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“How Much am I Worth?” A Poem by Shumon Jenkins

How much am I worth?

Well that depends on who you’re asking.

Am I easy to forget, a blank face that can’t relate,

Or am I just hashtagging, everything I see, forming your perception on who I be.

So, to the naked eye, I can be anybody,

But once I use those filters, I’m everything you need me to be.


One of the three faces, or so they believe


But that one face is worth as much as you claim,

Yet that face wasn’t worth sh-t when I was in chains.

Two-Thirds of a man was about my worth,

Back when being black was a curse.

Still is in some minds, but as ambiguous as race can be,

Back then, you were either black or white, no in-between.  

My body was a tool, like a hammer or a saw.

And if I saw anything, that inspired hope; freedom, education, and gave me determination,

It became my damnation, for I was now broken for their own personal use.

And useless tools are just replaced.

Killed without any real explanation,

It’s amazing how sh-t never changes,

Just another face on social media that people like, comment, or favorite.   


How much am I worth?

Well that depends on who you asking.

You ask my ma, I’m heaven sent, a black king in the making,

You ask my dad, I’m a lovable a hundred and fifty a week, until I turn eightteen.

You ask my sister, I’m a bank, a bodyguard, a bully, and an inspiration,

You ask my friends, you’ll get a wide variation.


The second of the three faces, the one you see when you get know me


I’m funny, I’m wise, I’m sensitive, I’m kind,

I’m generous, I’m cool, I’m cute, nahhh girl, he fine.

Yeah, that’s what they all say, at least on the days when you’re their “fav,”

But friends come and go, and your homeboys and girlfriends won’t be afraid to say you’ve always been fake.

They’ll take back every kind word they’ve ever said,

And spit on the word respect, putting your friendship to rest.

The point is, your “friends” think you ain’t sh-t, and there’s nothing you can do,

But to your family, your worth more than the whole world, just for being you.

Because family doesn’t mean blood, it means love and loyalty,

And friends only ask, “what have you done for me?”

Family is willing to ride for you, die for you, they’re with you to the end,

So in my opinion, you get to choose who’s in your family, and who are just “friends.”


How much am I worth?

Well that depends on who you’re asking.

If you ask me, I’ll tell you something corny, or cheesy or beyond stereotypical.

Like I’m priceless, I’m worth bronzed platinum and gold diamonds.

You start to stare me down, trying to look through me, I feel the pressure,

I say, “I don’t know, at least a thousand, my tattoos prove it,” but you know better.


You make it to my third face, the face only I see


When the friends leave, and the family is asleep,

And I stay up late, staring at the ceiling, thinking…way too much.

On what I’ve done, who I am, and who’ll I be,

Was I worth all the money, the time, the love, and the lack of sleep.

But then I wonder…

Why do I need to hear you say you love me?

When I should love myself.

And why do I have to explain my worth to you,

When I know, you don’t determine it….I do.

I know what I’m worth and that’s all that matters.

So when you ask, how much am I worth?

I’ll take off my two masks, show my true face and say,

It depends on who you’re asking.


Shumon Jenkins ’18

Posted by on October 3, 2016. Filed under Around Campus,The Week's End. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.