July 11, 2020

Alcatraz of Balloons

posted on: Thursday March 5, 2020

by Jessica Polanco ’21

In Lil Rhody somewhere,
There was a young girl,
With her mind a bit too into romance and a spine still learning to straighten.
I write things down for a living.
I spend days pissed off at gravity or,
Amazed at the fact that 7 billion people are breathing as we speak.
I do these things and you call me an artist.
You say of sorts,
I should be a musician of the heart,
But you don’t know me or the hells.
And GOD,
If you did.
And the truth is
I’ve been scared to tell the other side of the story
The story of the engine behind all this now.
My momma says
All it takes is one look at the girl and you can tell I’ve been a rose tongued wordsmith since birth
But forreal forreal,
I didn’t start bleeding ink until circa late junior high.
Around the time back seats on school field trips started getting awesome
Parentless cribs was all that we lived for
And 1999 coupes could fit all 6 of us.
I grew up with the outliers
But time made it very clear that I would in fact never fit into the major bubble.
I traded in playing dress up to ramble about pretty boys and shit
That kept running from my reach.
It was different back then,
Back when it was just that pen in my teenage rebellion,
Every blank page seemed like a mountain
And every poem opened its own Alcatraz of balloons.
By high school, things in my ribcage began demanding refuge,
And it wasn’t just writing anymore.
They weren’t just poems,
It was my best proof of God.
A bed for my misunderstandings.
A glimpse of sin and salvation in the same second.
What were once journals were now holy purges,
And I learned just how fucking real a night could get with some paper and some secrets.

A pencil sketch of Alcatraz with balloons flying away from the prison

Graphic design by Connor Zimmerman ’20

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Poetry