Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Young Americans

Many say they are nuances as they study
their own adolescence with rebellion.
They masquerade in front of these storefronts
and on these busy sidewalk curbs
as challenged faces barely old enough to cry.

And as I walk,

a young Asian girl stands in my way
as I try to get by. She is smoking a thin cigarette,
slightly puffing from the side of her pieced lip.
Her left hand is covered by a black glove
as she ignores my presence
by rolling her eyes with her other hand.
The expression on her face gives me the middle finger
but the sadness in her stare
politely asks me to notice her.

She is there quietly singing with a loud
voice in style. Misunderstood by the nature
of her appearance is a girl searching for her place
in a world ignoring her,
telling her she’s no good.

And as I watch,
a skateboarder showcases his tattooed anger
by blindly shifting out into the open street
of passing strangers. He is risking his tomorrow
and they are risking his discovery
as they honk their horns to the glare of his eyes
shouting ‘fuck you’
as he pushes his board with worn down
Sketcher sneakers.

For the moment the stage is his
as his spiked Mohawk makes its way
to the other side of the street where a group
of Black and Latino kids battle back in fourth
in a lyrical game of rhyme.

Their words are fulfilled by their hardships
as their voices express the conflict
of human struggle. They speak the language
of adulthood from the bodies of children
hardened by the victories of poverty.

And as I listen,
I hear the breath of a generation wheezing
in the fields of definition. They are an asthma
as they seek to open new lungs in the dampened
air of expectations.

They are the young Americans -- a new age
of voices traveling through different languages
for growth
and for the freedom to be heard.

© 2010
Tarringo T. Vaughan

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