Poem – “self portrait (in bloom)”

when i was in the 8th grade,
i wore baggy pants
and my bookbag on my chest
because i was not bold enough
to throw the monkey
off my back.

inside of the backpack was
a lack of confidence
weighing me down.

i had not found
my voice.

this is the portrait
of a black boy
in bloom,
the brown eyed baby
whose birth’s purpose
was to unearth poems.

when i was in the 9th grade,
i became brilliant
at being silent
and building up barriers,
lost in the soundproof walls of my mind,

trying to find my voice.

this is a portrait
of a bashful teenager in bloom,
blind to the way
he was bruising his inner strength,
searching and searching
for a voice.

then poetry saved me.
poetry brought me back
to my core.
poetry blossomed the boy
who didn’t know
he had wings,
poetry made me

when i was sitting down to write this poem,
i brushed off any bad feelings
about myself
because i broke free from
the monkey on my back
and unpacked
a beautiful,
and brave voice.

this is the portrait
of me, now.