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Beautiful: Two Poems

May 26th, 2014

Teen girl with braids against skyscape

The Test

As we grew up, the world taught us that being skinny was beautiful,
So as we looked at the mirror…
All we saw were round cheeks, touching thighs, and big arms…
We can't help but look at society and ask if we are beautiful?
You see as we grew up, we grew with the concept in mind that if you’re fat…at least have long smooth hair!
Looking at the same mirror we touch our black, nappy, rough short hair…
And yet again we ask, are we beautiful?
Growing up, when society saw we were neither skinny nor had long hair they said at least be light skinned…
We look into the mirror with tears in our eyes and saw that our skin is dark and rough…
Are we beautiful?
We have none of those things society wants us to have so now society looks at us with disgust,
Society can't seem to understand why we are like this,
But then society says ah…
Our heart pounds with anticipation, building up and up, only to be crashed down….
You see we thought society was about to say something…that they love about us…
but, no society turned around and said….
Ah, at least we’re smart!
Our insides crumble and shatter at the thought of how society cannot find one outer beauty in us.
But society says at least we are beautiful on the inside
We scream and shout telling society that no man will see our insides,
No man will even talk to us if we are not beautiful
So we wear this mask that covers all of our insecurities, our treacherous pain and say to ourselves…
At least we are beautiful…inside
We stare at the mirror that just told us all of society’s requirements and see that we have failed….
The mirror breaks leaving only one tiny piece alive telling us at least we are beautiful…inside.
So are we beautiful?
Yes, inside… ​

Inside and Out

I sit on my bed listening to all the whispers and sounds
The sound of my sister talking on the phone with her lover
The sound of my other sister’s phone vibrating to no end
Then I hear the silence, the silence around me that suffocates me to an abyss of black
My eyes are open but I cannot see
I'm alone, all alone on the…inside.
They said I was beautiful on the inside but why does my inside feel so cold,
They said don't worry you will never be alone,
But yet here I am with the darkness,
I'm screaming but no one seems to hear,
I want them to reprimand me so I think maybe if I fail this class…
But then I hear their voices…they say at least you’re smart
If my intelligence is the only thing that keeps me beautiful then how can I lose it?
So I work harder and harder, isolating myself and sinking deeper into the abyss
​    where no one can reach or find me,
But just when faith is lost, hands are lifting me, carrying me to a bright place,
To them I am not fat, I am thick
To them I do not have rough, nappy, short hair; I have locks of hair that shields me from the rain
To them I may not be light skinned because I am the color of the purest, the richest, earth
They chantingly whisper you’re beautiful with light touches across my body
To them I am a black strong queen that rules her own life
They say to me, we all have our imperfections, our doubts, our worries…so don't worry.
I ask them before I wake up from this heavenly dream…
Am I beautiful?
They whisper yes, yes you are.
They say you are not only beautiful on the inside but also on the outside

Azline Exime is an 11th grader at Westbury High school studying under Ms. Khairoola.

I admit that I am saddened by the suffering of the poet, which is, I believe reflextive of the inner life of so many of our young girls. But I am heartened and elevated by the beauty of her poetic response and I am sure, were I to meet her, that I would find her as beautiful as the rising sun.

Come back for another day of poetry tomorrow. If you want to be part of 30 Days of Poetry, send your poems to until May 30th. I look forward to hearing from you!

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