Tally Marks


I don’t know much about the world, economy, politics and what not

I didn’t know about slavery or racism at all for that matter

I didn’t know about Martin Luther King’s dream and how the conquest for Civil Rights

Allowed colorblind classrooms, cities and communities, and growth in church congregations

I had no idea that a man named Hitler was responsible for the systematic killing of over 11 million people

I didn’t know there was such things as Bloods and Crips 

Growing up, I’ve always been told America was a safe haven but it’s just as dirty and corrupt as home

But I knew that being an immigrant didn’t limit me

Being called a FOB meant I was much more closer to my heritage than my Filipino classmates

That being different meant I was no follower but a leader of my one man army

I knew at the age of 11 that life was precious, when I lost my father

That no matter how much you struggle in building your castle time will have its way

That fate can be bitter like medicinal syrup on your tongue, but will eventually make you better

I figured on my own that scars heal but leave imprints like names etched on wet cement

And given time the same scars will become tally marks on the prison walls of my body

But never trapping me, only telling stories

I don’t know why we yawn, but I know it’s a sign that I need rest

I don’t know why girls are so hard to talk to, but I know initiating the conversation is only half the battle

Im not quite sure what algebra is all about but just like life, you gotta take certain steps to find a solution

And you may not know, but we live in a dying world

But overall, and I hold this truth to be self evident

That together we can cultivate our cities and be as we were in the beginning, only alive to love and be loved


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