Follow us on:

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

Published on

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