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Students Share Slam Poetry: 'Calamity Upon Me'

Students Matisse and Izzy share their slam poetry piece, "Calamity Upon Me."

Cougar Mountain Middle School students Matisse and Izzy recently created a poetry slam piece called "Calamity Upon Me" as part of their classwork. 

Eighth graders at CMMS studied poetry in Holly Stipe and Laura Matheny’s classes, and performed their pieces for their peers as part of a “poetry slam party” to celebrate the end of their poetry unit. Stipe said that the original poems were written about a variety of topics chosen by the students, ranging from whimsical to serious.

Slam poetry is a form of competitive performance poetry that combines the elements of writing with performing.

Recorded and shared with permission from the student authors and their families, please enjoy “Calamity Upon Me,” by Izzy and Matisse. 

"Calamity upon me" by Izzy and Matisse

Open the door, throw the bags in, close the door. Open the door, get in the car, close the door Drive... drive... drive Open the door get out the car close the door Open the door, take the bags out, close the door It’s an endless cycle I’ve gotten used to, it’s like a record player stuck on loop, it’s routine, it’s all I know. The car drives away, I walk towards the entrance of the place I'm supposed to call home but, does it feel like home?

To be honest I don’t have even an essence of memories going to and forth my parents’ houses. In the beginning it was all I remembered, there were two houses with two rooms and two families. Then once I was in the second grade, I realized my friends, they had lived in one house with one room and one family.

Open the door walk inside, no one's here, walk up the stairs open the door enter my room. Had the walls lost color since my last visit? It was only a week ago, or was it two? Every time I come here something different appears or disappears. Is that a new shower head? What happened to that table? My charger isn’t in my room. Has that painting always been there? Each time I come back; home seems more foreign.

I always end up with the same check list open. Check after check, I keep a keen routine. My beat-up backpack and handheld luggage stare at me through the thick closeted doors. As they know the time has come again.

I’ve never known them together, but they stay in touch for me. For my future. But what about yours? Don’t act like I haven’t seen the bags under your eyes, should I say something about it? I don’t have time to answer myself cause I’m only here for 48 hours, those hours run faster than one would think and when I look outside the tinted window the car is back, waiting patiently for me.

I yearn to see the figure of my own father and siblings daily, though as the day approaches it seems getting on that plane is more of a chore than a choice.

Driving away from home to go home. Does that make sense? I’ve realized the movies are a fantasy you can see. A man, a woman, 6 years of marriage, and two stubborn children all living happily together to witness memorable moments. The reality I know is a man, a woman, had a child and eventually they realized they weren’t meant for each other and well here we are.

Every time I visit to be closer, I end up farther. It doesn’t feel like it's supposed to, the warm homey lust. Like I belong. I get an icky fondness over me as I embrace the changed walls and appliances that I used to call my own. Now it’s a hotel, a vacation spot that comes around rather often.


With two homes, two birthdays, two families, and two lives.

See now, it has become my norm.