Platforms and I’m not talking about the shoes,
I’m writing about the people speaking who don’t have a clue

Platforms that were built on my L4 and L5,
giving me chronic back pain from all the verbal jive

Let’s expand on this privilege, the subject at hand,
this platform of yours where you make your grandstand

So absorbed in your spot that you place others in the dark,
never even a thought to appreciate their written art

What is an effort if not the effort to simply write,
judgmental of creativity where comes your insight

In the sixteen-hundreds, the rave was the selling of slaves,
all carried out on high from the platforms that was raised

A jumble of words is all that we saw,
yet 3/5ths of a man was written constitutional law

Words are intentions behind inventions
so next time you’re on that platform…

before I was
and after I am…


  1. Pat R on December 17, 2018 at 11:58 AM

    I really like the rhythm of your poem. I was especially touched by the line “giving me chronic back pain from all the verbal jive.” Please write more poems!

  2. Emily on January 23, 2019 at 9:47 PM

    Wow. This is an incredible piece of writing. One of the most powerful and raw things that I have read in a long time. You are incredibly talented

  3. Caroline on February 5, 2019 at 11:24 AM

    This is such a beautiful, well-written poem! I thought the wording and rhyme scheme were really clever.

  4. Adelaide on February 5, 2019 at 11:35 AM

    This is a fantastic poem! You have an incredible voice and deeply important things to say. I love how you set up a structure in the beginning of the poem only to turn it on its head at the end. Your historical allusions ground the work in a larger reality, yet you make it deeply personal. I hope to read more from you some day 🙂

  5. Simone Charles on February 5, 2019 at 12:10 PM

    This poem has a really great way of handling the subject of power, and how the few have power over the many. Nice work.

  6. Jonah Thompson on February 5, 2019 at 12:12 PM

    This poem handles the subject of power, and how a few with power can ruin the lives of the less fortunate, in a really eloquent manner. Nice work.

  7. molly on February 15, 2019 at 11:52 AM

    JK, this is an important message here……your words have incredible value…… justice should always prevail, but does it? You tie in images with history with a profound ability. TRUTH!!!

  8. Kimberlie Hogan on February 15, 2019 at 12:17 PM

    I loved the message and the way you so clearly articulated oppression. The very last two lines confused me but overall the poem was powerful.

  9. Kayelynn on April 15, 2020 at 5:18 PM


    Well-written and you’re using your own platform amazingly! You’re blunt in your writing and state the facts for your readers to see with carefully thought out word choices and flow. I also enjoy that you’re acknowledging how much power comes from words. We communicate every day, but not always about the things that matter most — such as fighting oppression and so on. Great writing and I can’t wait to see what you come out with next!

  10. JM on November 13, 2020 at 2:50 PM

    Dear JK,

    Thank you for sharing this poem. The way you compared having a platform to speak to the platforms where buying and selling slaves took place really illuminated the way that privilege provides platforms and that what those platforms are used for makes all the difference. Your line “words are intentions behind inventions” also complements the theme of words reflecting larger social structures extremely well. This is an incredible poem because of your clever use of metaphor and the way you maintained a consistent rhythm and rhyme throughout. It also ended on such an empowering note– “before I was / and after I am,” reminding the reader that no matter what structures are in place, you’re still powerful and present beyond all of the smoke and mirrors of words and platforms. Thank you for writing this poem and I hope you continue to write and share more!


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