Prize Poetry

We Are

by a young woman, age 19


We are poets. Our voices vibrant and loud,

Truth projecting out of our experience mouths,

Bitch-slapping virgin cheeks with meaning,

Gutting out clogged pupils,

Forcing in this growing movement.


Poetry. It’s not a word to be taken lightly,

Whether I’m speaking with words that will comfort

Or I scream out all the things I’ve seen. We’ve seen.

Screaming that this twisted trick, this silent movement,

Hushed voices in the bloody, blurry backgrounds of solitary confinement,

This age of ultra-violence, bloody outlines

On our gums marking true defiance.


The most vulgar moments will be the ones to define us.

Stepping out of the comfort zones placed as a so-called option around us.

They say to break the barriers now

Only for you to find out that one slow step and anxious finger

Is all it takes for you to be shut down.


Some may riot and that some, may sometimes be me.

But right now, I’m coming straight out with poetry:

A child from a broken home, or designated pavement,

I don’t need weapons to get this point across.

I could resort to arson, but I know what is really feared.

It’s the chance that a simply educated, proper-tongued

Stiff-backed, calm, collected, controlled,

Black, Native, Latino, Asian, White,

whatever color-in-the-damned-rainbow individual

can tell you what’s really wrong and change this dirty nation’s song.


We are poets. Our voices will break through

Your sternum like bullets have broken through thick flesh

And durable craniums.

Our syllables wrap around your lungs, invade the dusty corners

That are unoccupied in your brain.

Nothing but letters but the power we pack

Behind each description of disdain, neglect and hate

Is enough to drain you completely…

We are poets

And we have something to say.