All the Unyielding Things

Spread the Fire

There are patches of paint
chipping away at themselves
on my bedroom wall.
Sometimes I help,
scratching at the white surface,
justifying the destruction
because this house isn’t ours
and it’s going to fall apart eventually.
I just want to be a mitigator.
I just want to be a little something
to take the edge off.

They are minor islands made bigger.
I wish to be like them, spreading by lessening,
the way a bad feeling is everything
until it becomes bad news
and then old news.

When I lie in bed, sweaty from stubborn summer air
I stare at the wall like it’s a knee scraped by gravel,
or a rash I can’t get rid of,
or a Kool-Aid red stain on a new shirt
that turns into an old shirt,
too far gone to be looked at as a loss.

I just want them gone–
all the unyielding things.

Sometimes I call out for someone to help me
remove what is ready to collapse,
what has made my sense of self a sense of urge
even if they have to get under my skin.
I realize I don’t need them.
I can wait for natural causes because
inevitably, it’s going to fall apart.




Spread the Fire is a Youth Speaks workshop series facilitated by YS Poet Mentor, Hieu Minh Nguyen. The series aims to demystify the publishing side of poetry. In the workshop, poets learn how to refine and prepare their poems for publication. The fire you spit on stage, can also scorch the page. Burning down the borders between page and stage, poets learn how their poems can gain a new life by accessing a readership through publishing. 


The only life in sight: the “E” flashing in the exit sign a few feet above my eye line.

Years Left

we will take and take until there is no more
and then what?