Tag Archives: teen poetry

VOX Teen Poetry: ‘Prison of Perception’

Look at my skin…and predict what the future holds for me, a statistic of why America needs more police, or an absent father, imprisoned for his crimes, unable to see the day that his son will finally rise

Listen to my voice…try to imagine my past.  A 9-year-old kid that hears the birds of the night, their chirping soon followed by a single mother’s cries, or a mistake, another burden of a 15-year-old girl, putting food on my plate, living in disgrace of how she got the money for it

Step into my shoes…and tell me when your feet start to hurt. Is it from all the marching, Black-on-Black crime is fine but a dead gorilla is more appalling, or walking to American History, to learn how your last name came from the rapist who divided your family.

We are all judgmental creatures, guess it’s human nature to be. I’m tired of praying every single night that I can even walk home safely, that when I do die, my mom ain’t digging my grave over a black hoodie

We may walk free, but because of our judgmental mentality, we are all enslaved mentally.But I feel something strong that moves me inside, and no longer is it fear moving down my spine

I feel this yoke of prejudice breaking, rusty like they’re worn by the slaves at the bottom of the sea. I have outgrown these handcuffs of superstitions, knowing that I can open their lock without selling a single key and anyone can thrive in this society, regardless of ethnicity.

I used to believe my skin color only guaranteed life in a penitentiary, but if my people created pyramids before Jesus Christ was conceived, hate it or love it, it’s in my genetics to succeed. So I’ll ask you once more, when you look at my skin, what do you see? A person who lives in a box society created to define me, or a regular human being who ain’t afraid to stand in front of anyone and say proudly, “only God can judge me.”

VOX ATL was invited to create poetry about self-affirmation and love at The Villages at Carver Family YMCA in partnership with Georgia Cares, a nonprofit organization supporting youth and working to eliminate the sexual exploitation of youth in Georgia.  Here’s what a few creative writers had to say.  I am a worthwhile being I value my…

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I am my own person and live my life how I want.

I am not for everyone.

I am not your object. I am not perfect and I do not have to be.

I am powerful, resilient, and beautiful.

I am not your “baby.”

I am black art.

I am not a sex figure.

I am my own voice, no one speaks for me.

I am not your b**ch.

I am not your “black woke queen.”

I am not your fetish.

I am not a toy for you to play with when you get bored

I am not flawless.

I am not yours.

I am a human and I want to be treated like one.


by Maya Martin/VOX staff & Atlanta Teen Voices editor
by Kaylynn Parks/VOX Teen Staff
by Zakirah White/VOX Teen Staff
by Jasmin Martin/VOX Teen Staff
by Alia Holt/VOX Teen Staff

This poem was created by the participants in VOX’s 2018 Girls Lock-in after a discussion about sexual harassment in the media and in our communities. 

Enjoy poetry?

Join VOX (for free!) at our Atlanta Word Works Youth Poetry Slam, Sat. March 17, 1-3:30 p.m. Register at bit.ly/artnotego2018.

To submit poetry to be published on VOXATL.com, email us your poem and original art piece at editor@voxatl.org. Be sure to include your name, age and school.