Poem: “What Don’t Kill Me Can Only Hurt Me”

What Don’t Kill Me Can Only Hurt Me

Remember when I was on the moped and got hit off
or when I was on the dirt bike and my hand almost got cut off
you probably think I was a daredevil wit the sh*t I was doing
but I was always under the influence.
I remember when I was younger and my mama used to leave me
and always left my grandma to feed me.
I had a lot of attention but I never wanted to be seen
I never thought of crying ’cause that wasn’t my thing
They say everything happens for a reason
I wish I knew mine while I’m sitting here counting out seasons.
Right now I feel like I’m in a lot of pain
and as 1, 2, 3, days go by
I still feel the same.
You heard, “What don’t kill you can only make you stronger.”
Well, I believe that metaphor no longer.
When your heart was broke did you feel stronger?
I bet your heart felt like it was in a coma.
What didn’t kill me left me wit a heart ache, cut, scare, bruise, or sore
and I never felt stronger then I was before.
Will I be stronger in the long run if you leave me?
Thinkin’ hell of a lot I think I found the key.
Everybody go off what they hear or see.
When the truth is what don’t kill
can only hurt me.


  1. Jingle on August 25, 2010 at 11:27 PM

    life is a learning process.
    well delivered poem!

  2. ReadingHasPurpose on September 2, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    I love this. I love the idea that you are not afraid to challenge conventional thinking. For years, we’ve been walking around saying “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”. You’re the first person, that I know of, to actually think about what those words mean. Keep thinking young man and please continue to enlighten us all!


  3. Kendall Lambert on May 1, 2020 at 12:16 PM

    Wow. Hauntingly beautiful with a strong and deep message at the end. I love how you capture the whole essence of the poem with just “what don’t kill can only hurt me.” It’s incredibly deep as is the questioning of the reasons behind life’s actions. Everyone makes mistakes and learns from them. Without failure there can be no progress or success. Keep writing and expressing these feelings because you’re a great writer and you poem was very interesting to read!

  4. kassidilenae on November 17, 2020 at 2:52 PM

    Thank you for taking the time to write this! I am intrigued by your twist on the old adage, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I think it’s possible to be both bruised and stronger- to still have scars but be healed none the less. I hope you are able to find the light in all the darkness you encounter. Keep writing!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.