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! 
Follow us on Instagram :: http://instagram.com/youthspeaksFollow us on Twitter :: http://www.twitter.com/youthspeaks
ZoomInfo
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! 
Follow us on Instagram :: http://instagram.com/youthspeaksFollow us on Twitter :: http://www.twitter.com/youthspeaks
ZoomInfo
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! 
Follow us on Instagram :: http://instagram.com/youthspeaksFollow us on Twitter :: http://www.twitter.com/youthspeaks
ZoomInfo

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! 

Follow us on Instagram :: http://instagram.com/youthspeaks
Follow us on Twitter :: http://www.twitter.com/youthspeaks

A glimpse into the Unified District Poetry Slam preliminaries held at the San Francisco Public Library. 

The event is a team slam, with each participating school having a team of 4-6 poets. The District Slam event is open to schools beyond San Francisco and Oakland: schools from across the East Bay, North Bay, and Peninsula are invited to send a team to the Greater Bay Slam preliminary bout! Spots are limited, and priority is given to schools with Youth Speaks residencies and/or SLAM clubs.

The top-scoring schools from each bout move on to perform for the title of UDPS Slam Champion!

Come to the UDPS Grand Slam Finals :: 5PM-7PM | Friday, March 1, 2013 @ San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium.

Building off of the success of Youth Speaks in-school and after-school workshops, assemblies, open mic’s and the Teen Poetry Slam, the District Poetry Slam is an exciting opportunity for high school’s students to perform, dialogue, and speak their minds with high school youth throughout the district and the entire Bay Area.
The event is a team slam, with each participating school having a team of 4-6 poets. The District Slam event is open to schools beyond San Francisco and Oakland: schools from across the East Bay, North Bay, and Peninsula are invited to send a team to the Greater Bay Slam preliminary bout! Spots are limited, and priority is given to schools with Youth Speaks residencies and/or SLAM clubs.
We are currently looking for judges, sign up now! :: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090C4DA9AB2BAB9-beajudge
ZoomInfo
Building off of the success of Youth Speaks in-school and after-school workshops, assemblies, open mic’s and the Teen Poetry Slam, the District Poetry Slam is an exciting opportunity for high school’s students to perform, dialogue, and speak their minds with high school youth throughout the district and the entire Bay Area.
The event is a team slam, with each participating school having a team of 4-6 poets. The District Slam event is open to schools beyond San Francisco and Oakland: schools from across the East Bay, North Bay, and Peninsula are invited to send a team to the Greater Bay Slam preliminary bout! Spots are limited, and priority is given to schools with Youth Speaks residencies and/or SLAM clubs.
We are currently looking for judges, sign up now! :: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090C4DA9AB2BAB9-beajudge
ZoomInfo

Building off of the success of Youth Speaks in-school and after-school workshops, assemblies, open mic’s and the Teen Poetry Slam, the District Poetry Slam is an exciting opportunity for high school’s students to perform, dialogue, and speak their minds with high school youth throughout the district and the entire Bay Area.

The event is a team slam, with each participating school having a team of 4-6 poets. The District Slam event is open to schools beyond San Francisco and Oakland: schools from across the East Bay, North Bay, and Peninsula are invited to send a team to the Greater Bay Slam preliminary bout! Spots are limited, and priority is given to schools with Youth Speaks residencies and/or SLAM clubs.

We are currently looking for judges, sign up now! :: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090C4DA9AB2BAB9-beajudge

The Bridge 

Forgotten sons of weary travelers 
travelers traverse the city
in search of something they’ll never find
they escape into landscapes 
that exist inside
inside asks me to wander 
through deserts
so I finally know the definition of heat 
heat encapsulated in the color 
of my mental bone structure
I stand tall for those to pass over
over bridges over parched land
land is a dead sea
sea a sunrise steal the night’s shine
and cover the city in honeyed hues of gold and yellow
yellow like the sun
pregnant in her warmth
i’ll be on the other side
sides are only recognized in concepts of war
I’m the only thing keeping us together
together
with clenched hands. 

Blues

Vast and endless, 
I cover most of your vision, 
lay in your music and take over your days.
Days run until your bones become brittle,
brittle like hollow promises
collapsing when they escape the tongue.
Tongue-tied and choking, 
I’ve been blue before,
been turned back to gold
by mom and sister and sun.
Sun makes me sleepy,
sleepy and solemn, 
I find comfort in my measures
and I will piano your breath, 
decrescendo your thoughts to sleep.

An exquisite corpse by a group of poets at the Youth Speaks Free Writing and Performance Workshop in Berkeley led by Isa Nakazawa. Poets include: Tehan Ketema, Colleen Hamilton-Lecky, Colin Davis, Obasi Davis and Jonny Chang. Visit YouthSpeaks.org for more information on how to get involved. 

