21 by Patrick Roche

One word for the introduction to this poem: Goosebumps.



21. My father is run over by a car.
He is passed out in the road with a blood alcohol content
4 times the legal limit.
I do not cry.
Four months later,
The nurses lose his pulse,
And I wonder whose life
Flashed before his eyes.
Rewinding VHS tapes
Old home videos
19. I haven’t brought a friend home in four years.
18. My mother sips the word “divorce”
Her mouth curls at the taste
Like it burns going down.
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If— by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

Explaining My Depression to My Mother: A Conversation by Sabrina Benaim

This piece is performed and written by Sabrina Benaim, one of my favorite spoken word poets. To emphasize the beauty of this poem, I’d say I don’t know how many times I replayed this. I know I replayed it a number of times during my bus rides on my way to school. I replayed it a couple of times before closing my eyes to sleep. This went on for about a couple of weeks and I replayed this so many times I could hear her voice inside my head as I read the transcript. It’s been a while. And I still love this poem. I really hope you’d appreciate it as much as I did. 🙂


Explaining My Depression to My Mother: A Conversation
Mom, my depression is a shape shifter.
One day it is as small as a firefly in the palm of a bear,
The next, it’s the bear.
On those days I play dead until the bear leaves me alone.
I call the bad days: “the Dark Days.”
Mom says, “Try lighting candles.”
When I see a candle, I see the flesh of a church, the flicker of a flame,
Sparks of a memory younger than noon.
I am standing beside her open casket.
It is the moment I learn every person I ever come to know will someday die.
Besides Mom, I’m not afraid of the dark.
Perhaps, that’s part of the problem.

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Gone are the days
When it was so easy
So reckless, so careless
So young and so free

When happiness meant
Gumamela-sprinkled mud pies
Baked under the sun
Surrounded by a twig fort
Easily undone

When sadness meant
Getting lost at the grocery
Tugging at people’s shirts
Looking up
Only to find a strange face

When I tried to catch up
To playmates
Instead of deadlines

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