Rethinking Language

Constant change cometh, constant change comes. Language stays her, an archaic expression of here,
passing, at times, through awkward periods, like the stretched amalgamations lapsing from youth to adulthood.
Hair sprouting, lips twitching, eyes blushing.

So you see, Grandma?
That text message I sent to my girlfriend?

That was a rustled leaf, an extended limb, a baby’s,
girl’s, woman’s, mother’s, grandmother’s song.
Not the death of language, which cannot die.

Don’t you feel it?
The feigned disinterest, concealed excitement, unspoken words?
Language, breath-think-asking, living, on its own,
in that hard backed, four pronged letter K.

Don’t you understand? Standing underneath a

history, a story where words fold into words? Briefly, perhaps momentarily, that swift K

surfaces, the result of a

gradual, momentous shift in tide,

riding from text message to text mess-
age, from soul
to soul, from wave to wave.
Though small,
though seemingly meaningless, that alphabetized, un- formalized grain is part
of the story
of the shifting sands of language,
and composes an entire poem.


In Response to Patricia Smith: What It's Like To Be A Black Girl For Those Of You Who Aren't
Karlyn Boens
Young Chicago AuthorsStudent

She said being a black girl is feeling like you’re not finished She said it’s finding that space between your legs

a disturbance at your chest and not knowing what to do with the whistles ....

Is this what it means to be a woman?

To shop all day as bags clutch against your flesh: you can't wait to feel pretty. Feeling pretty is that first touch of make-up that hits your skins.

Your friends say it looks right..

It's noticing the blemishes on your face that you didn't order

It's ordering take out dishes and instantly feeling like you have arrived at 500 pounds It's arriving between rocks and hard places

Discovering your lips can do more than mommy ever told you they could

It's speaking louder than you ever imagined and not caring who hears you scream Who sees your nightmares

Who vamps with you through night

It’s that first kiss with the fella with the liquor stained kush breath. That oddly you enjoyed

It’s learning the difference from a man and a nigga. It's no longer being able to sit on daddy's lap. You’re growing up.

Not trusting anyone.

That smell of blood in your breakfast that Smith speaks of … It's fear.

It's independence.

It's happiness.

It's the life that every girl wants to live

Omari Ferrell
Young Chicago AuthorsStudent

The entire aura of this place was wonderful The balance of life was perfect ...
Beauty radiated with the mere mention of this place.

There wasn't a doubt in my mind that people would soon begin to travel miles at a time just to marvel at its beauty
And sit and watch its innocence and wonder correlate so perfectly with its


soon the legends would begin of her peaceful anarchy.

Then man came guns blazing, violently spreading darkness and pain across her land.
Stripping her of her beauty, destroying her land

Chopping down her trees drying seas leaving her land bare and eyes wet, Broken, she drops to her knees surrounded by a desert wasteland.
They destroyed a paradise and everything around it and even though they did this they call her ugly and worthless
And what's even worse is; she believes this

They give her make up, and tell her that it will make her beautiful again Burying her natural beauty under concrete, skyscrapers and sin
she is now convinced that her dark skin ..  is a cage .. her children have been caged
The stars that once shone in her eyes, have disappeared, replaced by the bright dim streetlights in her soul.
They still tell stories of this woman of this land, of the beauty that used to exist that she allowed to slip so far into an inescapable abyss unaware that they are the ones that did this … I walk on her street and look into her dying eyes ...  i take out a case containing my weapon. Of mass destruction, revealing the beauty that used to be
i begin to play a jazzy tune

She moves her hips to the beat, and dances happily for the first time.. The stars outshine the streetlights

She began to smile at me, revealing that the beauty still exists ... I love this land and all places like it
I hope someday we can take her back to the days of bb king and langston hughes poems ..
Back to the days when the jazzy beats had the same beat as her heart… Back to the days when her hair was curly and her eyes were bright … And her skin was art
back to the days of her former beauty, back to the days of the magnificent African American  peaceful anarchy ..

Tears of Acid Rain
Wayne Strange
Young Chicago AuthorsStudent

1 teacher told
2 kids there are 3 ways to make
4 quarters … Beg, Work, and Take

He told us that we were the future,
And we put our dreams in a time capsule that had toy story figures
Because we believe we had a Buzz Light year and Woody the cowboy friendship Infinity and Beyond

Today I opened that time capsule and saw I dreams flutter like butterflies Fresh out of the cocoon
Today I looked a picture that had out toothless smiles Today, my tears run like acid rain.

His eyes don’t blink as if he’s in a staring contest for all eternity
His lips so cold it felt as if he’s been kissing vampires all day
And his body lay so still, if we played freeze tag he would always lose

The executioner exemplified an execution only night terrors could imagine. That day I replay officious memories as if I were a DVD player remote.
Rewind, play … Rewind, play … Rewind, play …
Let me start your life over and This time I’ll hold the camcorder

We won’t need our teacher to be our oracle and predict our future because It could always be changed
We can always switch lanes
An animal can always be tamed
But why kill an animal before it can break out of its cage Before it can take front stage
Before it can laugh at the jocularity and be as jubilant as a teenager on a Friday

shots to the head
seconds to call the feds
foot steps away from the murder the assassin fled while 8 eye balls watch big brother lay there dead
Today our tears run like acid rain

3.7 GPA but today he paid the price as if he had big bills to give away
The inglorious coward told him to get on his knees and face the other way He wanted to show his family that he was a magician
Making big brother and oldest child disappear until they can meet in the sky one day

Even if this happened
9 times in one day
10 news channels would still say, we have more important stories to cover today.
This is what I’m talking about …

Can you smell the gun powder? Can you see the ocean of blood?
Can you hear the last breath of my dead brother?
10 news channels would see this happen 9 times in one day while
8 eyes ball watch big brother lay there dead and
7 foot steps away from the murder the assassin fled when it only took 6 seconds to call the feds … maybe those
5 shots to the head wouldn’t have happened if those 4 quarters were made by those
3 ways that those
2 students heard from that 1 teacher …
Today my tears run like acid rain.

Renga, Party of 8 (collectively composed at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival)
Michaela Coplen, Omari Ferrell, Louis Lafair, Brandonlee Cruz, Nathan Cummings, Karlyn Boens, Sojourner Ahebee and Wayne Strange

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