Travelers

Some of us were born in motion
motion climbs walls
into strangers backyards
see me in your mystery
mystery, the swimming of all the places
I’ve forgotten to look
I’ve traveled the earth
keep moving until the ground splits
splits into two harmonious seas of sorrow
fill up the space in between my dreams and reality
I live in that longing for more
something to absorb all this sadness
sadness is your name on someone else’s tongue
tongues play tricks on my ears
like music
like stories
like a basket of everything beautiful 
and everything hated in the world
speak not of worldly affairs until you have felt 
the heat of something
something borrowed is never something earned

An exquisite corpse by a group of poets at the Youth Speaks Free Writing and Performance Workshop in Berkeley led by Isa Nakazawa. Poets include: Tehan Ketema, Colleen Hamilton-Lecky, Colin Davis, Obasi Davis and Jonny Chang. Visit YouthSpeaks.org for more information on how to get involved. 

Age has taught me to flex straight bones backwards 
contort self into position 
sometimes body ache is necessary to movement, 
to escape the house that has been built around you 
the house that pierces you until blood drips from your ears, 
but the heater keeps you warm 
so you believe you are happy. 

I try to make people move from the wall, 
escape complacency, 
but all they can remember is the red. 
One wrong step, 
feel it soak into your clothes
can’t tell if you’re stabbing yourself 
or someone is stabbing you, anymore
But what difference does it make? 

Mom will still cry. 
God will still take you into his ocean. Silence will come eventually. 

Colleen Hamilton-Lecky

Gawk at the waves of my body
You are the sun, and I the ocean
Sink in the vastness of my arms.
I am here for you. 
I am here, just like you.
We are here, just like our grandmothers sang to us
but cornered in a place no one goes near.
Placed in a place with a name that has begun to ring gunshots in your ears.
I will dance with my body and crash mountains across these inner city streets.
Remind them of the force we can become.
Remind them that we are here.

Tehan Ketema

reality hides you from us
your spirit rising from the void
breaking from flesh
exploding death’s grip
we can’t see you dancing
only the wound speaks now
the looming threat of tomorrow
the weight of all this dread
we can’t hear your song
your melody of resilience
is quieted by the reverberating 
gun shot blast
that killed you
we can’t see that you refuse to die
that you are surging against us
even now
with a hopeful story to tell
after all, we are just boys
being raised by the ghosts of men
who were once our fathers

Isa Nakazawa

The above poetry excerpts are in dialogue with a short film titled “Until The Quiet Comes” produced by LA-based film collective What Matters Most. In a writing workshop held weekly at the Berkeley Public Library, we watched the short film twice before responding to three photographic stills taken from the film. We wrote for 7-9 minutes on each image with the challenge of embodying a character from each still (instead of simply describing the scene). These are 2 of the 9 responses that emerged from this exercise. For more information on these workshops, visit Youth Speaks

I remember being baptized 
it felt like I was drowning 
choked by God’s hands 
forcing me from birth into his grasp 

I loved him from that moment, 
that he would give me that water 
even if it meant I couldn’t breathe. 

I imagine death, 
is God, 
allowing you to re-enter his Ocean, 
just like you did in crusty innocence. 
Finally giving you relief, 
after carrying yourself so long, 
he lets you lay down. 

Birth and death, 
the only times I will ever know silence. 
That is the benevolent God mother cries for. 
She can’t wait for her second Ocean. 

Colleen Hamilton-Lecky

Find me where there is everything and nothing.
I am lost at sea. Trying to find myself.
My breath wrestling it’s best moves inside of me
won’t stop  me from dancing in the epitome of peace.
This is the one place they haven’t physically gotten to.
Let me enjoy this journey before they turn this haven into a disaster.
This space I cry in, is also the place that welcomes the tears.
It is the place that doesn’t submerges my fear in the darkest of corners.
I hope you find me. As soon as I find myself.
I am lost, but I am at peace, not in pieces.
I am struggling, but I am finally alone, let me be.
I am searching,
and I pray that i find it here.

Tehan Ketema

I found you in the surrender of the sea, 
even in your death, 
you were dancing. 

Isa Nakazawa

The above poetry excerpts are in dialogue with a short film titled “Until The Quiet Comes” produced by LA-based film collective What Matters Most. In a writing workshop held weekly at the Berkeley Public Library, we watched the short film twice before responding to three photographic stills taken from the film. We wrote for 7-9 minutes on each image with the challenge of embodying a character from each still (instead of simply describing the scene). These are 2 of the 9 responses that emerged from this exercise. For more information on these workshops, visit Youth Speaks