“You can’t tell by looking”

By Ann Preston-Paris

You can’t tell by looking at me
But I am everything that I am not. behindmethesun

I do everything that I do not.
I say everything that I do not.
I stun
I shock
I dare
I bullshit
I rage
I fight
I risk
I am anti-“should”
I am anti-“if you would”
I am rude
I am crude
I do what “we” shouldn’t
I explode
I implode
I goad. I plot.

So if I can get you to look at me,
Can you tell what I am not?


This poem is taken from “Behind Me The Sun: A Write Around Portland anthology” Volume 8, Number 1.

Write Around Portland is a nonprofit organization that has provided writing workshops in collaboration with more than 200 social service agencies, community organizations, the state, county and public schools serving specific populations, such women fleeing domestic violence, youth who are homeless, people with mental or physical disabilities and adults in recovery from addictions.

According to its web site, “Write Around Portland publishes and sells anthologies of participant writing at the end of each season of our traditional workshops. These professionally-produced books provide participants – many for the first time – the opportunity and satisfaction to see their words in print, while providing the public the opportunity to read the powerful stories and diverse voices of these important writers.”

Learn more: http://www.writearound.org

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