first week of university

“what’s on your mind, mary?”

but by everything i mean
the important things
let me break that down a little more
and how there’s never enough of it
and how i have enough
but it doesn’t feel like it
and how I’m giving off the same intensity
as the 4000 other humans here
just trying to figure it out
clenched fists and a painfully open heart
challenged and exhausted
pushed and prodded in ways
my brain and soul didn’t know
they could stretch

seminars that boil my blood the way
only my family did
and they break me down
from the inside out
the way they told me having children did.

this is my reconstruction
delayed a few years
but i took the time
to design
a master plan.
this is what education is supposed to be
and ultimately
40 hours a week of shots
to the heart.
the brain comes second
regardless of your discipline
even if thats the muscle worked
those neurons firing
mean nothing
unless you’ve shed some blood.

not meant to condescend
but to help me ascend
above concepts.
echoing the questions
I’ve been asking over and over
to boxes and talking faces
just waiting for their turn to scream back
i was so tired
of typing into boxes
words on a screen were not enough
to make the difference
my heart
in that order
are living here
and now
to create.

i didn’t survive the kind of fear
that makes it impossible to hear
anything beyond
what i think
they’re saying
just so i could show up here
another island away
to give this another shot
with half my heart
i sped through 18-25
barely alive
trying to kill everyone on the road
as i ran myself over
just to feel
my beating heart.

now my pulse is racing
in any given hour
of every day
Facebook asks me
“whats on your mind, mary?”
and i say everything
not everything meaning nothing
because now i mean what i say
everything meaning
the important things.

blood pressure rising
waistline bursting
acne finds its way
all over my face
far more than the guy I’ve chosen to date
there is not enough time in the day
to live the way I’ve been living
i didn’t need a bump in my stomach
a planted seed to show me
life is precious
i just needed to find
the value of my life

and now as I’m riding
this interconnected web of highways
not from the unlicensed speeding driver’s seat
but as a lifelong passenger
i don’t complain about the traffic anymore
because i realize this road
is an expressway
and someone else’s pain
paid my tolls

the weight
the pressure
the pain for once
is not just mine
intergenerational expectation and my unshaken desire
to disprove the Myths

this is a first world expressway
learning through education
this is what it should be
and if I’m going to figure it out this way
may i never forget
what it took
to walk these hallways
eat this shitty campus food
and engage
in these boundary-pushing conversations
that break me from the inside out
so my indigenous classmates can find
their home
and heal
one layer at a time

so if Facebook is asking
this is how my first week of university is going so far

© Mary dela Torre, 2017

public poetryMary