Dropping Your Freshman Off for College: A List Poem

What to do when dropping your freshman off at college:

  1. Actually be there? I know we’re adults now but moving into a 9 story dorm with one working elevator and no AC isn’t a one man job.
  2. Try not to be too much of a mom. So don’t pinch our cheeks and unpack our freshly ironed underwear right there in the parking lot. Please. 
  3. Get the number of your child’s roommate’s parents. I can’t tell you how important it is to throw parties with these guys while you both have one less child in the house
  4. Get hype.
  5. Get sad.
  6. As much as they’d probably like this, don’t bring booze. That’s the student’s job.
  7. Be prepared to go to Target. Twice. Just kidding, you’ll have the floor plan of that store memorized by the time your freshman is officially moved in.
  8. Let them eat dinner without you. It’s not that they don’t want you around (oh god are we tired of your advice), it’s that we know we need to explore on our own.
  9. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine. Aside from the crazy parties, no sleep exam weeks, mesothelioma, and the possibility that we won’t call home every night like we promised.
  10. Goodbyes hurt, but not having them hurts more.

We’ll be home soon, we promise.

Advertisements

April is…

April is National Poetry Month and National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Through my time as a performance poet in high school I developed a strong voice when it came to speaking out against sexual violence.

saam

So, in honor of the month of April, I’m going to share a lightening round slam poetry piece with you, titled We Asked for It. It’s much better when performed out loud, but sadly I was never recorded. Performing this piece meant a lot to me because of all the friends that had been sexually assaulted in high school. I think writing this poem helped me work through the anger and frustration I felt as the time. I’m hoping that reading it from the page conveys those feelings as well as my performance would.

We Asked for It by Bailey Marshall

We girls demand attention from the opposite sex.

We rim our eyes in black, make lashes long like spiders’ legs,

Paint our lips red like the hourglass on the backs of black widows,

With web-white smiles we snare men in our traps.

It’s not that we just enjoy wearing makeup, we do it to seduce the opposite sex.

Our mascara, lipstick, and teeth spell out Y-E-S.

Remember, you have to watch out for us girls.

We’re vindictive, cunning, masters of seduction.

Fathers have to tell their sons to be careful when they go out at night

So that some strange woman doesn’t sashay over and

Trap him in her well spun lies.

Young boys,

We hope you know our “Yes to Consent” law is only another trap door for you to fall in to

Another California king bed we can handcuff you to the frame of,

Call the police on what you promised us was love,

Because we will try and accuse you of so – many – things.

Like when our lips, drowned in alcohol, are begging for some man to overpower us

Take advantage of us

Leave us broken, naked, and alone

And scared of every bump in the night, every drink in our hand, every man at the bar,

We ask for rape by getting drunk

We ask for rape by drinking alone

We ask for rape by ordering more than one drink

We ask to be opened up and pinned like dead arachnids on specimen tables.

We ask for rape…by being female.

We are made for picking up our own broken pieces and being blamed for being victims.

So watch out.

Slam Poems I’d Recommend to Anyone

I competed in poetry slams in high school. I went to club every Thursday and wrote new pieces. I went to slams almost every Tuesday. I became very, very attached to this style of writing. I reconnected this summer with a friend I competed with and she sent me her list of favorite poems. A few really stood out to me, and here they are!

 

Scarecrow by the Brave New Voices Washington D.C. Team This is the first slam poem I ever listened to. I don’t even remember why I was listening to it or how I found it. But I do remember watching this performance and thinking “I want to perform like that.”

OCD by Neil Hilborn This poem is a great explanation of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We even watched it in one of my psychology classes. It also shows how people without OCD view people with OCD. My favorite line? “I can’t breathe because he only kisses her once, he doesn’t care if it’s perfect.”

Elephant Engine High Dive Revival by Buddy Wakefield My junior year English teacher used to play this poem for us on bad days. Part of me is reminded of David Sedaris, part of me is left confused, and the rest of me gets it without having to completely understand.

Cat Poem by the Brave New Voices Los Angeles Team I’ve watched these girls perform both online and in person. They’re just as hilarious in person as on stage. I also love how they use this poem to make fun of slam poetry. They’re great!

We Boys by the Homeword Asheville NC Brave New Voices Team I never went to Brave New Voices with Homeword, but these are the people I competed against in high school. This poem was written my junior year when feminism was becoming a larger part of pop culture. To boil it all down, these are the reasons boys need gender equality too. (Also, just FYI, this is very explicit).

Do you have a favorite slam poem?

Celebrating Langston Hughes

Today is February first. Not only does today mark the beginning of Black History Month, it’s the birthday of one of America’s celebrated writers: Langston Hughes.

Langston Hughes was born in 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. Hughes first started writing poetry while living with his grandmother in Lincoln, Illinois and published his first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, in 1926. His first novel, Not Without Laughter, was published in 1930. Hughes is known for his portrayals of life as an African American. His writing, as well as his life, helped to shape the Harlem Renaissance. Possibly his most famous work is the poem Dream Deferred, which is what I’d like to share with you today. The poem talks about the “American dream” as it applied to blacks living in America during the 1920’s through the 1960’s. Even though the imagery is gore-y and gruesome, I still claim this poem as one of my favorites from Hughes’ works.

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

I’d also like to share a poem of his called I, Too. The lyrical nature of this poem is absolutely beautiful, and the message is so empowering. I remember reading this poem aloud, as a class, in high school. Like the last, this poem also speaks about life for blacks in America in the ’20s and ’60s.

quote-i-too-sing-america-i-am-the-darker-brother-they-send-me-to-eat-in-the-kitchen-when-company-langston-hughes-37-19-74

Spotify also has a playlist of Hughes reading his poetry, which I’d really recommend. Nothing quite beats hearing a poet read their own work! You can find the playlist by clicking the link HERE.