Taiwo Fayemi

I am years of substitute teachers.
A shower of handouts and silence.
Untapped motivation.
Crumbling anticipation.
Taiwo is a senior at the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists in the South Bronx.

Taiwo is a senior at the Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists in the South Bronx.


I am

I am a young woman

Rooted in the Bronx

And fertilized in poor education

The borough of the underestimated

And too many believers

Limbo bar set so low

Not enough high end achievers.



I am

I am a 99 cent composition notebook

Full of A equals pi r squared

Maybe a few cupid’s arrows on each page

Because my attention span

Is no more than five minutes

And I can’t help but think

That we are in it, but not meant to win it.



I am

I am Poverty

Draped in reused desks and chalkboards

Sprinkled with a little knowledge here and there

And drenched with complaints of the unsatisfied

This system thinks they're doing us a favor instead

And I know it’s not wrong to ask why

My world has more erasers than lead.



I am

I am Privilege

Showered in tenured teachers

And drenched in private tutors

Come and ship those over to my block

And see how the other half lives

Because I wonder why we lack the things

We need most. What gives?



I am

I am years of substitute teachers

A shower of handouts and silence

Untapped motivation

Crumbling anticipation

Half smiles and falsified intimidation

How can you question my morals and codes

And not question my limitations?



I am

“I am a TNT stick  lit from both ends”

And I will explode if my descendants

Are incubated in the dry soil I magically sprung out of

Because we deserve more than what’s given

Yes, I am a rose that grew from concrete

But we all don’t have that way of livin’.



I am

I am Once Upon A Time

Lost in the pages of your books

Because I seem to only be that “forgotten chapter”

And the words I say clearly have a hard time sending

My voice through to the suits and blazers

And I ask: When do we get our happy ending?



I am

I am The System

Grazing by the public schools

Presetting your footprints in the sand

Let me segregate based on status

Because I have that power and more

But why is it that twice my efforts to be just as equal

Still linger? Flopping on crowded floors.



I am

I am a vulture

Ravenous for knowledge but

Left with the bones and scraps

Of the educational feast

Forced to fly where the wind goes

Trust me. There is more potential in us

Than you may ever think to know.



I am

I am

I am

I am many things

Crafted by the astute and the realistic

I may be forced to swim in a world flooded with numbers

But I am not a statistic.