By Ashanti

I taught the Poetry session for Chicago Wisdom Project’s 2017 camp. I taught this session to high school students not too far away from me in age. I actually would’ve graduated from undergrad this year, had I stayed the traditional path and whatnot. I made the fatal mistake of not connecting to the people that would have my attention for three-hours sessions for six days in some wooded area on Indiana University’s campus.

I was JUST there. At those early, formative years of adolescence when you’re budding and being influenced by the world, the world as your peers, the world as your inspiration, the world as your curiosity. You’re going through the world with the hope you’ve harbored and safeguarded since childhood because that hope has landed you here, presently in this young adolescence, and will propel you into adulthood. It feels weird to say that but it’s true.

Understanding that maturity has nothing to do with age and everything to do with experience. That’s what I learned from the conversations my campers and I had. These incredibly aware minds were so integral in me remembering and assessing my personal power and them being able to practice using theirs.

Below you’ll find a daily reflection of my student’s influence on me, via found poems in magazine clippings and atlases.

Day 1


Inside you

Attracts paradise.

A God dream spoils

Sky, having fallen

When the heavens became too hot.

On Earth,

Some say,

The movements make the rivers flow.


No monsters under here.

Death is a faithful partner.

“You know this isn’t helping convince people you’re not a witch.”

Capture the strength to endure the full heart

The question isn’t how do you reach,

It’s who do you follow?


Day 2

“Use your inside scream.”


I don’t even know your name.

It is rare that we please you.

What you with it is up to you

The secrets find new ways

Of unlocking teachable moments


Day 3

Once shot out

Of the dirt

We’ve pierced

Change so much,

It could attract a swarm.


Day 4

By visible lift

Tradition checks us

For the better


We can resist

The deeper critics


Day 5

Just the moment of together reshaped hearts.

How do you live a state of pure

Inside and


About The Author

Ashanti Marshall is a digital archivist, experiential writer and staff scribe at For The Scribes, spearheading Recovering Softcover, an advice column catering to writers and their inner woes within their craft and themselves. Based in Chicago, being a fat, black queer and femme moment in time. Their relationship to the practice of understanding makes room for explorations, experimentations, mistakes, failures and curiosities in their writing. Connect with them on Twitter and Instagram asking you all the right, real, riveting questions.


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