Like Me
By Hakim Bellamy

We don’t dream of getting even
we dream of getting

why would I want
to put anyone through
the things that were done
to me?

I am better than that

I am a triumph
of tightlipped temper
shouldering a cross
that has been baptized
in a graffiti of hate speech

they will call me coward
never cool
but have no idea
what it takes to brave this
bus everyday

they will call me coward
until I am brave enough to mow down a school
never cool

but I refuse
to seed their siblings
with the dark harvest of loneliness
the black rose bush
that has vined its way
to the precipice of my esophagus
and is dying

to jump

targets don’t ever dream
of being guns
they just dream of not getting shot
we fantasize
not being targets
dream of guns getting bored with being guns
we dream of not waking up
so used to being
left alone that
leaving earth
seems like Nirvana

we are threatening to quit

quit being a step stool
to some other “victim’s” self-esteem

if power
can only be measured “in relation to”
I want out of this relationship

my gender is not your punching bag
my sexuality is not here
for your amusement

my size is none of your business

my race
Is not your guilt
your therapy
or your costume


My name
is a prayer
that will bless you
with the ability
to love yourself

if you could just remember it
and occasionally put it between
your four-letter words sometimes…

the adults continue to shake their heads
reminded of their long since days
of being bully
and matador

they watch
in bus rearviews and
from the cheap seats
at recess

they see themselves
thirty years earlier
learning how to be invisible
how not to draw attention
to themselves
how to be anonymous
not hero
or hit

learning how to mind my own business
looking the other way
just being lucky that THIS time
it’s not me

learning how to survive

how to be safe
like it or not

like me
or not.

Hakim Bellamy is the Inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This poem was written and recorded as part of a facilitation example for a workshop that the multimedia hip-hop theater collaborative Urban Verbs is facilitating with Bernalillo County, Albuquerque Public Schools and the University of New Mexico LGBTQI Resource Center.