I wrote this 2001 when I took a break from writing angry breakup poetry-lol. As an immigrant that grew up here, I’ve struggled with my identity for most of my life. Issues with identity are also another trait of BPD. I think this was a time in my life when I was especially reflecting on this part of my identity because I was become aware that men were fetishizing me.
Caught between two worlds what am I made up of more hopefully I won’t ever have to choose sometimes I wish to just cut loose
Too Latina for the American side Too Americanizada for the Latino side So what is the politically correct term for someone like me? Not American, not born here Not fully Latina either for I lack that latin allure
So I’ll call myself one of a kind a girl with much Latin beauty and an American mind like a delicious half and half cream whose taste is an amazing mixed dream
I wrote this poem in January of 2004 when I was frustrated with Matt and blamed him for my life going awry. Looking back, it was misplaced blame on a situation that only I had control over. At the time, it was much easier to blame Matt rather than take a look at myself and how I was responsible for the mess I made of my life.
So I wrote this poem in January of 2004 when I was dating my husband and maybe I was foreshadowing my future with him (sort of-haha). I think that maybe I was paranoid he had someone else at the time because he was such a private person. Reflecting on this now is kind of strange because I was the one that ended up with the indiscretions. I was 22 when I wrote this and I have I think that this is a good example of “splitting” meaning that I went to black and white thinking about him.
I wrote this in 2003 about Lucas. I was again obsessing about him.
Everyday I think about you more and more My heart can’t help itself I close my eyes for a brief second and your wonderful and attached self is what my mind sees. I catch myself missing you and it doesn’t make sense to miss something I never really had. You did something to me without having to do anything. Maybe you accidentally put a spell on me . I still can’t figure out why you, Mr.Forbidden has become my new unrequited love obsession Maybe love really does come out of the least expected place Or maybe I will always Desire the one that I can’t have.
I wrote this in May of 2003 when one of my close friends had a miscarriage.
It’s so funny and ironic When something bad happens most people says things Like “it’s God’s way” or the famous “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” It makes you wonder if there are actual people out there who would say, “It’s okay to be mad at God’s way” or “It’s alright to be weak instead of strong” or that it’s perfectly fine to scream out loud “FUCK THE WORLD” If there is a least one person like this, I want them to become my new “best friend”
I wrote this in April of 2002 when I was depressed and felt empty. Chronic feelings of emptiness is a trait of living with BPD. It’s rough sometimes.
I’m at a very bad place I struggle and struggle to come out of this miserable and horrible place But somehow feel confined With a helluva strong glue at the bottom of my pitiful feel Stuck to the pit of here( my life) I continue to Dream and dream The impossible dream To someday become unstuck
I wrote this in March of 2003 when I went back to Hawaii. I had a lot of conflicting feelings about this trip.
I’m back here Where it all started A place I once called home But now I’m not so sure I always wonder if I should’ve stayed But now I see why I had to go away It is filled with both Beautiful memories of the loved ones I left behind And ugly memories of the ones that left me behind when I needed them the most I don’t regret coming back Because it’s what I needed In order to heal and move on from you my past, and let you go
Yo no quería hacer La misma historia De la mujer usada Pero al ver la indiferencia con la que me tratas Yo veo que para ti No tengo nada de importancia Que para ti Nada soy y nunca seré Pero un dia Te vas a lamentar Cuando después de un tiempo De nuevo me miraras Y te moriras Al no poder tocarme Y los remordimientos vendrán Por haberme menos preciado Y por haber sido conmigo Un desgraciado
I wrote this in 2003 about the first Andrew. Yes, I have a hard time letting go of someone after a breakup especially if I really loved them. I think one of the reasons I thought of the first Andrew often was because he was one of the few guys in my romantic life who didn’t objectify me.
