I remember crying during lunch my senior year of high school My math teacher’s eyebrows colliding turning one plane into a fractal image He had sat there every day for nearly four years Helping me struggle through an unreal number of numbers Literaly and figuratively And again and again the numbers on my math test said You are less than average You Are Stupid.
But behind the eyes of a determined math teacher Never read, what my insecurities where screaming Refusing to believe the numbers, I sought one thing Some unspoken meaning I almost found it the day of my graduation I almost found it between my teacher’s eyebrows Wearing it like a point of pride I was the first of my family to hold Such a light thing as a diploma Instead of a heavy head Weighed down by ****** It nodding under all the pressure The first to feel the lightness of feather Instead of a sixpack A lame back, from manual labor I was flying College was my next undefeated feat Again I let an institution tell me what I was Test scores tell me what I should meet Intelligent measured by something That couldn’t understand its diversity Trying to tell me I was less than average When I was just an individual Above a point of comparison Excelling in conceptual understanding Debating and good energy
I could construct social interaction Like gold, I learn to read people The power in my phone I learned that it wasn’t the diploma that I should be proud of Not the thing I sought after Not what I would show my little sisters and brothers To show them how to live better, how to be stronger Burn brighter. Burn longer. So here I am Red faced and scared spoken word was hiding, but always there in between my math teachers scrunched brow Was the answer I could have cheated if I had known how If I knew what question that needed answered Had realized it was never in his book I should have listened to what I saw Not to the math test I took I Am Not Stupid I haven’t failed by choosing something outside of school That I am not defined by the score By numbers or lines By this institutional rules Test scores or even rhymes I am not less than average I just don’t average out That power isn’t really in a piece of paper Power is found in your words And chosen behavior That silence and insecurity Means nothing really The answer wasn’t in his book It was in his look And his persistence to prove I Am Not Stupid He just wasn’t good enough with words to prove it.