“I Am This” by Meagan Gamble
Meagan Gamble is a very recent graduate of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. She writes poetry, fiction, emails, grocery lists and blog entries. She’s a native Iowan, although she currently lives in Illinois, and she loves the Midwest even though she’s been trying to leave since she was ten. You can find her and more of her poetry, fiction, et cetera at meagangamble.blogspot.com
Gamble’s speaker knows saints and superheroes exist not just in the mundane world but because of it. The idea that a person’s wounds can make them great isn’t new; what’s fresh here is the speaker’s appropriation of her Heros’ wounds instead of their fame. It’s easy to get angry when you’ve been kidnapped to the underworld or “roped… under an overpass,” it might make you want to escape, “fly [your] plane at night when no one can see” or “hide beneath the flowers.” But a girl can’t stay hidden forever and the nasty, violent world persists. The poet gives us a compelling alternative: own it all, stake a fierce claim and announce it to the world with your best barbaric yawp.
A manifesto, by definition, is deeply personal and seethes with energy. This one reads like something scrawled in haste, in the heat of its moment across whatever surface was available. Writing Stuff is a handwriting typeface that is nonetheless delicate, like the speaker, who, chronically misunderstood, has been pushed to the edge. Likewise, the small caps of Optimus Princeps, its slightly larger caps and pronounced serifs read like a shout: Here I Am! All Of Me! Look!