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Young NC Poet: 'I Will Fight For My Rights To Be Black In This Crazy World'

chain on a park swing
Brent Danley
Flickr/Creative Commons

There is some intense poetry writing happening this month in Eastern North Carolina.  Select groups of students are participating in the Teach for America Poet Warriors project.

Poet Warriors was launched by a Teach for America corps member in Mississippi in 2012. This year 2,500 students in 20 regions nationwide are participating.  Here in North Carolina, the project is centered in Charlotte and Eastern NC. Students are exploring poetry, writing with freedom while learning specific techniques. They are studying poets like Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Carl Sandburg and Zora Howard.

Here are two poems written by students in Eastern North Carolina.

Walking Into Trouble
by Khalya Evans

My new friend and I were always joking,
Nothing seemed to leave him jolting,
But then one day we walked to the park,
Just to joke and not to play,
As many killings happened here,
This was not a safe park,
My mom told me “Don’t go! Don’t go!”,
But I ignored all her warnings,
And still went,
All because my cool new friend.

When we arrived there was a large group of bullies,
Which my friend planned to annoy,
We just kept walking,
Strain in every step,
My heart slammed against my chest,
Soon I was standing in front of one,
Looking up from different sizes,
My friend insulted all the bullies,
I knew I should have listened to my mom,
And turned around when I had the chance,
Because soon I had a cherry red bloody nose,
And my friend,
A black eye.

Credit Andy Roberts / Flickr/Creative Commons
Flickr/Creative Commons

Stuck Between Colors

by Ken’Yonna Taylor

you say this is your time

theirs a fine line

between your time and my time

this is our time

you see me as black

and you think i see you as white

but i only see you as a person

that i no longer want to fight

we live in a world

where there used to be colored

but now its black and white

listening to the stories

it all seemed like a big fright

unlike some people who ran away

i will stay

i will fight fight for my rights

to be black in this crazy world

youre stuck between color lines

some people think im color blind

but im not

i just don judge people

by what color they are

i only accept people for who they are

>> Browse more poems from other young Eastern NC poets.

Carol Jackson has been with WUNC since 2006. As Digital News Editor, she writes stories for, and helps reporters and hosts make digital versions of their radio stories. She is also responsible for sharing stories on social media. Previously, Carol spent eight years with WUNC's nationally syndicated show The Story with Dick Gordon, serving as Managing Editor and Interim Senior Producer.
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