Sunday, May 31, 2015

imperfections: (im)perfect

The final part of the anthology.
This piece was written as a slam poem, and performed at a school poetry slam.
Paired with this poem.


in elementary school, 
I learned to
be perfect at grades, 
to choke down 
instructions in pills 
made of chalkboard dust
that dulled crayon colours 
on the canvas
into black and white numbers
on the lined page,
to accept that less than 100% was to be 
less than perfect
less than whole. 
and I was addicted 
to the taste of empty praise
so I could forget 
the pill got stuck in
my throat every time I got A’s and 
smiley faced stickers on my homework page with
“great job as always”

because I was perfect

in middle school, 
I learned to
be perfect at socializing, 
to spend hours in the bathroom 
staring at my reflection fixing 
my hair, skin, teeth
until my face became the mirror itself
so I could parrot my classmate’s words and their laughter
and slot myself in their numbers 
to never be the 
odd one out.
I anchored myself
to a social structure
and sank into the deep 
of conformity
weighed down by the burdens of a million smiles 

because I was perfect

in high school 
I learned to
be perfect at hiding things,
to stifle sobs behind doors 
and bury shaking hands underneath long sweater sleeves, 
to grit my teeth and lie
“I’m fine I’m fine I’m fine”
but my heart was the eye of a hurricane 
made of procrastinated essays 
and report card grades
pushing me off a pedestal I had made 
for myself
and I was trying to convince everyone 
that I was just flying not 
crashing into a million pieces of ceramic


a few days ago 
sitting in earth and space class 
I learned
that when a nebula lets go 
of its restraint, 
all stardust and void colliding 
inwards in the flux of its own gravity
it does not die - 
it changes into stars,
into galaxies.
so I took a breath
and let perfection go

because I am imperfect.

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