Here is a glimpse into Teen Poetry Slam 2013 at a preliminary bout in San Francisco at Mama Art Cafe on Saturday afternoon. Shout out to every poet who left their heart on the stage. Our deepest gratitude to every parent, mentor, guardian, friend and loved one who made this process possible. Go to www.youthspeaks.org for a full schedule of Teen Poetry Slam 2013 and be sure to check out our Semi-Final bouts and Grand Slam Finals! Follow us on Instagram at instagram.com/youthspeaks.
Teen Poetry Slam 2013 kicks off TODAY with preliminary bouts in San Francisco (5+7PM) at 826 Valencia and in Berkeley (7PM) at Subterranean Arthouse. Visit Youth Speaks for a full schedule and come out to support the Bay Area’s brave and brilliant young poets!
I can hear in your voice
you were born in one country
and will die in another,
and where you live is where you’ll be buried,
and when you dream it’s where you were born.
and the moon never hangs in both skies
on the same night,
and that’s why you think the moon has a sister,
that’s why your day is hostage to your nights,
and that’s why you can’t sleep except by forgetting,
you can’t love except by remembering.
And that’s why you’re divided: yes and no,
I want to die. I want to live.
Never go away. Leave me alone.
I can hear by what you say
your first words must have been mother and father.
Even before your own name, mother.
Long before amen, father.
And you put one word in your left shoe,
one in your right, and you go walking.
And when you lie down you tuck them
under your pillow, where they give rise
to other words: childhood, fate, and rescue
Heaven, wine, return.
And even god and death are offspring.
Even world is begotten, even summer
a descendant. And the apple tree. Look and see
the entire lineage alive
in every leaf and branching
decision, snug inside each fast bud,
together in the flower, and again
in the pulp, mingling in the fragrance
of the first mouthful and the last.
I can tell by your silence you’ve seen the petals
immense in their vanishing.
Flying, they build your only dwelling.
Falling, they sow shadows at your feet.
And when you close your eyes
you can hear the ancient fountains
from which they derive,
rock and water ceaselessly declaring
the laws of coming and going.
“It’s easier to love myself in metaphor than fact
I know when the slam is over
when I am alone
staring at self naked in mirror
I still will not be able to say I love you to the reflection
for now I am a love poem being written
calluses scrawling into valentines
laugh lines mouthing “I love yous”
a work in progress”
— Jade Cho, Oakland
Register for Teen Poetry Slam 2013 TODAY at http://youthspeaksslam13.eventbrite.com/ and share your story — the world is waiting to hear you.