My name is Hanna. I’m a fifteen-year-old writer and photographer. Vanessa requested that I record a video of a piece of slam poetry I wrote so it could be posted on here, and so here I am.
The poem in text is below. Enjoy!
few fourth graders have many kind words to rehearse –
they’re too preoccupied with trivialities,
their minds pulled taught by parental advisories
those not yet questioned and dismissed
while vying for distance and freedom.
their interests are flitting across television screens,
their eyes focused on the cartoon shapes
directed by their power-hungry hands
and residing also housed beneath the porcelain lids of cookie jars
beckoning to be lifted.
go right ahead,” she says, “help yourself.”
they’re brimming with milk chocolate morsels
and oozing golden oil all over each other
a dogpile of aimless soldiers
and I can smell them – homely, rich, sweet, evocative
my stomach is lurching and I’m embarrassed
your thighs are barely as wide as my forearm that’s reaching out
to take what you’re handing me.
sweet temptation taking the reins again
I shove pastry after pastry down my fat girl gullet
and when I finally take a breather I see the half-eaten cookie
sitting unattended on the napkin you set out for yourself
and you ask me if I’ve ever considered dieting.
I hadn’t. But believe me – I sure as hell have since then.
Can you read my story in the lines crossing my thighs and arms,
in the hair collected around my shower’s drain
and in these sunken, tired eyes I keep open with
cup after cup of black coffee
(which, by the way, I also drink
because it makes me nauseous with anxiety and
of course paranoia is better than being a fat girl) ?
I’m thin now – or at least that’s what I’m told,
what people have led me to believe
while the mirror spits another story my way
as I stand before it stark naked in the morning
the faded stretch marks catching the light
and the loose skin subtracting from what
I have always wanted to be.
I set my feet apart and extend my fingers
to measure the distance between my thighs
trying to convince myself they haven’t grown;
I must keep walking
surround by my cloud of quasi-confidence
my thoughts uninterrupted
by the sensation of flesh kissing flesh,
because God knows I need to look like a high-end skeleton
strutting a catwalk beneath blinding lights –
one of those girls who, in the case of being fired,
would easily find another job standing in the corner of a high school science room
to be studied by students trying identify each protruding bone.
and at night, hiding between the sheets
I’ve made a habit of counting the notches in my spine
and assuring myself that each aching rib still juts out just-so
and that my rings slip off of my fingers easefully;
hands help limp, I watch as they fall and make a beeline across the floor
I get up to chase them and I think, “
at least I’m still skinny.”
and with each tired movement my stomach twists
and my elbows click
and my neck is floods with that familiar ache
FEED ME, FEED ME!” my body cries,
so feeble after all these years
yet still too determined to cough out in conclusion
I slip the rings back on
and return to my regime of poking and prodding
in pursuit of that sweet, sanctimonious kick
and I think to myself –
she, back in the fourth grade with her pencil-thin thighs
and the eating habits of a bird feeding on fucking amphetamines
can go take a walk in the shoes of fat girl for a few painful,
chafing, sore-backed, weak-kneed, and disheartened miles
for all it matters to me now.