CommUNITY This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 10, 2017
They said I was nothing
and for a hot second,
I believed them.

Would it be treason
to say I agreed with them?
I wasn’t alone.
They got to the roots
of my family tree.
They spat at our feet
and talked down on us
like we’re a herd of sheep.

I don’t want to feel weak
but this life has left me feeble
Not the same as I used to be –
hoping to fade away
while rolling some tree.

They said I was nothing again
but that second got cold,
and I started to get bold.

Don’t listen to those you can’t trust.
Life isn’t about busting slugs
it’s more about failure than success;
either your life’s clean, or it’s a mess.

Failure is not easily defined
unless you look for it
like a thin line.

Success is easily defined;
once you start, you keep going
like a zip line.

I denied my success
because they thought
I was nothing …
While they party, I study.
While they travel, I work.
From nothing
to up-and-coming,
I am the one.

One day you said
I was somebody and
knocked the dust off my smile
at least for a little while.

After the cold hour
I deceived them.
They confuse desperation
for initiation.

Just negativity, so I leave ’em
Want to pick up the twenty-twos
so I can squeeze ’em.
Instead, I pray for ’em.

In my own weather,
let me brainstorm.
We’re all different
but hate in the same form.

2-3-4-5 seconds later
why believe them?
Their words mean squat
nothing more than a whim
Thank God I’m unique,
they’re as common as Tim
I still falter because
it feels better to give in.
But then I remember if
it’s not keeping me up at night,
then what’s the point?

As the valves open
I can feel the explosions
as I speed down this street.
I pray for traction I can keep
and if I slip and desire to slide,
I pray to the Lord
my soul to keep.

They said all I have is my face
but I care about my brain.
Not everyone is perfect,
but at least I’m not the same.

The next day
you said I was more than
some body
and I know you are the truth.

Looked in the mirror and
saw my reflection:
I’m something,
not a nothing.
Just straight stunning
Might be bumpy,
but not so lumpy.
I’m on the ride until we die.

I stayed to myself
and overachieved.
Never was a hater,
I like to see everybody eat.
If you’re riding with me,
we’re all balling Fam, my treat.

My head held high
I’m looking at Mars
in space where I see those stars
looking back at me.

I taught myself
I’m not the opinion of others.
I am my own definition
of intelligent,
my own definition
of good enough.

I told myself
I’d prove them wrong
and on May 31,
graduation day,
they will be wrong.

I’m trying to make
my family happy
so I can go to heaven.
I’m never stressing
I just love to receive blessings.

Now I know I am everything;
the beginning during the end
and so are you, my friend.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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DuckLoverThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 12 at 8:13 am
Wow! This is really deep. Very thought-provoking. I loved how there didn't seem to be a particular rhyme scheme, so you could really write freely. It made me think of how the best qualities in someone may not be obvious...until they display them and leave you with your mouth hanging open.
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