What kind of impact did 2020 have you? What obstacles did the pandemic or unemployment or [insert any 2020 craziness here] put in your path? Spoken word artist Lloyd Garrison returns with a twist on how adversity might affect you, and how you might deal with it.

Chip In My Shoulder

I’ve had a pain in my shoulder for as long as I can remember…
and until now
I haven’t been able 
to figure out why

Several trips to the doctor revealed a slight sprain
and no other issues.
But it takes more than a medical degree 
and a white lab coat to diagnose 
something not even the world can predict. 
Ever since, I’ve self-diagnosed with
a chip in my shoulder 
and never prescribed any medicine.
I’ve used that pain,
which won’t show up on any X-Rays, 
for personal gain.
That pain has given me
strength, courage, and wisdom 
to make it through 
hurt, despair, and pain.  

The chip in my shoulder kept me going 
even when I wanted to give up: 
It motivated me 
to achieve what they said was
to dream what they said was 
to travel to places in my mind where 
only the strong survive. 

And what the hell is wrong with dreaming?  
Yet some would rather smother your dreams with 
doubt than ignite them with

This chip tells me,
whether I am waiting 
in line for food stamps 
or the new J’s at Champs, 
I have purpose;
whether I am a passenger in an Uber or 
driving a beat up Chevy, 
I have worth; 
whether I have one kid that gets straight As,
or three that keep me up at night with migraines, 
I have value. 
The chip in my shoulder
confirms the greatness in front of me
not behind. 
It shows me that no matter the difficulty du jour,
struggles don’t last.
It reminds me that all I need is a chance--
I can handle the rest.  

Listen to the chip 
not the outside world. 
Pursue everything and
take the chip in your shoulder with you. 

That degree you always wanted? 
Go get it no matter 
how long it takes; you 
won’t be the first or last to graduate 
from the Univ. of Adversity. 

That business you’ve wanted to start? 
Start it.
Timing isn’t the only thing,
it’s everything when you’ve waited so long for
everything to be perfect. 
That person you always wanted to give you closure?
Go get it.
Closing doors only leaves room for knocks.
When operating with a chip in your shoulder, 
overcoming obstacles 
comes with the territory. 
So,walk with your head held high…
embrace the chip, 
sleep with the chip, 
live with the chip, 

use the chip in your shoulder 
to motivate you 
to turn your hopes, dreams, and wishes into 

©Lloyd Garrison – 2021


Mr. Lloyd L. Garrison is the CEO of Hidden G.E.M.S. by LG. Lloyd received his Bachelor of Arts (2001) and Master of Arts (2005) degrees in English from Miami University in Oxford, Oh. LLoyd’s goal is to spread messages of hope, love, peace, and truth through the power of the spoken word.  


For the first 100 days of the Biden administration, this website will feature a new poem of What’s Next!? These pieces can be calls to action, calls to attention, or calls to anger. They will light the way and guide the fight. They will get us moving and keep our momentum. They will be filled with hope, with anger, with sorrow. They will get us into good trouble and point out the trouble we need to stop. They will be polished gems, or rough-cut drafts of rage, or in-process pieces searching for peace. They may be haiku or tanka, limericks or lyrics, verses free or fettered.

#100Days100Poems of What’s Next!? wants your poems, your prose, your visual art (photos, drawings, sculptures), your music, your short films and animations. Interpret the theme as broadly as you’d like.

If you would like to submit to this endeavor, please send an email, with your visual art (as .jpg or .pdf) or your poem saved as a word document (.docx) to waxyandpoetic AT gmail DOT com. Include a short bio (2-3 sentences) and social media/website information. All rights remain with the author. Please address any formatting preferences in your email. Waxyandpoetic.com will post submissions time permitting, with at least one per day beginning 20 January 2021.

Read, follow, share, submit, live, love, spread light! Don’t forget to use #100Days100Poems !

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