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Self-expansion: A spoken word poem

by indieeloise

The weekend it ended, I was carsick for the first time

in my life. I almost threw up some yogurt

on the way home to you and I had to pull over

because the smell of it was getting to me.

I got back home and I couldn’t eat,

as in, I wanted to, but I kept having this gag reflex

every time I tried. I didn’t want to tell you

but I still wanted you to know that I think my stomach shrunk

the week after. I looked in the mirror

and thought I lost five pounds but I realize now

I just shed the burden of being compared to a hypothetical.


One Facebook article says there’s something called

self-expansion that comes with a relationship,

and that’s why I feel like something in myself is missing.

But I don’t know how much I’ve expanded,

I feel like it was more of a shrinking, I’ve been shrinking

a little more every month. And the empty spaces,

you always filled them, because they were carved out for you to begin with,

they were carved for you to occupy and me to give up,

but for me to never actually give up on you. I think

I just gave up on myself because now

it feels like there’s no more room on the Ferris wheel

and the ride is over and the circus man tells me it’s time to go home now,

a home that I will never someday share with you.


I’m going through a cycle of firsts.

Last week was the first time I used the charcoal mask

since the last time we snuck into the shower together

and I washed your face with it.

Yesterday was the first time I laid out on the beach

since I took you home with me

and we fell asleep with the sun and your arm

on my back left a tan line.

Today was the first time I played Scrabble since the last time

that I ever doubted my instinct

that something was wrong, that maybe

you didn’t love me anymore. I was right. I know that now.

Two weeks ago I was offered a choice

between mango gelato and chocolate and I almost chose mango,

until I remembered you weren’t there with me to share it.

I haven’t really been eating chocolate lately,

despite what all the movies show, with the sad girl eating chocolate.

I can’t drink Mexican soda, either,

without being hyper conscious of the people around me

thinking it’s a coping mechanism,

and maybe it is a coping mechanism,

so I’m not drinking Mexican soda anymore and everything

just feels like a cycle of returning to the self

I knew before I met you.


I want to fast forward to the part where I’m over it.

where I’m strong again. Where, if you come back to me,

I will be able to say, “There is no more space for you.

I have already filled it.”

Is this a review?



User avatar
193 Reviews

Points: 575
Reviews: 193

Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:54 pm
herbgirl wrote a review...

Hello! herbgirl here for a review!
i would like to open by saying while this is a very nice poem written out, i can see it as outstanding as a spoken word poem. While the poem stands well on its own, i imagine it might still need voice to add some emphasis and inspiration to it, and i think that could be done well. However this poem is performed or delivered, i enjoyed reading it very much! i do have a few critiques, but overall, this was very well done.
i'll go stanza by stanza. The first stanza i admired for your use of detail to connect the reader to a bigger idea. It flowed well and gave the reader insight into your character. There are two things i have to suggest to regarding this stanza, however. First, your line breaks. This, actually, goes for the majority of your poem. Line breaks are supposed to create a natural pause when reading, or a breath. However, many of your line breaks created awkward splits mid-statement. For example:

The weekend it ended, I was carsick for the first time

in my life. I almost threw up some yogurt

on the way home to you and I had to pull over...

If you pause at the end of each line, you can see how the breaks make the poem more awkward and difficult to understand. Perhaps rearrange it so it reads like this:
The weekend it ended, I was carsick for the first time in my life.

I almost threw up some yogurt on the way home to you

and I had to pull over...

This betters the flow and seems a bit more natural and coherent. Try applying this throught your poem. My other suggestion for the eighth line of this stanza. Here, i was a bit confused, but perhaps if you replace "think" with "thought" the statement will make more sense. If that's not what you meant, perhaps a little more clarification or detail would better explain your point, and you might try to add a few more lines.
i have no suggestions for the second stanza, besides being careful about line breaks. The detail you continued to employ here made the poem more relatable and enjoyable, it was quite pleasant.
Your third stanza, also, was very pleasant in the way it provided detail. The way you organized it as a list of firsts helped unify the stanza. However, halfway through you begin talking about chocolate, and turn away from that list of firsts. i believe at this point you should create a new stanza, since you seem to be broaching a new topic.
The closing stanza is short, so i don't have much to say about it, but i thought you pulled everything together and closed it off neatly and concisely.
Overall, good job! i enjoyed reading this poem, mainly due to your inclusion of detail, which made the poem more personal and relatable. With a bit of editing, i hope this a work you can truly be proud of!
Thanks for the read!

indieeloise says...

This was very helpful! Thank you!

User avatar
131 Reviews

Points: 2046
Reviews: 131

Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:23 pm
beccalicious94 wrote a review...

Hi indieeloise, Becca here for a quick review.

I wanted to start off by saying I really empathized with the speaker of the poem, and could really feel their pain.

I love the title, and how you used a concept as a metaphor for what happened.

I thought the first line was pretty strong, but that it didn't need "in my life" from the second line. I also thought this line in particular was very strong, "I just shed the burden of being compared to a hypothetical."

I like that you cited where this concept of self-expansion comes from, but surely you can find a more reliable source than a Facebook article (just a thought).

I liked the author's resolve at the end of this piece, but it didn't really feel done. What would you add to this?

Obviously everything is your decision as the author. Hope to read more of your stuff!

indieeloise says...

This was very helpful! Thank you!

beccalicious94 says...

I'm glad! :)

It's funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of reality.
— Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief