forgotten, by Nikki Patin

like all fallen heroes
faces blanked out to zeroes
until death came near, though
they were forgotten

call me cynical
heir apparent
to legacies sharing
nothing in common with fame
I remain

put it all on me
the behind-the-scenes work
the behind-your-dreams

skeleton for frames of fame
I deconstruct majesty
ripping fourth walls
‘til they beg for amnesty
I make mics bleed
to heal sick fantasies
fallacies are never forgotten

not on your best-of lists
not your best friend
your best album
best kiss

probably your hardest dissed
therefore I remain

don’t see me on trains
IV through veins of this city
sustenance vital
still forgotten

bitter sometimes
sweet always
bad but not rotten

picked me out of your brain
like seeds from your fruit
gave my genius boots
told me to start walkin’
keep steppin’

‘til I’m long gone

but your children
will remember me
start revolutions in my memory

not checkin’ for your #1 spot

that’s how heroes get got
caught in nets of slander

I meander
transcend earth
to soar

above ego

freedom to
spurn this


like all phat girls
black girls

to you
we all seem
wack girls

are now women


who can’t forget
can’t slip

equipped with
built on shifting sands

of time

we are never
in vogue

we are always
posed as inspiration

for rescue squads
hell-bent on capturing

opposite direction
of perfection

I am remembered so tough

that I stay forgotten

dismembered with lack of touch

caress my own skin
so my pieces don’t go rotten

eyes moist
with blood sweat
and cotton

no tears can be gotten
from shadows of
wounded warriors

we march past averted stares
wares too invaluable to price
so we remain shelved


NIKKI PATIN has been writing for over two decades. She has taught hundreds of workshops on performance poetry, body image, sexual assault prevention and LGBT issues. Patin has performed, taught and spoken at elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities such as the University of Chicago, Adler School of Psychology, Northwestern University, Nancy B. Jefferson High School (located within the Cook County Temporary Juvenile Detention Center), University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison and many others. Patin was featured on the fourth season of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, was voted one of 30 under 30 most influential LGBTQ people in Chicago by Windy City Times and took the gold medal in the 2006 Gay Games International LGBT poetry slam. Patin was voted “Best Standout Performer” in the Dunedin Fringe Festival while headlining a tour of her one-woman show, “The Phat Grrrl Revolution” throughout New Zealand and Australia. She has released several chapbooks, a full-length collection of writing and design, two EPs and a full-length album entitled “Bedroom Empire.” Patin designs and maintains two websites, and She is the creator of Surviving the Mic, an organization dedicated to creating safe space for the creation and telling of stories of survivors of all kinds of trauma, with a special focus on Black- and female-identified survivors of sexual and domestic violence who also identify as performing writers. Nikki Patin is an MFA candidate in Creative Non-Fiction at Stonecoast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine and the Director of Training and Cultural Programs at Black Women’s Blueprint. She lives in Chicago, IL with her son, Tobias.