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  • Soft Poems / I’ve Been under many Ceilings

    Two poems.

    Throwing Bricks
    Throwing Bricks (excerpt) by Von Sumner

    Two poems.

    A stereotypical view on poetry is that it deals with “soft” issues like philosophy, love, nature, etc. While sitting in a creative writing class that did indeed focus on one of these topics, the idea for “soft poems” was born. The poet wanted a poem that was the antithesis to what he was reading in class that day. As for “i have seen many ceilings”, the poet is finding a creative and indirect way to tell his lover that he has experienced much but that those experiences have led him to a place he doesn’t want to leave.

    soft poems

    i’m tired of soft poems today
    i want my words to
    jump up and stab a racist cop
    put on gloves
    sweat and bruise and bleed
    help a migrant pick a thorny crop
    i want my words
    to grab a brick and throw it strong
    rearrange themselves
    into a Nirvana song
    i want my words
    to make the black graves of
    mississippi hum
    grab a stick
    and pound that drum
    grab that gun
    load it
    cock it
    sit in the hands of Che Guevara’s sons
    i want no less
    than stress
    than a mess of muddy poems
    feeding the minds of muddy homes
    i want my words…
    i want my words to be keys
    to minds, to chests
    to cells in jails
    want them printed
    on the rags in Molotov cocktails
    i want my words
    to flow and be off rhyme

    i’m tired of soft poems today
    i want my words to change the time
    i want my words to change the time


    i’ve been under many ceilings

    i’ve been under many ceilings
    seen, stared, glimpsed

    the first
    a new womb hospital room ceiling
    sleeping somewhere in my memory
    of bright lights
    infused with life and new smells

    the one above my first bed
    tall strong
    aged with scuffs, scrapes
    and ant-size holes
    remnants of pencil throwing
    ice-cream fights
    and tacks

    my first dorm room
    off-white peeling paint
    possibly pregnant with asbestos

    my first apartment
    that mayonnaise, goose-bumply
    mother to a rattling ceiling fan

    cold unfamiliar ceilings
    of hotel rooms
    in just-here-for-the-weekend cities

    ceilings of houses
    not quite home

    random ceilings
    above random houses
    of random people

    dentist’s office and
    one night stands
    with floral prints that don’t
    ease the uneasiness

    but tonight
    i slip off my socks
    lay in bed
    and remember

    wood, tile, paint
    vents, bugs, webs

    and think
    i have seen and slept under many ceilings

    today i have decided
    i want to see the rest
    with you at my side

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    Robert Tinajero

    Robert Tinajero Robert Tinajero is Director of Writing Studies and Co-Director of the Race Relations Institute at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, TX. He is a native of El Paso, TX, and enjoys sports, writing, and travelling. His favorite musical artists are U2, Jay-Z, Kings of Leon, and J. Cole. His favorite color is blue and he loves tacos. Watch his TedX talk and read his pieces on Hip Hop at

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