The Sides of Me
By Hannah Chin
It’s as if the devil and an angel sit on her shoulders, debating whether she made the right choice with her lover. The internal battle of love’s rights and wrongs comes to life.
My Right Side says yes, my Left Side says no. My Right Side says stay, but my Left Side says go. My Left Side is telling me in this very moment, to just walk out and leave, and pretend that it never happened. But my Right Side has me stuck … in a coma-like position. You know, one night the two were having a conversation (I wasn’t invited). My Left Side goes to the Right Side, “Move on, the damage is already done. Nothing more you can do.” The Right Side replies, “Sometimes I wish you understood how hard it is to walk away, when you’re the one to blame.” The Left Side looks over quietly, staring off into space. You know, like, when you were younger, sitting in the back of your mom’s car, looking through the droplets stuck on the window, pretending you were the star, of your very own music video? The Left Side bites her tongue, thinking about the words she’ll soon say. With her heels in the ground, turning at a pace as slow as if she were on a dueling ground about to draw her gun. But instead of a gun she draws her tongue, looks to the sky, back at the Right Side and says: “You know nothing of how I feel! The countless nights I spend playing it over, and over, and over in my head. You think I don’t know how it feels? Well I’ll show you alright It feels like someone has just ripped your heart … out of your chest, and played it like a game of chess. The pain tears you up. Starts right here in the gut, eats at you from the inside out. But you put a smile on your face and say everything’s okay! Pretend like you don’t miss the walks, the talks through the late night breeze. The way your eyes would somehow always meet on the count of three.” The Left Side says again to the Right, “But you know what really does it for me? The Right Side hesitates for a moment, feeling the tension from the tears swelling up in her eyes. She responds “What?” “This is no music video,” the Left Side says shakily. “This is real life. And we can’t possibly be upset, because we did this all … to … ourselves.”
This particular piece is inspired by my own experiences, and is my first on the topic of love. I started this piece randomly in January 2021, after going through old text messages between myself and an old “friend.” These messages inspired me to write the poem, and the poem gave me an outlet to bring my thoughts to life. It took me but two hours to complete my first draft. Originally, this was just something I had planned to keep to myself, but the next day I got word of the 2021 YoungArts Writing Finalists’ virtual “BIPOC Open Mic Night,” which was set to take place a few days later. I decided to review and edit this piece with the help of a dear friend (along with two others) and perform it. It’s one of my favorite pieces to date, not only because of how quickly I finished it but because of how I allowed myself to put my raw emotions into writing, and for it being the first poem I’ve ever performed in front of an audience—whether virtually or in person.
A War Between The Mind & Heartby Shamu Ward