There is no greater testimony than the first bath a soldier takes after she’s just come home from a long war.
The story you tell when this world expects you to stop speaking.
The moment you walk after you’ve just been paralyzed.
My principal once told me “Jasmin, at the rate you’re going you will always be silent in this world.”
I didn’t understand.
I’d just been kicked out of class for the third time in a week because of how much I liked speaking.
Was he encouraging my disruption or is there such a thing as silently speaking.
They wrote me off after the fourth time.
Said there’s no way this girl in the middle of north philly will ever grow to be more than a silent statistic.
A harmless bomb.
And if there’s any change in her life, it’ll only be her shrinking.
I remember the nights where I thought this world would be louder without me in it.
The ghost inside of me was more alive than I was.
If you think outside the box this world will put you in one.
I became a walking graveyard.
I believed if silence was all I had to contribute then why not find victory in becoming just a memory.
Became scared to be alone with myself
Because I had no belief.
I had no faith.
If things had gone as planned I would be silent right now.
If things had gone as planned I would be a feast for insects
If I were brave enough to be a coward I would’ve let the story of my father leaving months before I was molested kill me.
I would’ve let the year I spent with holes in my shoes afraid to move at recess
Keep me still
Speaking of being still
I’d be like a statue, still
But my image would still move you.
I would’ve let a suicide note carry me home.
I’d be the most silent poet you have ever heard.
Talk about talents being wasted
Slurred words sound like potential dragged through dirt
With silence for a hangover
The pounding belief that you sound a lot better with your mouth closed.
I was wrong my first mentor came along
The first man that took the time to look at me and say, Jasmin you can be something.
died before I came anything
That is what made me start writing.
That is the war that bought me here.
There’s a war that bought some of you here.
Some of you are in a battle as we speak.
You’ve gone church service after church service.
Said prayer after prayer.
Went to party after party
Smoked blunt after blunt.
Slept with boy after boy
Girl after girl
Searching for a victory and you have found none
Everyone has written you off
They’ve announced your death
Casket shopping while you were still breathing
This poem is for you…
For that guy in the back of the classroom with a mask for a face and a ghost for a father to be or not to be a real man or a real thug
You say everything with your chest but your heart never speaks.
I dare you to leave your life cleaner than you found it
And be a resurrection
Every crumb still has its ingredients inside of it so even when you feel crushed you are still godly.
Even when you are alone you are still sacred
Even when you are broken you are holy.
So when they come searching for the old you
Expecting your old habits so still be breathing
Expecting for you to have given up by now.
For you to have fallen like a king does on a chess board.
Be more than just sporadic celebration.
Be more than a simple applause.
Be an eternal testimony
Show them your battle scars.
The tragic parts of you.
Tell them how you got over.
Ask, why are you looking for the living amongst the dead.