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Photos by Tyler Bey

VOX Teen Poetry: “The Color of an Insufficient Yet Nostalgic America,” a collection by Tyler Bey

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Cotton Candy Clouds

The clouds in the sky change color as time lapses preparing for the next day
And in this lapse of time, the sun projects its magnificent color

The layers of the pink clouds slapped onto the blue ones resembles that of cotton candy at the fairs down south
Sugar dyed blue and pink spun finely and tightly, coiled, twisted, engrained,
They remind me of the gender roles that exist so deeply in our southern society

Cotton candy so deeply ingrained
But once the cotton candy is separated from it’s contextual body, to be eaten by small children alike, it dissolves on the tongue

Because children aren’t born with this complex

Once the gender roles are taken out of context, ripped off their complete body, they dissolve
And over time they disappear, because the created complex was ridiculous in the first place

Blown Bubbles of Nostalgia

Surrounded by the cushion and comfort of bubbles
I felt as if the warm water would never turn cold.
Soaking up the precious purity of youth and bliss,
I’d bathe and smile with wide eyes, showing all of my teeth
I’d wonder where those bubbles ever went?

If I wasn’t paying attention, would the bubbles find a chance to slip away, and soar higher and higher until they sparkled their last sparkle in the natural sun?
Burst and explode bubble, burst and rage in the presence of my nostalgic sun
And in your explosion, I’ll close my eyes as to not get soap in them

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Yes, I can’t get any in my eyes, that’s when it starts to hurt and internalize,
When the youth starts to become painful and agonizing
When it burns into your being, that’s when the tears start to flow
and when your youth begins to burn up with the pain of your eyes
And my tears don’t glisten quite as well as that pure pink soap lathered and caked in my nostalgia.

American Color

And then there’s rain
At first the droplets are cold and surprising
But it’s not too long until you’re surrounded by a body of water droplets
And the wind whispers its secrets

You don’t know what it says but you laugh anyway, because you’re truly happy
And you smile and hold your face up to the sky to accept more of its gift
And if you look close you can see the wind dancing and twirling in the rain
If you look close you can see it bend and swirl and twists in all directions

The water falls and collects back into the ocean.
And one by one, though slow, though small on the surface,
The ocean collects all the droplets it once lost
And then there’s the family
The family running and smiling with wet hair and brown eyes and clear and pure intentions in their happenings; they push someone down, or splash someone but it’s all out of play
And then the rain stops

The family smiles and runs around watermelon rinds and peach pits
Their shirts stained with ketchup
Their lips a little blue from the cold water
And the mothers dresses white and clean to set example for their daughters destined to wear the same gown
The father’s blowing white smoke from their cigars, whose tips turn red with each inhale

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And it’s a beautiful scene
And it’s a familiar one too
All in American color

As I step onto the shore barefoot, the closer I get, the more the shell bits in the sand hurt my feet
And when I reach the shore, the water is cold on my feet
The waves playfully try to tag my feet and toes, but I’m too quick for them to catch me
So they regress and hide, and plot how they’re gonna catch me, make me “it”, the next time
And at my surprise, sometimes they shyly bring up surprises, little gifts, shells for my collection
I can feel in their cold temperatures, their will to please me, like a child

And as they playfully swing up to my ankles and heels, I can sense the innocence of the waves
But children are beautifully intune

They can detect the smallest shiftings in the atmosphere, and react
Looking over my shoulder, I notice the wind’s picked up pace, and in the air you can see the sand
Swaying with her influence
And the waves feel it too

Suddenly the waves get more aggressive, angrier
They’re no longer trying to tag me
They’re trying to whisk me away
No longer tapping my ankles or pulling at my clothes for attention, they’re trying to grab me, take me all for themselves
Into their depths

Curdles My Blood

The shape of the dagger that causes my wound is pointed at the tip,
but flared at the sides and rounded twice at the bottom

The disdain and spite of society for how I yearn
feels like alcohol in my wound

READ  Childhood Nostalgia: Creating Satisfaction with Life

And the alcohol curdles my blood,
Evaporating my innocence
Separating my rage from my introspection on life

One of these qualities fuses back into my flesh

The other drips down onto a canvas
to make the characters you read now



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