I Never Wanted To Be A Poet

This piece was chosen to be read by Reyes at 12th Street 2015 Online launch, this month. It is also apart of 12th Street Journal‘s series, “Crisis Expressive,”which focuses on why and how we, as humans, creatively express during personal and public moments of crisis. If you have a story to express, we would be exulted to read it. Submit.


I Never Wanted To Be A Poet

I never wanted to be a poet.
At six I wanted to be a cop.
Then I turned 16 and realized cops didn’t like me much.

The officer’s elbow dug deep into my spine,
With the force of clansmen plowing through
The country side. My sides ached, and the summer heat
Broadway Junction. Ablaze
Were the officer’s eyes as he
Repeatedly said, “Hold Still.”
Repeatedly I felt shame, for being the color of Brown;
For being the color of my grandfather who instilled in me

I assure you, at 16, this fragile boy kept up
The white t-shirt and blue jeans seamed to fit me.
And I fit a description.
I never wanted to be a
Then I was let go.
The piercing eyes of onlookers shifted in other directions,
Because, see, I wasn’t guilty of anything.
They caught the perpetrator and paraded him back into the station.
I vowed
to disregard authority.
I vowed
to live to tell the tale of a

Fragile boy.
I became
A poet.