At the JavaMonkey in Decatur, Georgia on Spoken Word Open Mic Night

“I am not a poet, but I enjoyed what I saw today. I’m the last act tonight because I wrote this poem during the break [and signed the list of performers last as a result]. I’ve never written poetry, but this is how I feel.

If someone put a pillow over your face, you’d fight back too

Pillows are soft

And you’re using one to protect me

But what you’ve actually done is erected

a tiny, invisible prison, one that I haven’t elected

But there is no election, not for me

My vote is a useless expression

It’s influence constantly neglected

But you say that you’re trying to protect me

I am young

I cannot vote for my congress or president

There is a repugnant, oppressive precedent

that dictates that I cannot vote, I cannot drive, I cannot work, I cannot be outside of school at day, or outside of the house at night, I cannot sign contract, I cannot get loans, I cannot flee my parent’s home, no matter how oppressive or disdainful because a cop will arrest me halfway across the  country for the crime of wanting to be free

But no longer is this me

I turned 18 eleven days ago

In one swoop, you’ve given me my freedom, my rights, my vote

12 days ago, I was incompetent

but 11 days ago, I’ve been granted my humanness

I’ve seen the arbitrary nature of your ageist laws for years

You said when I turned 18 that I would stop with my whining and tears

And I’ve considered that notion and possessed that fear

Now that I’m 18,

Now that I’ve gotten my maturity in the mail,

Now that my brain has started to function and my ability to reason has finally emerged,

I will fight harder against your ageist laws that when I was a person in training’