This is my response to "Youthspeaks Seattle" the youth poetry grand slam finals held at the Moore Theater in Seattle on Friday, March 19th. I randomly happened past the Moore in my exploration of Seattle while there visiting and the marquis drew me in. I work with youth, I love poetry, and the Youth Dreamers and I just committed to co-hosting Wide Angle Youth Media's Poetry event on Tuesday, April 20th at Metro Gallery in Baltimore. So I went. I knew it would be good, but I was blown away by the talent, intensity, honesty, and vision of the young people. They were amazing! They inspired me to write in verse again, so here is my poem in response:

the power of words, the voice of youth
so clear
on life, love, joy, pain, and death
and all the rest
weaving words
drawing language lines
one at a time
but the stories intertwine

they speak the world
that we all find
a crush
the hush
of a funeral
the anger of young life lost
the city
life in its streets
the choices we have
the people we meet

they laid their souls bare
for us to hear
voices clear

the words of youth
so deep
such truth
they touched me
with their honesty

I saw upon the stage
voices that know themselves
and speak it
are not afraid

thank you poets
thank you all
for reminding us
the power of the word
the power of our voice
when we are not afraid to speak
youth speak
your power
your vision
your dream

when we go back to the word
the power is in what we speak.