Poetry is in a good place. Its popularity has increased since Amanda Gorman’s captivating Inauguration reading. Attendance is up at virtual readings, and self-proclaimed poetry haters are suddenly talking about poetry and sharing poems. We are grateful to Gorman for giving poetry this well-deserved PR boost! Today, we kick off National Poetry Month with “My Honest Poem” by another impressive spoken-word poet Rudy Francisco.
I was born on July 27th.
That makes me a Leo. I don’t really
know what that means.
I weigh 145 lbs.
I donʼt know how to swim
And Iʼm a sucker for a girl with a nice smile and clean sneakers.
Iʼm still learning how to whisper.
Iʼm often loud in places where I should be quiet
Iʼm often quiet in places where I should be loud.
I was born feet first and Iʼve been backwards ever since.
I like ginger ale… a lot.
Iʼve been told that I give really bad hugs.
People say it feels like Iʼm trying to escape.
Sometimes it’s because I am.
Secretly, I get really nervous
Every time someone gets close enough to hear me breathe.
I have this odd fascination with things like sand castles and ice sculptures
I assume itʼs because I usually find myself dedicating time to things that will only
last a few moments. It’s also why I tend to fall in love with women who will never love me back.
I know that sounds crazy but itʼs easier than it seems
And to be honest I think itʼs safer that way
You see relationships they often remind that Iʼm not afraid of heights or falling
But I am scared of what’s going to happen the moment
That my body hits the ground. Iʼm clumsy.
Yesterday I tripped over my self-esteem
Landed on my pride and it shattered like an iPhone with a broken face
Now I canʼt even tell whoʼs trying to give me a compliment.
Iʼve never been in the military but I have this purple heart.
I got it from beating myself up over things I canʼt fix.
I know this sounds weird but sometimes I wonder what my bed sheets say about me
when Iʼm not around. I wonder what the curtains would do if they found out about all
the things Iʼve done behind their backs.
I’ve got a hamper thatʼs over flowing with really really loud mistakes
And a grave yard in my closet.
Iʼm afraid that if I let you see my skeletons
Youʼd grind my bones into powder and get high on my fault lines.
Hi, my name is Rudy.
I enjoy frozen yogurt, people watching, and laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
But I donʼt allow myself to cry as often as I need to.
I have solar power confidence.
I have a battery operated smile.
My hobbies include:
Editing my life story,
Hiding behind metaphors,
And trying to convince my shadow
That Iʼm someone worth following.
I donʼt know much, but I do know this:
I know heaven is full of music.
I know God listens to my heartbeat on his iPod.
It reminds him
that we still got work to do.
I love the open and honest style of this poem. Imagine if we actually introduced ourselves in this way.
Share any lines that struck you.
Try writing your own honest poem introducing yourself in this confessional style. Start with some general facts such as your favorite foods, interests, likes and dislikes. Add in some things you’ve been told (born feet first, give bad hugs), a few worries and uncertainties, and maybe some areas of improvement you’re still working on. Let us know how it goes.
“My Honest Poem” by Rudy Francisco, from Helium, 2017. Copyrighted material used for educational purposes.
Image: daysoftheyear.com National Poetry Month 2021