Kinetic Affect poem ‘Define Yourself’ premieres at KCC

This morning’s annual General Session meeting for employees at Kellogg Community College included the premiere of a brand new, original poem written by area spoken-word poetry duo Kinetic Affect (Kirk Latimer and Gabriel Giron).

The poem, titled “Define Yourself,” was commissioned by the college this summer to support a campaign promoting a new Student Code of Conduct, and was performed by Latimer with musical accompaniment by Nick Lobel, who also wrote the music.

View video of the performance above and read the text of the “Define Yourself” poem below. Learn more about Kinetic Affect on their website at

“Define Yourself”
By Kinetic Affect

The definition of define is
to describe or set forth the meaning of something…
so defining yourself could be hard to do
because whatever words you choose
to use the following statement,
I am,
could change the way people think of you.
Could change the way you think of yourself.
I am a teacher,
I am a student,
I am a father,
I am a survivor,
but before you can define yourself
you must first find yourself.
Because we are more than words in a dictionary,
more than a letter grade on a test,
and we are more than the number of years we’ve spent here
on the earth.
We cannot be summed up in a single definition,
none of us can,
and KCC is not just a string of letters in the alphabet
it is a name
it is a culture
and a school
that has been here since before Civil Rights became a movement,
in a community that helped pave the way
for an underground railroad
that led us to fight for freedom
and education for everyone no matter where we are in life.
We are mothers,
and their children,
sometimes sitting in the same English class.
We get lost coming home from wars
we are fighting overseas
and in our own neighborhoods.
But we always seem to find our way back
to our loved ones.
Family and friends
who are more than words on a page,
worth more than a simple explanation,
we are definitions that know no bounds,
and our colors fall outside the lines
when they need to,
when it’s right for us to change the rules.
We’re the ones who choose to go to school,
not just because it’s the next thing you do in your life
but because it’s the right time in our lives
to take that next step,
and say yes!
This is me,
almost indefinably me
and this is my responsibility,
to live Mr. Kellogg’s words that we have carved into these walls,
reminding us that education is what will change the world,
and we don’t just walk by them without paying attention
to what they mean.
We feel it in our hearts
when we walk through the halls that give each student
a brand new slate
where they can create their own future.
Some of the students in these seats,
are fresh out of prison just hoping paper and pencil
can help them write their way back home,
while others are fresh out of high school
hoping they’ll soon move out.
And here we are,
finding ourselves together
in the same classrooms,
walking the same halls,
crisscrossing all walks of life
leaving behind imprints of our memories
on these walls,
alongside legacies left behind by those
who came before us
and we spark to life
our own definitions
that illuminate this campus
each morning,
like a sunrise made just for the people here
in our community.
It is our middle name after all.
Kellogg Community College,
defining itself daily
in the tearing down of obstacles
and overcoming the adversity we are all presented with.
The obstacles that once held us back,
but now help to define us.
Made us sharpened like the pencils in our pockets
used to be,
to leave behind stronger lines
when we write our names down.
That is us.
That is our strength,
it is in who we
define ourselves to be.
We are KCC.