Lost in My Head

Madness of a College Student by Ellen Maldonado of the Institute of American Indian Arts
Madness of a College Student by Ellen Maldonado of the Institute of American Indian Arts

Lost in My Head.
Falling asleep to wake up in an hour or two.
I want to hibernate for weeks.
I did not know it was possible to be the cause of my own destruction.

I am hurting within four walls that I didn’t build.
I could swear that they didn’t exist until this year.
I begin to decorate the space as I do every semester.

I find myself apologizing for existing in my own head.
I am stripping, clawing, and flipping out.
Panicking, screaming, crying, and breaking down.

Trapped in a cage, singing as caged birds do.
Surrounded by the heartache of being alone.
Never understanding that this moment of isolation was the one time my prayers would be heard.

Still, I am crying on the floor amongst my trash and scattered clothes.
Pleading for my ancestors to help me, while I carry a sack.
A sack filled with my suffering, pain, and heartaches.

Again, I am awake at three in the morning.
Crying and then hear my computer bling with another assignment.
Is this the time I truly break?

I am trying to create a safe space, but
How, how do you create a safe space in a prison cell?
Attempting the perfect escape and tripping on barbwire fences.

Having been trapped for months.
I swear I see giants walking around.
They bang at my window at 4 am.
Asking about the last time I slept.

Afraid and trying to hide, but
How do you hide when you’re the giant in the room?
Standing taller than my mistakes.

Mistaken by my own self-perception.
I am past my expiration date.
Becoming sludge and seeping into the ground.

Attempting to remold my shape.
Slowly, I begin to change my narrative.
Hoping to transform into Something More.

Ellen Maldonado is a contemporary Indigenous artist from the Pueblo of Acoma, a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and the 2021 AIHEC slam poet laureate.

Leave a Reply