Poem by Nolka Bates '16

April 27, 2016 by Guest Student Author

The Origin Story of My Concrete Bones

today, I wrote my 44th love poem to the ocean

and exhaled in a fragile whisper: “god, I couldn’t be more bored."

a tiny corner of my brain sighed, having given up shouting “move on!”


you see, I keep painting the same dream:

a thunderstorm, a midnight sky, a science class,

and the words “everything tends toward chaos and dissolution.”


but look: I spent five years living only at midnight, running drowsy through daylight,

forever hungry for more than just sleep’s half eaten bones.

and last year, when all the lights in the world turned off by “accident”

I stood in the dark spitting out the last truth I had left:

that I only ever wanted to be enough.


yet I tried to make them like me, even then, and I googled again and again:

“how can I seem soft and unassuming as I say that the fire in me could sink ships and burn up galaxies”


and then I turned eighteen and my hands, no longer shaking, said to me:

“listen, stop trying to cut up your anger

and stitch it back together submissive and pretty.

forget about having control, your body is an avalanche, your heart a fire-cracker,

and they were made not be contained but to devastate

and explode. ”


i sat.


          and listened.


                                          and held my breath.


                                                                       and then I tasted blood in my mouth.


and god, I should have seen this coming,

I have a thousand half-formed phrases in my head and a body full of selfish blood.

I carry an oppressive heat in my veins and dirty bolts of lightning in my lungs.

I’m out of stamps and out of love from writing too many letters to ghosts

and when I need ten good ways to tell you I’m angry, I can’t even think of two.


but there is one thing you should know.

you see, I am no longer desperately bloody and breathless, wanting to impress you.

and good luck trying to crush me in your fists and hold me at a safe distance

because I am so much better at being loud and carelessly hopeful than I used to be.

and I’ve burnt all the bones of my fingers free of shame.


in the end, it really doesn’t matter if you listen to anything I say.


you can turn off the lights and close your eyes

but I’ll still blow the world away.


















Written by Guest Student Author

Periodically students volunteer or are asked to write for the Stoneleigh-Burnham blog.

Filed Under: student voice, National Poetry Month