Poetry Poetry Friday

[Poetry Friday]: Unboxed


Iphigene here!

I’m unofficially back for Poetry Friday.  Today, I’m sharing a rather old poem. I wrote this last year and only got to finish it around September 2016. This poem came to me piece meal, one stanza at a time. The last two stanzas took the longest to find (or write).

I wrote this poem during my first year in teaching grade 11 students. Students came to me with their problems and issues, one of those had to do with labels. I wrote this poem in exploration of that and in conjunction to my own experience towards all sorts of labels that can be limiting. I generally do not prescribe to labels (the good, the bad, or the ugly). I think people should just be people. I hope you enjoy this bit of exploratory and reflective poem.

Thank you to Heidi @ My Juicy Little Universe for hosting today’s Poetry Friday

Drawing by author


When my mother gave birth to me

They swaddled me with a marker

That told the world my anatomy

Providing me a name that fit

With a skin they thought they



It fit in the sterile world

Like predictable gloves

Clinging, possessing but never

Comfortable enough for everyday

Wear. I tugged sleeves and hems

And scratched my head and its

Growing hair, screaming

Discomfort everywhere


In an act deemed rebellious

shed this skin, superficially ingrained

To my biology–that physiological

Truth clinging between my legs

Wrapping myself with a marker

That told the world of my



With the undeniable heart

that wavers not in pinks or blues

But in the mixture of hues that spread

Through a million different tones—

Short hair, squared out clothes

I move back and forth, like water

Fluid in its motion.


Letting skin, be skin

Bones be bones

None of which shape the person

That sits within its soul

Never molding, ever moving

And claiming what is true and

Of my own.

21 comments on “[Poetry Friday]: Unboxed

  1. Shedding these labels, and reclaiming ourselves for ourselves, can be a life-long process, but frees us bit by bit, bit by bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great job! I’m glad you get to wear your boxy clothing, not the scratchy stuff. I’m the same way!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow is that powerful. I’m not sure why, but the words that come to me are “we just don’t know.” Not sure what to do with them, but there they are. Thank you for your offering!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you.
      It hard not to use stereotypes or labels, cognitively human beings are designed to think that way. Keeps things efficient. I struggle with with labels because as far back as i could remember it never mattered to me. A person is who they are—in that is everything: personality, preferences, expression, quirks, etc. When we try to know them then none of those labels matter. We’re complex creatures and that’s the beauty in it, that in a single body we can hold all these things.
      Heh…sorry I’m babbling. I should stop. I’m merely expounding on the thought embedded in the poem.
      thanks again for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. lindabaie

    I am somehow really touched by “With the undeniable heart/that wavers not in pinks or blues”, Iphigene, am happy to see change, yet still not enough in places. I continue to see the pinks of toy aisles, pulling some children in because they believe they must. It’s a heartfelt poem many need to answer to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda,
      Yes, there is change, but completely not enough. As a psychologist working with children I encountered one parent worried that their son preferred cooking than playing basketball. It’s these little things, the judgment we put on choices that say nothing more than the boy likes to cook. Similarly in color associations we put, as if color determines anything more than aesthetic.
      Thanks again for reading and sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that this poem came to you piecemeal….this issue or state of being in our culture will take much introspection and willingness to listen and let go of long-held safety pins. I am a mom of a kid that has thrown off labels and is navigating what new labels might mean. It’s a journey…and I’m so proud to be able to walk with my kid for as much of it as I can. Keep thinking….keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda,
      Some poems are like that…these snapshots coming at different moments. I agree with you, it will take time, time to think and listen in order to see that there’s more to people than labels. Thank you for sharing about this walk you’re taking with your kid, its a brave and scary thing to throw off those labels, but its a wonderful, incomparable feeling to find who you are in this space and not let the labels be the box that contains you.


  6. This is a beautiful, powerful poem. I find such hope and inspiration in it as people slowly begin to look past those outward labels and discover the beauty of the souls inside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kay,
      Thank you. I always remind people that all we have to see is the human being, no more no less. When we see the human being, then we see the soul and everything that comes with being human.


  7. Iphigene, thank you for this poem, which is powerful is so many ways, and comes along just after I watched this:

    This unboxing business is brave, and my 14yo son is doing his part to argue for letting everyone be who they are, which I am all for–except that as you say, I’m a pattern-seeker always trying to organize people, things and experiences into more orderly rows and columns than they want to be in. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Heidi,
      Thank you for sharing the link. I am glad to hear about your son and its ok to be pattern seekers, we all are. I grew up seeig one pattern, that we are human beings and that mean we all deserve respect even if we don’t like another human being. I also remind myself that if something bothers me because i don’t understand it, i do my research. Understanding removes fear and in some way lessens our stereotypes.


  8. Iphigene, what a bare and honest poem. I agree, I wish we could let skin be skin and not be a category or a judgment-basis. No one should have to live in a box of another’s expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful, deep, and moving poem Iphigene, especially timely for all that is happening and unfolding today. Thanks for writing and sharing it, I hope it finds an even larger audience!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Michelle,
      Thank you. I do hope it finds a larger audience, but I’m ok with it being here on GB. 🙂
      I had to think what you mean by it’s timeliness, i’m so far remove in many ways from the day to day on-goings of the world, but yeah…googled that. lol. I does coincide with it and its such a coincidence.

      Liked by 1 person

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