The Stories

Performed at: London Poetry Slam Finals, CapSlam, Ottawa Youth Poetry Slam, Urban Legends Poetry Slam  (Ottawa)

Who to be or who not be is a rhetorical question in this society.

Where we treat judgement like its the prescription of lens everyone’s supposed to have.

This is for the stories that are lenses of judgement don’t let us focus in on,

The stories too common to be ignored.

To the girl who would never admit that time,

Is something more familiar to her hands than a handshake.

The same girl that would rather hold the hand of a stranger than her own.

You can’t see in between the lines on the inside of her palms where no one held her as a kid.

So she had to hold her own with hands already scraped from teaching herself how to ride a bike.

She knows what its like to feel abandoned, to have nothing but blood pump in your heart.

So time is something she holds in her hands caressing its beauty, knowing that right now, it can never leave her.

To the boy who leaves,

With an abused mother and abuser father,

Running away was the first and most valuable thing he was taught.

Commitment meant as much as the cigarette butt thrown on the side of the road,

A word that scared him more than anything.

So when the smiling girl begged him to stay, he buried his heart ‘cause he knew he’d never be

able to give her the love she deserved.

To the girl with the smile.

Whose makeup gets darker everyday,

Hoping no one will notice the bags under her eyes,

Not from being tired, just from being sad.

But no one ever thinks to ask why.

They assume that with a curve of her lips with an unwavering voice that speaks to strangers,

She must be happy.

They can’t see the secrets tattooed into her skin with invisible ink that only she has to look at.

They’re not there every morning when she wakes up preparing for world war 3 in her mind,

There’s a difference between smiling with your lips and smiling with your heart.

As an optimist, I’ve learned to master them both.

And that’s something I’m both proud and ashamed to have.

I am guilty of the greatest and most frequent lie every one of us tells,

In saying I’m okay.

It doesn’t mean happy, it doesn’t mean sad.

It means back off, because right now we’re all fighting our own battles, and being ‘okay’ in the midst of a war is pretty good.

We’re all fighting, and we’ll never know every story.
We just have to recognize that every person has one.

That girl with too much time and not enough love- you’d look at her and see a drugee.

That boy who doesn’t know commitment- he’s just a high school dropout.
That girl with the smile- she’s just a pretty face.

Judgement is a word too long to tell 5-years olds but somehow its okay to engrain in their heads.

Without explaining that

Scars, are invisible roots buried so deep within hearts they never see sunlight.

Insecurities are burdens we hide from our mirrors.

I was always taught that we have no right to judge someone who’s happy.

But we still have no right to judge someone who’s not.

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