You stay on my mind Even after a long long time You haunt me in my dreams I wake up in tears that form a stream Then you appear in my poetry Your memory lives inside of me And at last I ask myself why? I can’t let you go, my wonder guy
I wrote this 20 years ago on November 1st right before the great breakup of 2001. I wish I could say that I get over breakups quicker now but that would be a lie. After fights or breakups with partners, I seem to always go back to the girl I was in my teens and 20s. My brain is wired that way and I’ve accepted it. It’s something called age regression that shows up in people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Fear of abandonment is so severe that some of us will feel like we are literally dying after a breakup. Some of us will stop eating, some of us will sleep for days, some of will self harm or have suicidal ideation. With each breakup, I’ve noticed I’ve acquired healthier coping mechanisms. Nowadays, I’ve learned to listen more to what I need in order to heal than what doing what I used to do to escape the pain of heartbreak. My method now is cut off all contact with the ex, exercise, write a LOT and do loads of self care. I’m careful not to fall into any quick escapes from my feelings like going on tinder and trying to find someone new. Do I think I will ever get better at accepting a breakup like a normal person? I don’t know but I hope so.While I’m thankful for all of the inspiration and growth that comes from every breakup ;it’s also very overwhelming, exhausting and draining at times.
You showed up unexpectedly in my life Like a pleasant surprise Calling and seeing me every day Making me dinner and leaving me roses on my dashboard I thought “finally, the one has come” Suddenly all of those nice things started becoming scarce The dinners, the roses, seeing me became non-existent Even talking to you on the phone has become too much of a bother of you I’m no fool, I know exactly where this doomed thing is headed Pretty soon you’ll give me some lame excuse As to why “we” can no longer be And my heart will shatter into pieces yet again There will be nothing left to say I’ll just realize once again You’re just like every other fool
I wrote this on January 1st, 2003 about this dude that I hooked up with a week prior. I was upset about John and of course wanted to escape from my feelings of rejection. So I started once again seeking validation from men and ended up hooking up with some guy from the bar.
The night I met you I was drunk and blue Because of that impossible love Who said I wasn’t good enough So I decided to drink my pain away and then you came my way With your charming and smooth manner I should’ve known you were a player But you told me everything That I wanted to believe in How you had never met anyone like me And that you wanted us to be It sound almost too good to be true But i was feeling lonely too So i decided to give in to you Afterwards you promised to call But instead you went awol And many days later I sit here In a river of foolish tears Wondering why why why I always fall for the same false lines
I wrote this poem in 2019 when I was reflecting on a past memory of my oldest son playing with Legos shortly after he was diagnosed with autism in 2003. At the time I was 22 and absolutely clueless at what his future would look like and it scared me. I was also clueless as to how to help him but knew that it would be up to bear the responsibility of making the right choices for so he could succeed. Being a parent in itself is rough; but being a parent a child with special needs is a different kind of rough.
Legos are scattered everywhere, as he tries to find pieces that perfectly fit Legos of different sizes, shapes, and colors waiting to be put together by a little perfectionist Legos that help create the universe that swirls around in his head Legos that help bridge him to others Legos that make him seem almost typical to outsiders Legos-beautiful-legos Hard to decipher the puzzle of what the pieces will become just little its creator
McKenzie Harpe’s debut collection, When Pens Became Megaphones is aptly named because of how powerful the writing is in this book. The poems in this book are passionate and compelling in examining a variety of themes. A few of the themes covered in this book are mental health, relationships, family, racism, and social injustice. . The book is divided into four sections which are, “Speak With Yo’ Mind”, “Speak with Yo’ Soul”, “Speak with Yo Fist” and “Speak with Yo’ Heart”. Harpe does not mince words or is subtle to express herself in her poetry and that is something I greatly admire. I also want to mention that the format and presentation of the book is very professional and flawless in how it’s laid out making it very appealing for the reader. I will discuss 2 poems from each section that really spoke to me.
The first section “Speak With Yo’ Mind” talks frankly and honestly about anxiety and the feelings that come along with it and how the poet copes. The poet presents a true understanding of how some people feel with the burden of anxious thoughts and how trying to find peace with that can feel like an uphill battle. A poem that spoke to me about dealing with anxiety was Medicine. The poem Medicine talks about the healthy coping mechanism that music can be for someone with mental health issues. This is presented in the fourth stanza with the lines “music is my only redemption/the only prevention/for lost hope” (Harpe,15) As a person with mental health issues myself, music is one of my healthiest coping mechanisms. When the world gets too “noisy” for me, I tend to put my earbuds in and play something to either calm me down or hype me up depending on my mood. Another poem from this section that resonated with me was Evicted. Evicted presents a picture about kicking anxiety out. This is presented when the poet states, “see, I only came to organize/my thoughts on my hanger, /but now I’m cleaning out more than my closet. /I’m kicking you out, anxiety” (Harpe,17) There is a power in that verse which shows the poet taking her power back from anxiety taking up space in her mind. As a person who also suffers from anxiety, I completely get it.
