Cameron Chernobieff, “My First Slam.”

My First Slam

One young poetess takes her place on stage. Her stare quells our sick curiosity. Tension glides over us, choking the very wind from our core. She waits as the air becomes thick and wet. And while we’re gasping for a fragment of breath, she still does not budge. Our bodies become heavy and we sink into our chairs. Euthanized, we become her puppet. Still, she just stands and watches this masterpiece unfold.

“Shhhhh,” she finally speaks, “let the doctor work.”

And with lyric as scalpel she digs forgiveness into our skin, revealing pockets of love behind every misunderstood abscess and bruise. “Pain is only what you imagine it to be,” she says, cutting away at years of judgment and sorrow. She digs further and at the abdomen she splits us open and takes hold of our intestine. Our heartbeats hasten as she pulls and pulls at our inner track work, wrapping it around her palm. “Relax. Now, imagine a young girl,” she says, “whose very passion is love.” With her finger, she follows the tick tock rhythm of anxious hearts, tickling the nerves as she goes. Every inch of her traveling index and pinky is met with sensation beyond words. She comments, “What you’re feeling now is love and power and contempt.”

“It’s almost over.”

Then she tears our flesh from bone, unearthing a beautiful system of interlocking ivory. “This girl’s love,” she says, “is rejected by her mother.” Our collection of skeletons is then thrown into a pile. The cold marrow of another paints my vertebra. She says, “You see. This mother’s preference is for the lighter things. So I ask you all, what’s whiter than bone?” And when the poetess has done this very thing to herself, “will you accept me now mother?”


About the Author

Cameron Chernobieff is a Santa Barbara City College student, majoring in English. He’s been a nanny for the past three years and has volunteered on and off at Storyteller. He owes a lot of his inspiration to the kids he’s worked with. This is the first of his work to be recognized.


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