YCA’s Louder Than A Bomb Contestants Share Poetry In Advance of Appearance at Pitchfork Music Festival
Written by Vocalo Radio on July 12, 2019
Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB) is the largest youth poetry festival in the world.
LTAB is an annual event hosting over 1,000 youth poets for a month of Olympic-style poetry bouts, workshops, and special events. Students representing schools and community groups in the Chicago area perform original solo and group poems in a tournament-style competition.
Fifteen poets from YCA’s Louder Than A Bomb will perform poems in between sets at the Pitchfork Music Festival Blue Stage next weekend.
To prepare you, we’ve included a few poems from LTAB 2019 winners this year… Tune into Vocalo’s Morning AMP every morning during Pitchfork week to hear all the poets read their pieces!
Jerome Kelly is an 18 year-old from the Chatham neighborhood and goes by the stage name Jay Post. Jerome draws poetic inspiration from life experiences and other creative minds.
A Curse on You and Your White Hood
I felt my heart hit my stomach when I seen your lights flash
I prepared for invasion but didn’t imagine you leaving with a piece of me
I guess you had , had your way
In defiling and detaining the faint of heart
Made your peace and pulled off
How do you apologize for making waste of body ? or four ?
For binding us heel to toe for being parked while black
For patting down my 8 year old little sister
Why’d you need 5 squad cars to investigate a family in mid size sedan ?
You made us The something in a town where nothing ever happens
You cuffed a mother in front of her child
You mirandized me
Turned the contents of my bag into curb decorations
Then made a side road attraction of my family then call it a misunderstanding
You say sorry
But refer to me as suspect in the same breathe
Your sorry is a bandaid to a tarantino scene
Your thank you for being so cool
A blow to the chest for the boys in the back of the patty wagon
How can I fill this anger with your sorry ?
This shame with “ you’re free to go”
I Felt the phantom pains from the cuffs for a week after that
And now I see you in every cruiser that passes me
Wonder would you think twice if you saw me again
If this PTSD things works both ways
I Find every tight space resembles you
And I have this recurring dream where my sheets turn in to constraints and I feel you purging my body of its sin
Do you even remember?
Or is this routine to you ?
You saw nigga before family
You Cuff before questioning
I don’t want justice no
I’ve seen to many bodies slip through the cracks
Seen you get paid leave for earthing another body another boy
So no not justice
I want you bloody mouthed with your tongue in palms
I want every name you replaced with boy to sneak up your throat and sit like acid
Do you taste it ?
I pray every person ever detained for existing while black to congregate under your eyelids
So you can’t even seek safety behind them
And everytime you close them you see them lurking through the darkness and they hungry
And You pig are feast
My great grandmother used to say
To hate something is to take its foul name and incinerate in the trenches of your gums
So When I say a want the man who cuffed my mother to burn
It is to say I want his privilege to become tar stuck to his bones
It is to say I want his badge to jump off him chest and show him the wrong side of it
I need you to know my sister seen you cuff me
So it’s only fair your family attend too
And when the mob comes for you they are watching
And then you’ll finally know what it is to fear for your life for real this time
This time no privilege No metaphor nothing but black
And may you drown in it .
Ari Appleberry is a 19 year-old from the Bronzeville area. Ari draws poetic inspiration from Black culture and the resilience of others.
Big Dyke Energy
origin “bullydyking” or “bullydyker”
Claude Mckay’s 1928 “Home to Harlem”
was it’s 1st time in print.
“what we calls a bullydyker in Harlem… i don’t understan’… a bullydyking woman”
always been just a dyke
when i was born? baby dyke
as a kid? dyke in training
as an adult? prime dyke
& when i’m dead i’ll be dusty dyke
hopefully legend dyke
i’m so dyke the dutch accidentally invented me
had to reinvent the dyke when they realized i don’t stop floods, but start them
so dyke that i conjured the word “lesbian” when i got tongue tied saying “let’s lick labias in libya”
so dyke i love LeBron
was LeBron on my middle school AAU team
so dyke i was on a middle school AAU team
lost my dyke once
labeled it “androgynous”
which is just a boogie, hipster name for dyke
yt gays have made an art out of bleaching blk queer things & selling it back to us
some yt lesbian that looked like justin bieber, or ruby rose, or katy perry, or halsey
told me that we were one in the same
i looked at her & felt all the big dyke energy that came before me
felt sister Rosetta Tharp
felt Lorraine Hansberry
felt Angela Davis
& said “oh yt woman, you wish you had my energy. be glad you don’t. because your body
cannot furnace the burning of dykes that died due to dykeness & blkness & non cisness –
be glad. that you do not rot with us”
Kennedy Harris is a 19 year-old from the South Shore neighborhood. Kennedy draws poetic inspiration from her creative community whether Young Chicago Authors or team members from Brooks.
imma sad bitch… by Kennedy Harris
As in i be sad asf. Sad as in I have a finsta to post shit when im sad. As in i was tired of
posting and deleting sad. still do. Wish i had someone to vent to but wont go see a
therapist sad. As in I went to therapy once, and at the end i was still sad. So i wrote a
poem, but at the end i was still sad. So i wrote a suicide note, but at the end i was still sad.
So i went to sleep sad. woke up sad. Only thought about showering but didn’t. I reek of
last week’s sad. My mother doesn’t believe im sad. Think i just got attitude problems.
Think i get them from my biological mother and she wants me to give them back. Think a
bible would help. Sad, cause i don’t know what i would be if i wasn’t sad. Once, my
brother got a drunk and punched a hole in the wall right above me and my sisters head.
Everytime i think about it i get sad. Not because he almost hit me. But because he doesn’t
realize that he is also just sad. Later, I promised myself i would never drink while sad.
Sad, cause no one warned me that drunk texting aint got nothing on texting while sad. I
hit up my hoes sad. Im tryna get fucked sad. I tell shorty make me happy. She says she
can only make me cum. Which is lowkey sad asl… sometimes, me and my niggas get high
and laugh about how sad we are OR forget about how sad we are OR don’t bring up how
sad we are. We still sad tho. But it’s something about being sad with other sad folks.
Makes a bitch feel like she belongs sad. As in i wish i was better at replying sad. As in
ain’t nobody boutta deal with my ass sad. As in too black to be this sad. As in me and my
niggas are generationally sad. As in you have to be a certain type of strong to be this sad.
As in me and my niggas don’t believe in suicide sad. As in to be black and suicidal is to
already be gone… and aint that just sad?
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