The second section pays a tribute to where the poets come from and her family. Harpe does this by talking about the women in her family as well as her friends. One poem that I especially loved was My Day Ones where she captures the ease that comes from long term friendships or connections. This is stated in the poem, “a necessary vent/ after years/of personal growth/and that vibes still the same” (Harpe,31) This poem resonated with me because it reminded me of the connection I have with my childhood friends from Hawaii. Weeks or months can pass by without us talking and out of the blue one of us will say something in our group chat and we’ll catch up on life. Another poem I absolutely loved from this section was Auntie. It displays the resilience and strength of a woman who has breast cancer. Harpe shows this woman’s strength from the first line, “I know a woman/who’s not afraid of monsters” (Harpe,36). This poem resonates with me when I think about breast cancer survivors and victims of breast cancer . Another thing I like about this poem is that Harpe captures the essence of this woman going through something really harrowing in a way that respects her humanity.
The third section Harpe explores the great social injustices that have been happening and still happen in this country. Harpe does this by talking frankly and honestly about racism and white privilege. The poem Armed is one of my favorite poems in the whole book. It speaks about how words can be weapons of change. When Harpe says, “I load my pen with thoughts/the aim with precision/ spit fire on these pages/ and hope you see my vision/ this is more than just a poem (Harpe,59), she speaks the truth with how people tend to underestimate the power that artists can have when to comes to social change. This poem reminded me that one of the reasons I write is to give a voice to the marginalized immigrant community that I come from. Another poem that really resonated with me in this section was the poem The Five Senses. This poem addresses how white privilege continues to undermine and oppress minorities in this country. I was blown away by how the poet used all of five senses to do this. For example, for the sense of hearing in stanza 2, the poet states “what does it sound like? /hearing a native language/and calling it a threat. /yelling at minorities/to go back home/to places they never even met/like we didn’t forget/you never discovered/this country to begin with, (Harpe,66). That stanza gives me goosebumps from how powerful it is in addressing racists and calling out their hypocrisy. This part in this poem really resonated too since I have been subject to prejudice and discrimination due to my ethnicity and former immigration status.
The fourth section “Speak with Yo’ Heart” explores themes related to love and it’s not just centered on romantic love, but it also talks about self-love. I really resonate with the poem Dramatic. In the first stanza the poet states “when you date a poet/understand that your attitude/will become similes/your emotions/will become metaphors/your actions/will be the starting line/for each stanza ( Harpe,83) How true is this for many poets who will take their inspiration from their romantic relationships. Some of us even have a blog dedicated to this type of poetry (😉😏). Another poem that really stood out from this section was Saving Grace. In this poem, Harpe talks about her “toxic relationship with anxiety” and how it has impacted her. A powerful verse in this poem was “this time I felt sad/lonely/and nonexistent. /turns out, he had changed into this person/called depression (Harpe,93). Harpe shows how agonizing it feels like for a lot of us when our anxiety turns into depression. I also want to mention that the end of this poem was very hope and filled with faith. Once again, Harpe captures the painful truth that most of us with anxiety and depression must live with.
With her debut collection, Harpe presents an amazing talent for being open and honest about life, identity, social justice, and mental health. My only complaint about this book is that I wanted to read more. Yes, that’s how good this poetry collection was. I don’t usually read a book in one sitting but Harpe’s writing captivated me in such a way that I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes poetry that’s inspiring and empowering. I look forward from reading more from this poet. Below is a link to When Pens Become Megaphones
I wrote this in April of 2003 about the first Andrew, the guy I fell in love when I was 16. I had gone to Hawaii in April and went to the beach we use to go to and I wrote this poem. Yes, I was still having nostalgia about a short relationship from 5 years ago. One of my BPD traits is being obsessed with some of my romantic partners after the relationship has ended after a long time.
So I take a walk on the beach Where we used to come And make promises of young love But like the waves of this tumultuous ocean Our lives took turbulent and separate turns and our beloved promises Got forgotten somewhere in between And for some reason I keep thinking A new tide will come in and I’ll turn around one day And you’ll take me in With a welcoming embrace And fate will remember us Once again