolate drizzled over latte’s foam
It seemed odd and foreign
Until I became a slam poet
After all I think it’s how they say
You never know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes
But it’s because I used to look at those words they said and
Over analyzed them
Over scrutinized them
I filed them
Color coded them
Cross reference and proof read them
1+1 had to equal 2 but with slam
It equaled like eight
And I could double check again and again
I couldn’t get 1+1 to equal two

But it was because at that time I was a straight A student
Reading seven books at one time
And doing thinks like science fair projects for fun
Because I had realize,
even without knowing I had
That if I was up to the rims of my glasses with books and papers
I couldn’t see my life around me
I paid less attention to the dishes I had to clean if I had equations running through my mind
I never saw how much dad drank if I was reading and writing
I took all those gold stars and straight A’s and plastered them over the cracks in my life
I joined everything I could
I did choir
I did drama
I was the editor of the year book
I did extra credit and went overboard on home work
I made my projects with blood, sweat, and tears
And my academics were my life...
But soon the time came that I got a B

And it didn’t fit quite as cleanly over the hole in my roof I used it to patch
And I didn’t shine bright enough to block out the darkness
And I began to see
A simple column of letters
Two letters
6 A’s and one B
If put it under a microscope it would be made out of the same black ink spatter on pulverized and pressed trees
It would still bleed the same if I dripped water on it
But it was different
Darker it seemed
And at night it didn’t lull me to sleep as well as
An A
It was only 80%
Not my usual hundred and with
less zeroes it couldn’t block out the
sound of my surroundings as well an A could
I couldn’t wrap myself in it and hide
I couldn’t click my heals and have it take me to a happy place
No
It was a B

And I plastered my report cards over my cracked old windows
But there was now a hole where my B would have been

Light leaked in through there
Light that shown on my house
Casting a shadow down on the floor
And the gold star and sticker coated family looked fine standing before me
But the shadow silhouettes were of scary people
Hurt people

And I never saw it all along because a smiley face with bright purple letters saying thing like
“GOOD JOB!”
“GREAT WORK!”
“EXELLENCE!”
Had been neatly peeled from perfect tests
And as gently as it was lifted it was placed onto my family’s faces
The stickers stuck because of their tears
The tears that no longer existed
once hidden by a sticker
I then began to see that the light from outside could show me the world
I then went and stripped my wall and windows
Of reports cards, essays, and projects
I shut off my computer with power points of greatness
Flipping slide
after slide
    after slide

I then opened my windows let air and light flood into my room
And it showed me things
Beautiful things

But then the light flooded into the rest of my house
The breeze became a draft and invaded the rooms
Illuminating the ugliness and hurt

And I tried to shut that window
I tried to glue back up the papers
I tried to sow back together ripped up gold stars

But I was not fast enough
Me
like Pandora
tried closing that box again

What was done…
Was done

It was too late
I saw it all, if only briefly
And now that room full of academic tokens of my achievement
Seemed darker
Even with the windows open
It was darker
Light shown in
A dusky twilight
At noon
And my heart beat faster
My breath quickened
My scream scratched at my throat
Trying to get out but not finding a foot hold
It just clawed and kicked
And on an intake of breath that scream lost its hold
And fell back down my throat
Landing in the pit of my stomach

I then walked out of my room and into my house and looked at my family
I saw the ugly stickers on their face
And peeled them off
Without care and in a haste
I was frantic
And desperate
And afraid
Under those paper adhesive masks
I didn’t recognize the faces
And now I was in a house full of family I had never gotten to know and I was afraid
Not like a scary movie
Not like a dark basement
More like being on a stranded island
Watching a cell phone with service
Get carried away by a seagull

I then looked to see the panic mirrored
In my “families” faces and didn’t find it

I then walked back to my room
And cried myself to sleep
In the dusky twilight
At noon

And when I awoke I found a composition notebook
And a pencil…
Nathan Millard
Written by
Nathan Millard  New Mexico
(New Mexico)   
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