You Tell Me


How dare you tell me to be who I am

But chide me when I try


Ask how I am

Robotic response every time:

Good how are you


Who am I


An object

On the production line of education

Of this system

Grade point average stamped to my forehead

Résumé stapled to my side


Test me before you sell me

Ring out my competence


Brand me if I fit your criteria

Myriad items

Do we please you


Did you probe the parts inside of me

Do you even know if I’m still breathing


No use to you if I’m dead

Defective item

Return to sender


Who am I


Sample of a failed experiment


I am monsoon worry

Trying to please you

Never myself

Why would I please myself

Not even sure how I would


Lost myself along the way

Your way

Do you see that I’m trying


Can’t you see that I’m trying


Who am I


Moonshine sadness


Under my blazer

That I wear to look sharp for you

As sharp as my knife

Used to craft a bracelet of blood

You see

I am a jeweler too

Will you buy me now

Am I the opulence you desire

Am I enough


Dream Catcher

Can’t ensnare this nightmare


Wax drip of hope

Keeping me above the ground


Teacher asked for an essay

Of who we are

I wrote my name

That’s all

That’s all I know


The art of getting by

Fabrication for the letter “A”


“A” is for acting


My thoughts or yours



Repression of spirit

Repression of the being



Tailor me as you wish



External expectations

Internal pressure

Self-made shackles of criticism


Not enough for this

Culpable society


But I’m part of the system

I am selfish too


I yearn to be a renegade

But continue to bow

To the way things are


I don’t know who I am


Can’t you see that I’m trying


I don’t know who I am…


Can you tell me

This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world


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