NYWC Summer Youth Workshops: Broken Occupation

Welcome to NYWC’s Fort Greene Park Summer Writing Series, featuring the powerful poetry and prose from writers age 6 to 17. Every Saturday morning, young people have gathered in Fort Greene Park to participate in NYWC’s free writing workshops for youth. At the end of the summer, we hope you’ll join us  for the 9th Annual Fort Greene Park Summer Literary Festival on August 24, where you’ll get to hear these young voices of tomorrow share their work alongside other award-winning poets and writers. Enjoy!

Look around you. Take in the walls that surround you, the windows. The tiny corners where shadows gather, along with dust and that pen you haven’t seen in three weeks. Isn’t it strange that we can occupy these spaces, let them contain us and affect us? If you’re anything like me, you might be super-sensitive to details: the slant of sunlight through the window (pretty!), the open spaces between the furniture (are they big enough?).

Sometimes walls feel suffocating. When they do, my mind flies to a thousand different places. I daydream, as they say.

What do you do? Are you trapped by the spaces you inhabit, or do you let them nurture you and free you?

Broken Occupation
by Anjelika Amog, age 15

It is hard to occupy too many spaces at once
The words jumble into knots and thoughts tangle into indecipherable spools of thread
And being neither here nor there
But calling a space somewhere in-between home
And to make a home is to carve my own space out of the whiteness of nothing
But to carve my own space is to occupy just one space
And I want to occupy too many spaces at once

My sanity fractures into shards of glass that propel themselves into the infinite nothing
It’s hard to keep track of all the pieces when they’re in too many spaces at once
The shards litter dust in a shifting trail that never stays put
And the wind blows the dust to different places, different spaces
Too many spaces at once

I am not a part of one
Nor am I part of the other
I am not myself
And yet, occupying so many spaces
I feel more like myself than I ever could otherwise

And try to occupy the nothingness
And occupy all the spaces
Pulling myself in all different directions
Until my midpoint bungles and jumps around in the nothingness

It is hard to occupy too many spaces at once
And be whole
Or want to wholly be a part of normalcy
But I suppose keeping track of all the parts
It’s okay
I’m not sane, and I’m technically broken
But I am myself
And that’s okay
That’s okay