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I HEAR YOU Poems by Michael Evans Kevin Holloway Rachael Jones Iyahna Willingham

Edited by Fish Vargas

From the Fall 2011 Spoken Word Poetry Class Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse with Youth Speaks 1


Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse www.genevacarbarn.org

The mission of the Geneva Car Barn and Powerhouse is to create and manage a dedicated space in SF District 11 where artists, youth, and community members convene, exchange, learn, create and exhibit artistic and cultural works. We pursue this mission through revitalization of the historic Geneva Office Building and Powerhouse site, providing artistic, cultural and educational programming for youth and adults of all cultures and ages, and serving as a platform for creative work undertaken by District 11 residents.

Youth Speaks

www.youthspeaks.org Youth Speaks creates safe spaces to empower the next generation of leaders, self-defined artists, and visionary activists through written and oral literacies. We challenge youth to find, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of social change. Ultimately, we hope to shift the perceptions of youth by combating illiteracy, alienation, and silence, creating a global movement of brave new voices bringing the noise from the margins to the core.

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INSIDE Michael Evans I Have Skin My Girlfriend Kevin Holloway I Can Not Die Untitled Rachael Jones I Hear You Untitled Iyahna Willingham Statistics Reality

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Michael Evans 16, Leadership High School

I HAVE SKIN

I have skin hair clothes feet teeth eyes and a nose but sometimes I hesitate to say I’m black people are quick to judge hate discourage and comment on the way I “act” I don’t own a pair of Jordans I never use slang I am going to college I don’t follow my stereotype they say I’m white-washed white on the inside, black on the outside an Oreo drowned since the age of 5 with racial slurs spit, out mouths of those of my same color As I grew older, the curse got worse with every black friend I couldn’t make every beautiful black girl I couldn’t date every black neighborhood I feared with every wigger I was called and every snowflake and every white boy chocolate milk, Uncle Tom, little bitch, sell out, honkie, white wannabe, white adopted orphan, painted skin, white trash, white bread, unbleached, color coated, cracker lover to the point I wanted to be called nigger so bad, just so I could feel comfortable

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So I could feel black because even in the 21st century, being labeled human in America still isn’t enough.

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Michael Evans 16, Leadership High School

MY GIRLFRIEND

I miss her, like I miss the Summer haven’t seen or spoken to her in 2 days, 2 nights, 48 hours, many minutes With each tick of the clock the fear grows closer to the explosion. Imploding the past 2 months of affection into fake smiles I’d have to carry out when I see her. So I cut the red wire using my words, or my lines or my rhymes or some flowers, or a date, or that thing... she likes, when I rub the back of her ear softly, hypnotizing her to leave me irresistible like blink to eye or any guy... irresistible let any guy, buy her flowers hold her hand spend the night meet her parents rub her thigh kiss her lips grab her butt and just let any motherfucker use “I was watching an episode of Spongebob” as an excuse not to text her. Just the thought of her makes me smile but these past 48 hours are making me think... that she’s not smilin’ back.

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Kevin Holloway 18, Leadership High School

I CAN NOT DIE

I Can Not Die Helpless like a fish out of water I can not breathe air but no air Not for me I can not die Thirsty like a drunk bum broken lost soul in this universe. life is my struggle. Never stopping. In a fight it is not easy life, it is hard like a boxer in a ring for 12 rounds with no hands. I fight alone helpless I can not die No choice but to win, losing, not an option Anger and motivation boiling like hot water just understanding my eyes are open I can not die All I got is voice my pencil and paper The gift nobody can take away from me I will forever be free Death is sleep I can not die

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Kevin Holloway 18, Leadership High School

UNTITLED

I don’t understand what you say about poetry That it’s the stuff you don’t think about when you do have a pen and can document your thoughts on paper that it stands strong as a bullet-blasted stop sign in a shootout ready for capture. I never knew that a Homo Sapiens meant “a man who thinks” or.... that there has been no anatomical changes in the thinking of man. I don’t understand how I am better than him. I just wanna know why does it take this man this woman, person, us, 25,000 years to invent writing? What we didn’t think of with that little time ….... with pen, laptop, MacBook, PDA, computer, iPhone, iTouch. What came to us.....? what didn’t pass through our minds

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Rachael Jones 17, Independence High School

I HEAR YOU

I hear you My body convulsing with war drums I’ve seen you My mind crumbling with empty promises Pain became pleasure Eyes crazed I got sucked in as easy as a lumbering cow sloshes in quick sand Looking for my little piece of heaven Looking for life, rebirth My heart became a poisonous pool I dignified pain with a smile I drank from becoming delirious Down the swamp, drug wars Nursing my whisky and cocaine Cherishing in my heart the people I’ve known and loved I could hear the pedestrian’s agonized Butler adults with paperweight hearts Under rock piles of despair I’ve searched for you in each corner of this unbalanced continent Slouched with humiliation and defeat Blocking me from feeling anymore A strong kid but full of nothing

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Rachael Jones 17, Independence High School

UNTITLED

I drive my pain through the sun’s heart My mind, vanished off the face of the earth How do you think I feel? I wake up, next thing I know you’re driving me out of my mind You’re yelling, you’re nagging, misunderstanding Frightened, that a human being I knew vanished off the face of the earth What if the line broke, the city disappeared, everyone we knew was gone! When will we wake up How do you think it feels for a girl to be alone torture chambers all around not knowing within hours for natural destruction say goodbye to future husband, kids, the family that never existed

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Iyahna Willingham 17, Leadership High School

STATISTICS

Gossip, rumors, completely true facts, used to belittle someone or something in confidence and status of being. I will not be that child on the corner, with that pimp selling me, for scraps. Shooting me with poison, dirty needles playing Russian roulette. Treated as if she was a sex slave. Abused, Sexually harassed, that will not be me a choice I not make. Statistics is a newborn child, depth, artistic, under the surface, and lies. Nine Months, sixteen years old, pregnant, an unwanted child, an education lost, alone with nowhere to go. Thinking back before this massacre of a problem “Once you leave out the door don’t look back...” The last words rattled in the rattlesnake’s tail. Getting ready to bite... The words would come out in silences. Not only is this a statistic that many people go through.... Belittled She relinquished herself,

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her courage to be different, shattered, status destroyed. Nothing left in life but a baby to take care of. Seeing far in the heavens, People who throw her out, Came looking for their child, Yes that was a happy day.

