[Episode 4] “Your Shoes” with Yona Ketema

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Meagan: Hello, this is Meagan with the Poetry Podcast. Will you please state your name, your pronouns, and your grade.

Yona: Hey, I’m Yona. I use he/him pronouns and I’m a senior.

Meagan: Alright, would you please recite your poem for us.

Yona: Your Shoes

My days

used to look like feet.

Black and white checkered vans,

Cherry colored Chuck Taylors.

Sometimes I see some new Nikes

Squeaking quickly down the hallway.

I became comfortable looking at my own,

dirty hand-me-down Adidas.

Days bled into each other, for weeks, months,

years.

Until one day, my last day of feet,

I saw your small, simple, soft, brown boots.

I was captivated.

Not by your boots, but now by your smile,

your soft, flowery scent, your coffee worried eyes,

your pink, fluent hair, and your encouraging presence.

After you, my days were more faces.

I saw cars, buildings, trees.

I breathed in, salty, fresh wind and air.

I saw smiles, care, and kindness.

I saw life.

I never saw my shoes again.

Meagan: That’s really cool. So where’d you get your inspiration for that or what’s kind of like the meaning behind it?

Yona: Okay so, I watched a movie called, “A Silent Voice,” and it’s about this guy who’s super anxious and he meets this girl who’s like deaf. He kind of like bullies her and then as he gets older – they go to school together – he sort of becomes friends with her. They both help each other overcome their insecurities. I wrote [the poem] as what he would say to her.

Meagan: That’s super cool, who do you think your audience is for that? Like, do you think it’s the same type of people that you took your inspiration from or would you say you wanted to reach a new group of people?

Yona: I don’t know, I guess I didn’t write it for a specific audience, but I guess now that I think about it, an audience that would feel more while reading it is an audience that more sort of suffers from what he suffered from. I don’t know, he keeps to himself and is anxious like when thinking about image and his relationship with other people in his community, I don’t know like the guy in the movie – people in that audience would feel more while reading it. Yeah.

Meagan: Cool. What do you think your favorite line is?

Yona: My favorite line is probably, “Dirty hand me down Adidas,” because it’s fun to say. A lot of consonants.

Meagan: What do you think is the richest metaphor or simile that would really resonate with your readers or listeners?

Yona: Maybe. Probably when I said, “My days used to look like feet,” I was trying to use imagery, I guess, to describe what it’s like to just kind of walk around and keep to yourself. So like, a lot of times, for me anyways, I just look down and then like I notice people’s feet and their shoes and stuff like that. In the movie, they have like X’s over people’s faces so like people who are important to him, he sees their face otherwise they have Xs on them. So like, I guess I sort of made that more realistic and then added like them and then their feet cause he doesn’t talk to people.

Meagan: Do you think that like shoes or sneakers or anything like that is a big part of your identity too or is that more of something that you see in everyday life?

Yona: That’s probably more something that I use to describe the feeling rather than it’s a part of me, but yeah.

Meagan: Cool. Thank you so much. Do you have anything else you want to add on about it?

Yona: Not really.

Meagan: Okay, awesome. Thank you.