Posted by: unresigned | February 23, 2009

Flood, by Meliza Banales

In high school I competed in Iowa High School Speech religiously. I still hold IHSSA very close to my heart and was recently reminiscing about Individual Speech competition my senior year. I was the only person from my school selected to perform at All State that year and I went in the category of poetry with this slam style poem by Meliza Banales. It still haunts my dreams and I find myself referencing it often in my life as a poet when I feel that poetry is the only way to fully express myself.

Peace, Jill

So here it is for you to enjoy:

Flood, by Meliza Banales

I wanna write you a poem
because I think it will fix you
because I think it will make things right again
because I think I might forget important subjects
like bread, dying, and love

I wanna write you a poem
because I was never taught how to do
anything else
because no one in my family told me I couldn’t dream
and because so many in your family told you
dreaming was wasteful

I wanna write you a poem
because things make sense
when they’re broken into lines
things that are broken
can be called verse instead of disasters
things that are broken
can be fixed
             even if it’s just with words
             even if I can’t find the words at that moment
             you can find them later in this poem

I wanna write you a poem
because I’ve made so many mistakes
broken promises and missed chances
to say things the beautiful way,
              the breath-of-fresh-air-way,
              the right way in a one way situation

because I think there is magic in here
I think there are prayer songs in here
I think
if I wander around long enough
I will know what it means to be
here

I wanna write you a poem
because for two pages or three minutes or six-hundred words
I am strong,
I am spiritual,
I am praised,
I am appreciated,
I am selfish,
I am noticed,
I am encouraged,
I am good enough for this world and all its faults
I am at fault and I take responsibility

I wanna write you a poem
give you something to remember the good in me
                               the descent human-being in me
                               the one who’ll loan out her last five bucks in me
                               the patient me
                               the still standing after all this time in me
when you’re angry at me
and think that holding onto me is a waste of your energy

so that you will know my name
whisper it in my ear dozens of times
           in dozens of streets
           in dozens of cities and parks and bars and neighborhoods
so that you will know how to smell me in the dark

I wanna write you a poem
because it’s the most expensive thing to do
because it’s the path less chosen
because it’s the craziest, stupidist, most ridiculous risk I could ever take
and I want to spend it on you
    I want to throw it on you
    I want to shower it, scream it, blanket it, push it, smother it, hand it,
on you

I wanna write you a poem
because, really, it’s all I’ve got

and I know you may not believe that —
you may think there a hundreds of other ways I could communicate
to you
you may think
poetry shouldn’t be the center
that split pavement and loose vins on brick walls and ghettos and noise
shouldn’t be all I have

but despite what you think
despite the doubts you might have in me
despite miles of things I may never come to understand in this universe
despite all of this,
I’ll give it to you anyway
this writing
this wanting
this poem
is yours.

 

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