Atlanta Teen Voices / all

VOX Teen Poetry: ‘Prison of Perception’

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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.”

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