I put a call out a few months ago for poems by students that somehow tied back to the issue of race and culture. The kind folks at InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit, an organization that brings creative writing into Detroit Public Schools, sent me a number of relevant poems by youth from the area.
We would love to read more poems about race and culture. If you think you've got a poem that fits, send it our way! Meantime, here are some poems we'd like to share with you.
In Southwest Detroit
Life grows best on the roofs of abandoned buildings.
Outsiders look at the graffiti juxtaposed against islands of grass
but don't understand that art and science create wonders.
When I moved near Vernor St.
it took me a while to blend in with the community.
Like oil paint submerged in water, I always stood out.
Maybe I never understood the environment.
Learning the culture was like trying to decode
the meaning of a Van Gogh painting,
except my neighborhood was more like a mosaic
of different backgrounds glued together by struggle,
to prove that those abandoned buildings aren't abandoned.