This poem was written shortly after my first trip to a psychiatric facility. My breakdown surrounded circumstances of attempting to maintain an appearance of false perfection, because I hated myself for all of my shortcomings. I was a high performing student in an Educational Opportunity Program at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but everything came crashing down by the time our inaugural event came to be. I was attacked on the way to speak in front of all my classmates as the event moderator, and I walked away from the fight with this stranger spitting out blood yet determined to do my job.

After I was mentally burnt out, became more mean, withdrawn, and began to isolate myself. Extreme guilt at the natural foolishness of my past and present actions flooded my mind throughout the ensuing first semester, and I dragged myself down in attempt to maintain a performative attitude. I could barely finish the few months with my sanity, and ended up reaching a state of psychosis inside the halls of my college.

I am entering this poem after going through another breakdown that had sapped away my strength and weighed on the souls of my closest loved ones, and I am coming back stronger than ever. I want to let people suffering through hardship and illness know that they can be galvanized through it. It's probably strange to hear it here, but the words of Kelly Clarkson's song "Stronger" are how I am choosing to live.

Please read "Lost Shelter" and accept it's sadness, but listen to it's message of perseverance.

Amir Dawud Akram

These white walls have held me 

for some time.

They’ve pacified me 

with their pristine, matte veneer. 

But, I know they rot.


The gilded age of adolescence 

is passing: underneath 

is something ugly,

far away is something scary

and beside me is “this”.


Failure is what “this” is

on the outside.

The valleys of despair rest between 

me and the next plain. 


I pray for salvation 

And accept my insane.

I walk with “this”,

the beast that is myself. 

This demon, not glued to my back

but engraved into my mind.


Shades like a larkspur’s hue

many times obstruct my view.

To walk through high water,

I must hold onto my head, 

stand straight, and look forward. 

Submitted: September 17, 2020

© Copyright 2022 Amir Dawud Akram. All rights reserved.

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The Vulnerability in this context is admirable. I’ll be looking forward to your excerpts young Brother.

Sat, September 19th, 2020 11:11am

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