I Am a Poet by Juanita Castro South Florida Youth Poet Laureate
I Am A Poet
This is a line.
This is another line.
And this is another line.
These are lines, which I am giving you,
little similes and endless rhyme,
a dichotomy of language, my ethos peruses your senses,
thundering metaphors, an array of alliteration,
deep mythological references which you may or may not understand,
a cacophony of sounds
Because I am a poet
and you are poets
and I am here to stun you with my literary merits and my delicate appreciation of
nature and when this is over,
I shall brood over death.
I will wear all black and oversize sweaters
and I will stand tragically in the falling rain,
clutching a cup of coffee and reciting Sylvia Plath to myself.
My eyes will look up and lock with those of a perfect stranger,
maybe on a train going nowhere,
and when he holds me that night,
I will seduce him with some Robert Frost and click away on my typewriter the
story of our love,
and I will write.
Because I am a poet, and I am forlorn,
and I am as sad and sorrowful as the voices of the greats who came before me,
and I carry within me the same pain all of you in this room here hold,
and I will be the poet
you want me to be.
Except, right now, I can’t concentrate quite on being a poet
I’m too worried about voter efficacy.
I’m also worried about bees.
I mean, why don’t people worry about the bees? If the bees die, we die, but I don’t
see that trending on Twitter.
I can’t quite concentrate on being a poet, because my brother is screaming his head
off in the room next door, probably because he’s losing on League of Legends,
and I have government extra credit due on Monday
and considering I failed that test last week,
I can’t really concentrate on being the next Sylvia Plath right now.
But in the end, I am a poet,
and I am here, standing on this stage in front of you, and I’m naked.
I mean, I’m not naked.
In my head, you all are, so that I can feel less nervous about baring my mind’s
bones to a room full of strangers,
And yet, I am a poet because you are not all strangers –
You’re poets too, and so I know you see it.
You see the magic of the world,
the little crooks of enchanted places hiding in ordinary life,
You can hear the mocking jays above the chatter in the halls, and you are poets
because I see you.
I see you the way I see stars in the night sky when I’m walking my dog in order to
avoid having to do homework,
or the way I see people’s handwriting and the ways it defines them,
or the way I see a little kid smile and think to myself,
“Man. Don’t grow up too quickly.”
I’m a poet and I’m here maybe because I grew up too quickly
I’m a poet because my story isn’t clean and succinct,
it’s jagged and broken and not as smooth as the waves I’m sailing now,
and I’m a poet because I’m dealing with that.
I’m a poet because I can stand in front of you now, and I can ask you to think
about this first time you fell in love, and I can write 3 pages just about the gleam
that just came into your eyes.
I’m a poet because I’m here and I can say the word’s “writer’s block” and some of
you may smile and others may groan and some may not along knowingly, and I’m
a poet because my life was one big writer’s block, and I broke free,
and I’m a poet because the first thing I do after breaking free from the things that
hold me down is write.
When I want to cry, I write. When I want to scream, I write.
And maybe because when you’ve been slumped over on the floor trying not to lose
yourself to the great emptiness that plagues the souls of the open, you’ve written a
I’m a person.
Just a person.
Living, breathing, trying to survive.
I’m just trying to graduate.
I’m here, just a teenager trying to write a poem, because I was asked to sum up my
entire existence in 500 words last week by some school that had me pay $70 just
to possibly reject me, and for all the long winded things that I have written for all
these prestigious and long-winded colleges, I could have summed up my life in 4
I am a poet.
I don’t like ironic dad rock.
I don’t understand bonsai trees.
Wearing sparkly things makes me feel uncomfortable, I don’t like sexist jokes,
pens that bleed through paper make me angry and I am a poet,
and my life revolves around the smallest things.
The stories of the gum stuck underneath tables make me curious,
Someone at my lunch table had a pudding cup today and in my mind I imagined a
backstory for a great pudding monster,
I read a T.S. Eliot poem the other day that made me want to tear my heart out and
give it to the moon, and I am a poet because I look at the world and I see beauty.
I mean, yeah. I’m a poet and I can tell you there is nothing lovely about poverty –
There’s no joy in malnourishment, in orphanages, in human rights abuses, in the
failing moral empathy of the human condition, and yes, life can be sad
But I am a poet because I can look at life and I can see all of these things, and I
still see so much beauty… So much love.
There’s beauty in sunshine streaming in the shutters, in shy smiles of shy people,
in the little indents of dimples,
the clean smell of fresh snow,
the cold air that accompanies winter,
the warmth of cozy sweaters,
the smoothness of .38 pens,
the streaks of gold in your best friend’s blonde hair,
the joy of a perfect blue sky,
the feel of sand between your toes on a wide beach,
the lights that come with carnivals,
a person’s sleepy voice,
kisses on your neck,
the depth of blue eyes,
the smell of pine trees and I am a poet and these are the little things that I can live
I am a poet because I believe in the empty spaces inside of people that life and
love fill up,
I am a poet because I think that that everybody’s hearts are living room walls with
awkwardly places photographs hiding fist shaped holes.
I am a poet because I have had moments where I will pause in life –
In the middle of a crowded hallway, at a restaurant, in a rushing airport, in the
middle of my mind
And I will see the beauty of the world – the beauty that hides in truth.
The beauty that hides in tears, because it means vulnerability,
The beauty that is in shouting, because it means passion,
The beauty that is in death,
Because it means rebirth and acceptance and memories and time, and the beauty
that is in heartbreak, because it means that once, you knew love
And I am a poet
Because I know you can see these things too.
And I am a poet, because I will see and love these things for the rest of my life, I
will click away on my imaginary typewriter and I will yearn away in my journals
and I will smile and I will write
And I will stand in front of you here, and I’ll smile
Because in the end, I’m just here. And this is a room.
And these are lines.
Lines which I am giving you, because you are poets, and I am a poet too.