The poetic city: “What it’s like…” by Dhandre Joseph

Editor’s Note: NolaVie is proud to partner with young tech apprentices in the Earn and Learn program at the Cowen Institute at Tulane University. The program offers intensive, career-focused technical and academic skills training through partnering institutions Bard Early College and Delgado Community College. Dhandre Joseph took part in the Bard Early College Seminar, and wrote the poem “What it’s Like Becoming your New Self (For Those of you who Haven’t).” This is based off the style and structure of Patricia Smith’s poem, reinterpreted by Dhandre. 

Dhandre Joseph (photo by: Kelley Crawford)


What it’s Like Becoming your New Self (For Those of you who Haven’t)

First of all, it’s being 7 years old and

Not being popular. Like you’re the odd man

out, like no one loves you. It’s like

going out with a group of friends

and you’re the only one without someone

to talk to. It’s like walking in front of everyone with

lights on you

and no one see you. It’s seeing people around

you grow older, growing bigger, growing faster.

It’s playing football until you can’t

it’s marching in parades until your feet bleed

it’s laughing with friends til you lose your voice. It’s learning to say

fuck hate and fuck with positivity. It’s holding your head up to all the trash

talkers and just keep moving forward.

It’s finally seeming like you don’t have to be

like everyone else

it’s just

being yourself.


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