Allison Guerra — Determination Morphology

The third in a series of morphologically broken down poetry. In the collection, I explore how words can be broken down in similar/dissimilar ways and in essence, unpack some of my most inner thoughts. In this piece, I write to my myself, a constant reminder to push myself forward even in the face of severe doubt.

Determination Morphology

Nothing great in life
comes easy
is a key ingredient
the salt
that subtle kick of flavor
that pulls everything

But tapping into
the determination
that lives within us
it’s hard
we often forget
the salt
but can’t seem to place
what’s missing
an empty void
with no end in sight
hand to our foreheads
puzzled for the answer
the cure all
what are we missing?

The word itself
is complex
in its delicate combination
lingual pieces threading a
sticky, confusing web

At the end
as in an action or process
something that takes
Stewing in determination
drives us forward
propels us to the greatness
we seek

right before is
little by little
Short actions that
In -ation, in process over time
Help us to
Get there
Wherever there is
Like gradually adding
A dash
A pinch
Slow but steady
Till you get it just right
Stirring til your
Soul is smooth

But of course there’s still
The leading building block
Of determination
An internal discouragement
Casting a shadow of doubt
‘de’ is to remove as ‘ter’ is to frighten
So you
Take yourself away
Protect yourself
Because what if
It all doesn’t work out as planned?
The nagging voice of doubt
The devil on your shoulder
You’re not good enough
You’re not strong enough
You’re not enough
Get out while you’re not

But instead, remember
Little by little
In process
In due time
So you block out the
And keep on
Determined as hell


Alli Guerra is a comedian and writer in NYC. She studied at the People's Improv Theater and Magnet Theatre, and performs with her improv troupe "Punch" throughout the city. She's ready to fly, whatever that means.