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Iyahna Willingham 17, Leadership High School

REALITY

What happened? Not an imaginary tale but only the reality outside your mind. Can’t be what you want, Dislike her for being her, She acts the way she is, has nowhere to go. She still talks, walks, learns, goes out and everything wild. Your shouldn’t be blamed, but only on whom in charge. She dislike her friends, grades, education, the matter of her whole being. Speechless, a silent night, bamboo blowing in the wind, like the blade cutting through my flesh, wounded, not a sound. Her life is what is wanted, you can’t change your past, So you blamed her for your mistakes. Fast, lost of innocence before Seventeen. Harmless, Touching unwanted places. He explores that body form head to toe. The eyes small with sorrow, lips eerily soft, belly smooth as a babies bottom, thighs sweet sweet chocolate, but the body in general thicker then most. His first touch lead to a tingling sensation, like your feet being asleep and awakening, to the touch of the cold ground. She was in over her head.

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This is her reality, not her imagination, Only the truth in her life.

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ABOUT THE POETS Michael Leon Evans Jr. 16, Leadership High School Michael’s favorite class is US History and he also has a love of movies, public relations, comedy, old school hip-hop, and public speaking. Public speaking, comedy, and story-writing are much of his main interests. He plans to take on a double-major in Communications and Cinematic Arts–Televison and Film Production when he attends university in 2013. When faced with personal and academic obstacles and setbacks, Mike sees the outer picture and tries to learn from it, rather than quitting or crying about it, giving him the nickname “Optimistic”. He has high expectations for himself and a healthy self-esteem that’s unbreakable. In other words, he doesn’t give a damn about the things you say or do to try to put him down. He’ll always be himself. Kevin Holloway 18, Leadership High School Kevin is originally from Oakland, and loves to skate and play basketball. The most important thing to him is family. He will do anything for his mother and would kill for his little brothers. Kevin lives with his step-pops in San Francisco, so he is not able to be around his little brothers as much as he used to. Kevin has seven brothers total and he is the second to youngest. The three brothers on his father’s side he barely keeps in touch with. The oldest brother on his mother’s side has schizophrenia. Kevin hates for people to judge him based on the outside, like where he is from and his past. Kevin believes his struggle in life now is deciding whether he wants to go to college or into the Marines. Kevin feels he is bound to family and home. As a poet he is truthful, creative, and he pours thoughts and worries he has about life onto paper.

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Rachael Ra’shay Lanice Jones 17, Independence High School Rachael volunteers for Social Justice Program, where she helps with community events involving the new chief police, and issues such as how they interact with youth. She also goes to community meetings and is interested in topics like the new mayor, children, immigration, the LGBTQ community, Bay Area Guardian forum, education, youth, MUNI, government, Wall Street, and more. In the future she hopes to be able to graduate with her class on time. She aspires to be responsible, focused, and successful in life without any messes that she has the ability to control.

Iyahna Unique Rose Willingham 16, Leadership High School Iyahna is interning for a nutrition and exercise program for children. She is a member of Tailor Made, which is a group of people trying to make a difference in life and the community. She is a part of Student Government, where she helps the student body, clubs, and individual class years. With ambitions of becoming a psychologist, massage therapist, and social worker, she has her colleges mapped for a progressive and productive future. Hawaii Pacific University, Clark Atlanta University, New York State, and Spellman University are just a few of her choices.

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ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR Sam ‘Fish’ Vargas Fish Vargas is a Bronx-born Nuyorican poet. He has shared his words of power and experience at countless poetry venues, fundraisers, festivals, universities throughout NYC and the United States. He has been a featured performer at Cornelia Street Cafe, First Wednesday for the Bronx Council on the Arts, Universal Hip-Hop Parade in honor of Marcus Garvey, Uppercase at Bar 13, Illinois State University, University of William Paterson, University of Albany, University of Ramapo. He was a featured performer at Voice for the Voiceless in Amherst College in Massachusetts 2003 and 2004. In 2004 he claimed victory against 34 slam masters competing on a national level. He is a founding member of Acentos Bronx Poetry Showcase, the Acentos Foundation, and the Acentos writers workshop based in the Bronx. He also is a member of the LouderARTS Project Artist organization. He has facilitated workshops for the Osborne Association/Freshstart Program at Rikers Island teaching inmates creative writing and poetry for 5 years running. He was the Poet in Residence and Artistic Director for Bronxworks poetry writing program. He was a writing Mentor with Urban Word NYC, Community Word Project, The L.I.F.E Foundation and head Facilitator with the Acentos writers workshop until his move to California in May 2010.

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I Hear You  

Poems by Michael Evans, Kevin Holloway, Rachael Jones, and Iyahna Willingham Edited by Fish Vargas From the Fall 2011 Spoken Word Poetry C...

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