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Sum up my pain: Two poems by Dasani Armstrong

Say my name

by Dasani Armstrong

I’ve been in school for quite a while and throughout my years one thing has never changed

There is always a student whose name is different and their skin is typically a darker shade

And as the teacher does roll call they stop at that name and look around the class

As if they are searching for the darkest out of the masses

Then they hit you with the I’m not even going to try and pronounce this one

Then they do a slight laugh but on my face you find none

Because I never understand why they refused to take the time to learn our names

Sorries and apologies are always the go to claim

How is it that you can onomatopoeia with such confidence and vigor

But you pass over our names and for me that will always be a trigger

What happens when your name is the only true piece of identity you have left

But like almost anything, white man takes it and tweaks it but god forbid you call it theft

Society is the reason I never forget to write my name onto every piece that I write

Because I’m scared that if I don’t I have just given white america another opportunity to try and

put out my light

I’m sorry teacher is my name not white -- I mean right...enough for you

Let me fill you in on a little secret because it seems like you don’t have a clue

Our name holds so much power your basic tongue could never fix itself to form the mighty


Our name holds so much weight you may never find it on a keychain or a sweater

Our name holds so much weight that we refuse to allow you to white wash I mean shorten it so

that it is easier for you

Because until you say my name you will never see the great things I can do

Fly High My Love, Fly High

by Dasani Armstrong

My heart is heavy my tears won’t stop

I just learn that God has stopped my cousins clock

I never thought this day would come

I wish there was something to make me go numb

I sit and listen as my family cries and cries and cries

Oh cousin why’d you have to be the one to die

I wish someone would wake me from this horrible nightmare

In a time like this I rely on my family and prayer

To say I’m heartbroken wouldn’t be able to sum up my pain

But I will dry my tears and celebrate because a beautiful angel heaven has gained

I prayed for the lord to open the gates for you

I know you had your faults and we all do too

You weren’t perfect by a long shot but you never failed to always present your best

So if your listening sleep in peace you can finally rest

I vow that your name will be something I never forget

I know that you will watch over us all so no longer will I fret

You had a vibe unmatchable and a laugh so sweet

Thank you for always loving us from the top of our heads to the tips of our feet

You had your problems this is certainly true

But no matter what you were always YOU

I will hug the boys a little tighter when I see them because they are the largest piece of you still

here on this earth

They are going to be great in lives not just because you instilled that in them but because they

are products of you; the best parts from which you birthed

I ask that you live on in everyone that you have ever loved

Family please do better do not wait until death to give each other kisses and hugs

Cousin for you will I will try not to cry

I will my best to dry our family’s eyes every time

I am so sad you had to go

But there is one thing I know for sure

It’s that’s you have found your peace

This is your chance to let all of your problems start to cease

The angels are singing it’s time to rejoice

Our angel has found her way home so family make some noise

I will make you proud as you watch down on me from the sky

So gorgeous I love you

Fly high my love fly high

About the author: Dasani Armstrong is a 16 year old 11th grader at Reading Senior High School. She is a poetry lover and enjoys writing poetry about anything and everything, but still does not consider herself a poet. Her love of poetry stemmed from her love of all kinds of writing. Dasani’s poetry is often inspired by strong emotions and life altering events. The young girl hopes that through her poetry she can advocate for those without the means to advocate for themselves.

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