A Reminder to Never Lose Sight of Yourself - "Twisted Gold" Poem & Video

For me, being in the corporate world was a culture shock.

I knew it required a level of assimilation and that I had signed up for this (and paid tens of thousands of dollars to do so).

The more I assimilated, the more I felt I lost pieces of myself.


These past 5 years have been an exercise in coming deeper into knowledge of self and showing up and living more authentically.


To borrow a quote from Marianne Williamson:

“Your playing small does not serve the world.”


This week, I want to share this poem behind the “Twisted Gold” Art Print and the accompanying video with you:

“Twisted Gold” by Nikki Murphy


the office dress code is business casual

my pants are civil, dependable, grey

the shirt, once a flirty tangerine,

is now a faded hue of her fiery self

like brown skin that’s lost its luster

beneath the white cast

of UV protection

but these earrings,

these earrings

they do not fade

they are real

these earrings

twisted and dangling

against my face

are all I own that feels like me,

like the me I don’t want to forget.


when my twisted gold earring falls

onto the subway tracks

at 53rd & Lex, I know

it is gone forever.

I imagine the rats make a god of it

bow their pointy noses in worship.

In mourning, I remove the other idol

and place it in my bag.

and at home, in a drawer

and when I move, it moves with me


from the attic apartment in Queens

where I can hear the mice in the walls

searching for a god to worship.

to the 3rd floor walk-up in Brownsville

where the loss feels heaviest

to the home on Long Island

with three bedrooms and two baths

and one earring in the nightstand,

a reminder that I am a Black woman

who never wants to lose herself

in business casual

in the big city

on the train tracks

to the starving rats

who idolize twisted

and dangling gold.

like me.



Do you have trinkets, sentimental items, or security blankets that you hold on to that remind you of the pieces of you that you never want to forget as you navigate the world?

Please comment or email me directly (contact@nikki-murphy.com) with what your item is and why it is special. I’d love to compile and share responses anonymously.

May we all continue living and loving as our truest selves.

I’m rooting for you!

P.S. Remember to use ARTSY2022 for 10% OFF any art prints (Nikki-murphy.com/shop) through the end of April 2022.


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Monique "Nikki" Murphy is the author of the award-winning poetry book, Home For Hurricanes, an inspirational narrative poetry book, and designer of the "Refined" Art x Poetry Collection of African American-inspired wall art. “Refined” is a love story that captures the extraordinary elegance in the ordinary adornments sported by black women and girls.


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