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Updated: Jan 8, 2021



One day, I began to moan endlessly:

“Not the smartest person in the room.

Not the strongest, not the wisest.

These are the things I’m not.

Not the nicest person you've ever met.

Not the wittiest or the shiniest.

Not 6 feet tall,

Not blue-eyed,

And I’m not so handsome

That you would like me at a ball.

Not the life of the party,

Not a lone wolf.

Not an extrovert,

Not quiet or aloof.

Not a coward,

Not violent.

Not athletic or a wimp.

I’m somewhere in between.

Not an expert on traipsing the world

On service trips.

Not a straight-A student.

I’m not the perfect candidate

To give you winning tips.

Not connected, not fulfilled.

Not a failure, yet to succeed.

Not a skier, Not insane,

Not a horse-rider

Galloping in the rain.

Not your perfect dream man,

Not a monster either.

Not always happy,

Not forever sad.

I’m not always angry,

Not just quiet or in withdrawal.

I’m not always an optimist,

Exuberant or in denial

I’m nothing extraordinary.

I’m not the “usual”.

I’m not without flaws,

Not without strengths.

As for family,

I would go to almost any length.

I’m not who I want to be,

Not who I was,

I’m not as busy as a bee

Or a sloth that has only ever worked once.

Not really who I am

Or how I act.

I would be a sham

To claim I’ve never broken a pact.

I’m not a simple man,

Uncomplicated and planned.

I’m not an airplane,

Assured of where to land.

Not an overly-complex being,

Such that you would need

A machine or a search engine.

I’m not a lot of things…”

My fear continues down the list,

My thoughts never free

Of the “you’re-not-enough” mist

It says, “Not, Not…”

“...not me.”

My pride quiet,

Not forever silent,

Finally claims no regret,

Claims I’m perfect

Forgets all the nots.

My heart is in a knot,

Many things I am; I also fall short.

I’m human, I’m stuck

In a pride-fear rot.

As both are fueled by my insecurities,

I realize they are

Just more than some.

I have a lot of “not”s

Yet above all,

I know I’m not



©2020 by Ayo Okikiolu.



I think this is one of the rare poems that explains itself. I started the poem at a really sad moment and then it became a spoken-word-like poem (rare for me). As I kept writing, I realized where it was to go. Ultimately, I'm not alone.

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