by Evelyn Chow
Free Write: “If the revolution will not be televised, where will it be seen?” (thank you Nikkita for the prompt)
You will not find the revolution posted in the window of the fancy new coffee shop down the block
Or at the ginger beer store run by the white lady with dreadlocks
The revolution will not have private security or no-trespassing signs
You will not simply put a #BlackLivesMatter banner in your driveway, window, or storefront because
The revolution will not be gentrified
Continue reading POETRY: Revolutionary Encounters
by Jenne Hsien Patrick
Ode to Everyone at the Table
When Mama cooks dinner she makes one dish
per person plus one or two; we patiently wait,
tightly packed, seated round the table made long
with two extensions that are never put away. My thighs brush
against 阿姨 on one side and my sister on the other,
at the long plastic wrapped table you can’t see the top of,
every inch is covered in plates of food. In front of me
is a mountain of rice in a bowl and a whole fish in broth,
Continue reading POETRY: Ode to Everyone At the Table
by Jiéyì 杰意 Ludden
新年快乐 Xīnnián kuàilè!
I was born in 1991 on the first day of Lunar New Year in Nagoya, Japan to a Chinese mother and a white American father. My brother, my dad, and I moved to the States when I was 5 and my mom followed a couple years later. Throughout elementary school, we would go back to China to stay with my mom’s family every other summer. We’d spend the whole school break there, almost three months at a time, and come back just in time for school to start in the fall. One year in early elementary school, we landed on the first official day of school, so I started school a day late. The, at the time, 14-hour time difference meant that I was so sleepy that first day back that I fell asleep during class. I’m grateful that my teacher was understanding.
Continue reading Year of the Ox
The Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in poetry writing to inspire healing from trauma. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with youth at the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC), King County’s juvenile detention facility. Many CFJC residents are Youth of Color who have endured traumatic experiences in the form of abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. These incidents have been caused and exacerbated by community disinvestment, systemic racism, and other forms of institutional oppression. Pongo poetry writing offers CFJC youth a vehicle for self-discovery and creative expression that inspires recovery and healing. Through this special monthly column in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery.
Continue reading PONGO POETRY: Where I’m From
by Tiffany Acker
We humbly submit our whole selves to
being broken, to being opened
Continue reading POETRY: White Ally
by Kamna Shastri
Please do not lose your Self to the world’s reckless turmoil.
The deluge of news and happenstances will rock your heart – break it too.
Continue reading POETRY: A Poem for Rejuvenation
by Art Gomez
Poets and Pirates and Punks flock the streets. Some carry signs, some shake a fist, some flip the finger, some light a torch, some break a window, some loot a shop, some simply pray in the face of mace and tear gas spray and say we must have a peaceful way.
Many fired up youth block the streets and march; caught in the crossfire of fire and brimstone and vigilante fire. As did courageous elders in past decades, they risk their blood; all while fearful xenophobe fascists revel in the flow of the other’s blood. This blood, thick and warm on the street, is not mine; is not color free; is equally red when spilled, but skin is all some see. The blood on the street is not mine but my blood has been forewarned. With the crystal clarity of a Reich night, the next time it could be me they don’t see.
Continue reading POETRY: Continental Divide
by Mark Van Streefkerk
“You see that I am always getting in trouble
Trouble follows me
like a shadow right behind me, always
You see that I am always in fights
Always rebel fights, arguments
But you don’t know me. I’m not that type of person
I’m really caring, giving
Always trying to help people”
Those are the opening lines to “Josiah,” a poem by 16-year-old Damian, a youth incarcerated at Seattle’s Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC), formerly King County Juvenile Detention. “Josiah” appears in The Shadow Beside Me, a new anthology of poems from youth at CFJC, published by the Pongo Poetry Project. In the poem, Damian writes about how life changed when his friend Josiah was shot and killed. “Josiah was the only person we knew who had graduated / had a job, and had something going for him / When he left, it broke me.”
Continue reading ‘The Shadow Beside Me’: Seattle Nonprofit Debuts Poetry From King County Juvenile Detention