Marginalization: A poem

Linyan Tian/Staff

Marginalization [\ˌmärj-nə-lə-ˈzā-shən]

noun — social disadvantage and banishment to the outer edges of society


i am no coming-of-age hero, with smoke in my virgin lungs

and a brick of youth in my belly making my back ache,

notifying me that i am laden with the drunken privilege of

Too Few Years on my belt and dark crescents under my eyes


the fire burning in my organs is of a different sort,

hidden too deep for everyone to see; i am not reckless

but i see no point in playing (un)fair and giving back what is

(not) given to me — if love was solid matter, and recyclable,

the world would have run out by now

(there is no love lost between my heart

and those who keep me a backstage secret)


i am no bestseller hero

i am no trade paperback hero

i am no dime novel hero


i am no coming-of-age hero, with a quest to locate redemption

and the pounds of Unfairness making my heart pang

because i am burdened with the fortune of being center stage

with all eyes on me — yes, all eyes on me


i am no hero — if i am remembered at all,

i am no prologue, climax, or epilogue

i am a note in the margin, made in haste, practically forgotten

a side note, an afterthought

a “might be good to jot down if there is time”

(if there is time)

and this is my presence:

an unwelcome obstruction, a noticeable anomaly,

and a godforsaken force to not be reckoned with

because i am no hero

and i am no victim,

and i am no villain;

i am a note in the margin, made in haste, practically forgotten


i am no coming-of-age hero, with my hair blowing in the wind

on an expanse of wild open road, an entourage of willing companions

following at my toes, standing off with friendly banter;

i only have locked doors, not a selection of open and free entrances

at my very own disposal, waiting to be chosen


my time on the stage is a fraction of a second,

i speed across it before anyone can see me,

before anyone can call out that i am wicked

and am gone in one, two, two and a half heartbeats


i am a passing regard, a throwaway comment

a convenient plot point, a gratuitous addition

i am the filler episode that nobody asked for

and the stock character that everyone hated


i am no bildungsroman novel,

nor a failed bildungsroman novel,

i am not given the opportunity to fail;

i cannot fly, i cannot even take off —

i own no wings, no hands, no tongue of my own

those are reserved for the Much More Important


and i am no hero

i am a note in the margin

made in haste

Practically —


Contact Alex Jiménez at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @alexluceli.

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