I wrote this in March of 2022 for World Bipolar Day.
I wear the stigma of a bipolar diagnosis and hide this big secret This secret has been a part of me since my teens This secret explains my sometimes uncontrollable insanity This secret at times robs me of my sleep This secret has taken me on many fun and lustful adventures This secret makes me write, write, write so I don’t want to die, die, die I keep this secret and take medication for it But one day, I’ll scream out loud my mental health truth I’m bipolar 2 I’m not enough to ruin your life but just enough to fuck it up a little at a time
me acuesto en mi cama en una vida llena de mentiras fingiendo que estoy bien mientras guardo una miseria profunda dentro de mi misma esperando que un hombre me salve Esperando que mi destino se transforme espero, espero, espero que algo cambie en mi vida para que pare de obsessionar por que nunca soy suficiente
Thanks to learning about my BPD I’m finally free to be me There is a reason for my numbness and for why I’m such an emotional mess Genetics and trauma played a part for me constantly falling apart There is a reason for my impulsivity and for why I distort reality There is a reason for men running away from me when I go from being sweet to being crazy And now that I know I have BPD I can conquer the world of DBT I hope that after I’m more calm And stop going off like a bomb Hopefully I have more control over my emotions And there will no longer be hysterical explosions
quisiera ser una maga para que te olvides de mi para que nunca hubiese existido en tu vida porque me odio por haberte causado un mundo de dolor pero no vivimos en un cuento de hadas
Vivimos en una realidad dura donde soy incapaz de decirte algo para que tu dolor sea más fácil para superar lo único que puedo hacer es rezar por ti, desearte lo mejor, y esperar que algun dia encuentres el valor para empezar denuevo con alguien que te sepa amar
I never needed anyone to teach me how to love what I needed was understanding and acceptance while my love is kind and sweet most of the time my love also cannot be tamed at times when it gets wild and out of control it’s better to just ride the big wave of it until it is tamed and soft again it wasn’t that I didn’t know how to love It’s just that most don’t know how to handle it my kind of overwhelming love is a crazy kind of love it will hurt you, challenge you and bring conflict it will make you want to slap the shit out of me because yes it’s that intense but my kind of of love is always worthy
maldito sea por pensar que era una santa y colocarme en un pedestal la mujer de cual te enamoraste fue un mito de cuatro meses todo estaba bien con nosotros mientras me callaba no soportaba tus gritos que yo era una estúpida, una loca que siempre estaba equivocada Entonces aprendí a ser lo que querías una princesa sin una opinión pero no podía seguir con esta farsa me estaba matando adentro guardar todo que era importante en mi tuve que escoger entre tu y yo y me escogi a mi no te estoy pidiendo perdón o comprensión no mas te estoy dando la razón por terminar nuestro cuento de amor
I’m tired of the bustle and hustle that comes with my social status and the color of my skin Why wasn’t I raised with privilege and wealth instead of being raised with poverty and trauma? And I try and I try and I try to find a way out of this cruel existence but it’s futile I take pride in my never ending hustling but at times it feels so exhausting There seems to no end in sight for this fruitless fight
ojala que algun dia tu entiendas que nunca quise causarte daño pero tenía que rompernos no podíamos seguir viviendo con un adiós en limbo y empezar a odiarnos ya nos tocaba parar esta farsa donde fingimos amarnos donde fingimos toleranos donde perdíamos el tiempo en algo que ya no funciona
Soy el escándalo de mi generación marcho a mi ritmo propio desordenado sin pensar qué es lo correcto o moral soy una mujer cachonda y alegre que le gusta una variedad de amantes porque la vida es demasiado corta para seguir siendo una niña buena soy una mujer caótica siempre actuando sin pensamientos a las consecuencias soy una mujer que ahora se arriesga a vivir su vida con ganas y autenticidad
lo siento por ser una cobarde al evitarte debes de haberte dado cuenta que no soy la santa que colocaste en un altar que no soy la chica de tus sueños que nunca seré la madre de tus hijos estoy llena con remordimientos por esperar tanto tiempo en cortar nuestros lazos de amor ojala que tu no cuestiones tu valor porque no supe valorar tu amor ojala que encuentres a una mujer madura que te aprecie y no te quiere cambiar
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’ve had many Muses in my 41 years some have stayed my kids, my co-parent, my chosen family some have used me as a temporary destination countless friends and lovers they’ve abandoned me or I’ve abandoned them but all who have stayed or gone have inspired me in writing my life’s story through poetry so to my past, present, and future muses I am forever grateful for inspiring the most amazing and crazy creativity without you all, I wouldn’t have anything worth writing about-
borracha, me encontré en una cama extraña desnuda y vulnerable tratando de olvidar el pésimo dolor en mi corazón cubriendome con el calor de un hombre desconocido cedí a mis deseos salvajes para llenar el vacío que llevaba dentro de mí
this year I lost myself in poetry to help with unexpected loss and grief to make sense of my nonsense and I discovered my voice And I discovered my brand of crazy and there’s hardly a day that goes by without using poetry as therapy I no longer filter myself, I no longer judge myself I allow whatever swims in my mind to land on paper and sometimes it profound and great Sometimes it’s emotional and angry but most of the time it heals something within Maybe poetry should be my new lover because it’s always rescued me from my chaos of emotional instability