For the missing ceiling tiles in 5th period history

Spread the Fire

Yes, I’ve put on some kind of show
Imagined an uppercut straight through the ceiling

How dramatic

I can see the sky now
It’s blue and blinking at me

And so the tiles tell me to reach for the last of something
Or the first of something

Like I’ll be able to see everyone’s faces
If only they are looking up with me

But I am tripping backwards
Trust falling into the hands of whoever ends up holding me next

No one chooses the way a world bends around them

So really, I am still
Sitting at my desk

I am tired of talking about holes and whoever’s gonna fill them
The girl behind me has already fallen asleep

I can hear her breathing through the cloth draped over all of us
Creased against our skin

Cuz all of us in the classroom can hear it
A kind of cloud crinkling when we speak its name

Notice how I’m revising nothing

How I’m still staring
At what once was part of the sky




Spread the Fire is a Youth Speaks workshop series facilitated by YS Poet Mentor, Hieu Minh Nguyen. The series aims to demystify the publishing side of poetry. In the workshop, poets learn how to refine and prepare their poems for publication. The fire you spit on stage, can also scorch the page. Burning down the borders between page and stage, poets learn how their poems can gain a new life by accessing a readership through publishing. 

Thunder Over a Nation

I hear / the camps devour people whole, / sweeping the last crumbs of life / under the rug of genocide.

All the Unyielding Things

I just want to be a mitigator.
I just want to be a little something
to take the edge off.