Poem of the Day

First Grade Bronx Girl

The second poem of the day is another Bronx Girl Original. I couldn’t decide on a title so it has two. Feel free to read it and pick your favorite. The poem of the day is:

Never Growing Old/Growing, but never Old

I was born in the spring
A May flower in bloom
And my youth never dies
When I was born
I was born to rise
To change, to prosper, to get better
I was born to evolve and live forever
I see possibilities
From the ground to the trees
I see nature as both beauty and my playground

When I was a kid
I thought adults were born that way
Teachers lived at school
And had no outside life
And I would play at the park forever
As an older kid I feared adulthood
I thought other kids were unwise to want to leave their childhood behind
I thought, we don’t pay taxes, we don’t have kids, we don’t work, and we don’t have serious responsibilities.
Why do other kids want to be big, when being big means you have to pay?
Apparently, freedom to live and do things your way doesn’t come cheap
And the typical adult would trade places with us any day
I thought it was sad that you had to give up playing hide and seek and going to the park because adults don’t act that way
And I was sad that adulthood seemed to mean giving up your childhood
Then one day at the park with my Daddy and brother, I saw two adults get on the swings and leave
That gave me hope that I could swing forever and ever
Then I thought adulthood wouldn’t be so bad
As long as they make swings then I could keep trying to touch the sky

When I was a tween I took a stand for my individuality
And gave some up in the process
To save the rest I had to butcher myself
I was perfect before
Now I am tainted by society
But still a gem, just not the one I was born
To survive life circumstances, sacrifices had to be made
But I stood up for who I am—short and brave
I loved to read and loved to learn
And my class was talented and brilliant
My middle school class was the best class of kids I’ve ever seen:
Ms. Blake and Mr. Miller, and 701 and 801 forever.
I didn’t know it then but I would see Ramarley Graham once after we graduated and he’d be gone forever

I went to high school in Harlem and never went back
4 years of Adulthood Bootcamp changes people forever
Freshman year I made many friends and underachieved
But life was good and I wished it would stay that way forever
Sophomore year I got my act together, but everyone else fell by the wayside
Friends became hostile, adults stopped making sense, and I begun to see the world unfolding
I took AP Government and Politics, Physics, English, and Algebra 2/Trigonometry, and argued a lot with Omar.
There was lots of frustration, tears, failure, and character building, but I wasn’t the only one who failed.
In the end, I learned a lot but had nothing to show for it on paper except Robotics
But I developed as a person and helped build a robot

Junior year I learned to speak Harlem: I learned how to communicate with my peers and be taken seriously
I had long mastered speaking to adults and authority figures, but my peers always eluded me
I took up history club and SAT prep, and had even more experiences.
I was living my life, but Ramarley got shot by some cops up the block
Of course they got off
No justice no peace
But he wasn’t special; urban kids have been slowly dying for a long time
Just like my other friends; just like many before us
They just made it to senior year
I’m thinking about college and my SAT and future and some cops took away Ramarley’s future for walking
I feared for my brother’s safety walking the very streets we grew up walking
And realized just how unequal urban black kids are
Black President elected in 2008 and in 2011 there’s stop and frisk, and hate
But life goes on, and more people slip farther into the cracks
But Ramarley lays submerged forever

Senior year I was grinding non stop
I took Psychology 201 at City College, the college Engineering class at school, and AP Language and Composition
I kept up my extracurriculars and applied to 20 colleges
That year was the year I was supposed to become an adult but 18 felt like 17 and nothing was special but how people started treating me
On my 18th Birthday everyone said congratulations you’re legal
Great so I can smoke tobacco and old dudes could date me without it being a crime. Thanks.
I had started reminiscing about life and what I had learned
Yeah legally I’m an adult. But am I ready to be?
Am I one in my mind?
I had been dreading the day
No way I was I ever going to be old and jaded
But 18 came and I made some memories
And felt for my fallen homies dead or alive and gone.

4 years of teaching you that everything before high school was a lie
And cramming “the real world” down your throat and all I learned was I was right
Adulthood sucks and I never want to be one
Then I realized I needed to repeat middle school and stick with my childhood wisdom:
It is unwise to leave your childhood behind, and even more unwise to change who you are because people tell you that you shouldn’t be that way
If we all started acting our age then all young people would be carefree and irresponsible and all old people would be crotchety and curmudgeon
That’s boring
And I refuse to be boring

So when I grow up I want to be an adult
But I will never embrace adulthood
I choose to define the person I want to be
And anyone who tells me I can’t because it’s wrong can shove off
I will do what I have been doing since I was born:
I am going to be me

R.I.P Ramarley Graham-You never did get to see adulthood, and we all suffer from that loss; just like every time we prematurely lose a life in this world.

—Bronx Girl





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