What to Do on Bad Days by Azura Tyabji Seattle Youth Poet Laureate


you’re body is already forgiving you 
your charred palms are becoming soft and strong enough to hold things again
you have a talent for melting like wax, and wandering for a form to take 
on bad days 
deadlines take the backseat and you reconstruct yourself with patience 
the world 
is ending, yes 
But you have seen it end, and begin again in the morning hundreds of times 


don’t mistake emptiness as a meal  
practice finding comfort outside of surrender 


You said the wrong thing and elegance drops and breaks into a thousands irreparable shards 
it is a luxury you cannot afford but you’ve always been frugal, anyway 
try not to be tempted by sharp things that hurt when you hold them 


you have lost nothing and have nothing to lose 
the best parts of yourself are still intact
they live in the gardens you tend, with ink an appreciation 
for small gestures
you reap what you sow 
So don’t mourn a past harvest 

or phases after they have waned

they will come back around like an old friend eventually 
do not worry, you are growing 

and you are loved 


Motivation gathers dust in your chest and as subtle as it is, you are allergic to this
its loss isn’t dramatic enough to call drowning 
or burning
or an earthquake 
or any other catastrophe poets like you love to write about 
it’s just lack of maintenance
so put some music on
and make a habit of cleaning.


As Octavia butler said, write out of habit, not inspiration.
inspiration does not text back 
it’s not the type to leave gas in your car 
or pay back a debt 
habit meanwhile is a stubborn lover, but you will come to appreciate her 


full disclosure

more times than not

you are afraid of your art

talent is a reservoir always running low 

that you are reluctant to to re-fill


so remind yourself gently “so what if i spill?” 

be brave enough to flood a single page 

write something messy, something awful

write something corny and stupid 

write something you wouldn’t read in front of anyone ever

write away the thirst of fear, starting with what you have for yourself because that 





pause often
stop on a highway overpass 
and watch the road below: it is the vein of a creature greater than yourself 
it breathes
and you are humbled 
you exhale 
and continue with purpose 


become comfortable with silence
welcome your confessions through front door this time 
they have missed being treated as guests and not intruders 

you are frustrated with yourself because you are contradictory 
but that just means you are strong enough

to be the home for many things. 


time is a commodity we try to save, spend, keep

that we watch, waste, kill

many of us

are under the delusion we are letting ourselves expire

time i watch, waste, kill 

buries me alive in that guilt of a thousands of small deaths 

Sometimes i feel like an intruder in the fast-paced destiny of my own success 

so i block out a time in my schedule for forgiving myself for 

spending three hours doing nothing but refreshing every feed available


binging a show when i could have been working 

or just staring at the wall from my bed for an hour 

Because there is an infinite mausoleum of things I could have done, but 

mourning killed-time 

only spends more on grieving what can still be saved 

build a portfolio of your failures and hug them close

whisper, slowly, 

“i have all the time in the world.” 



you will never expire. 

this a poem, too, has no end. 
it will keep going 
Just as you will.

Sofia Snow