America is toxic to me.
It’s a relationship I wish I could escape.
However, it’s holding me hostage.
Stockholm syndrome gets the best of me –
I want to trust America, but I can’t.
Overall, our relationship is unhealthy:
It’s clear America hates us.
The relationship status remains unchanged.
It is clear as day that America has a problem with African-Americans.
We cry out for help, yet America still closes its ears
To drown out our cries.
America, why can’t you just see beyond my skin color?
Why can’t you just see me for me?
I am more than just my skin.
I am a composition of brain, beauty,
Strength, elegance and so much more.
You don’t want to see that.
America you have closed your eyes
And turned a blind eye to the
Blood that we shed unwillingly for years.
The blood that stained chains, shackles
Whips, ropes, the black boots and uniforms
It is obvious you are threatened by our strong willpower.
You cannot simply handle what we give you.
All we ask is to just listen to our sorrows,
Hear us out, that’s the least you can do.
America you’re toxic for me. . . for us.
by Katya Torres, The 826 Dallas Project
This bilingual poem explores the harrowing story of a boy working while in school to save his mother.
by Riti Shrestha, 826NYC
In this poem, metaphor is used to describe who the narrator is.
by Joanne H, 826 Valencia
In this poem, a student’s experiences in two countries meld together as she seeks out her true home.
by Jordan, 826 New Orleans
Crawfish, crayfish, or mudbugs. Whatever you call them, the writer of this poem doesn't like them.
by Steysi Hailee, 826LA
A student reflects on a small moment and single sacrifice that transformed her outlook on giving.
by Numan Khan, age 16, 826 Boston
A bilingual "I am" poem filled with conviction and courage.
by Johnny Vasquez, 826 MSP
A family interview reveals a mother's painful past and shines a light on her persistence.
by Corazón, 826 New Orleans
In this essay, a student threads their identity across cultures, histories, and places, engaging with legacies of violence and the movement of people.
by Sarah X. Age 18, 826Boston
A rousing public narrative from an author coming to terms with their identity as a young Chinese American woman and what they represent: the community of Boston's Chinatown.
by Augustus Griffith Jr., 826 National
From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poem explores the aftermath and lasting impacts of school shootings.
by Samuel Wang, Grade 10, 826NYC
A poem about the complexity of love exchanged during the holidays.
by Oriel, 826NYC
In this poem, an echoing question strikes a chord and reveals the tragic loss held within systemic injustice.
by Sergio M, 826 Valencia
A smile isn’t always what it seems.
by Kayla Wayne, Grade 11, 826NYC
In this poem, a student reflects on their first encounter with forced assimilation.
by Ryan, Grade 12, 826 Boston
In this public narrative, a student illustrates the hardships his uncle has faced to argue for a path to citizenship.
by Sharoya Bracey, 826NYC
In this memoir, the narrator recounts the struggle of being the bigger person in a very small space.
by Izzy T., 826 Valencia
A student reflects on memories of home and what binds her special community together.
by Maria, Grade 12, 826 Boston
In this public narrative, a student makes the case for creating community change by building youth centers in her neighborhood.
by Shayne Williams
Discover what one student experiences when they tuck their phone away for a whole day.
by Julianna Cruz, 826 Dallas Project
This narrative piece contemplates the struggle of immigrants during the pandemic.
by Jazlyn Moses, 826 National
One student explores their online persona and the lasting importance of conscientious social media practices.
by Soraya, 826NYC
This student’s powerful piece reveals the essence of racial injustice.
by Keyshana, Grade 11, 826CHI
Black strength, beauty, and pride soar in this poem as a student discusses overcoming brutality and discrimination.
by Earl Williams Jr., The 826 Dallas Project
A powerful poetic piece about the experience of being Black in America.
by Jennifer Alcocer, The 826 Dallas Project
This personal narrative addresses the struggles of students graduating high school during the pandemic.
by Jonas K., 826 National
A student explores the paradox of how technology is used amongst teenagers.
by Ryker, 826michigan
Liner notes that showcase the meaning and musicality of the Jimmy Ruffin song “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.”
by Justis Porter, age 16, 826 Boston
A neighborhood ode filled with sights and sounds of the poet's street.
by Rockelle Rodd, Grade 11, 826NYC
This poem uses analogies to describe all of the pieces of the writer's personal history.
by Leydi Di Villanueva, The 826 Dallas Project
This creative narrative imagines how the coronavirus views humanity during the pandemic.
by Melody Marcano, 826 Boston
In this poem, a student reflects on their roots and their desire to grow.
by Jeremy Hsiao, 826 National
From the forthcoming anthology, Poets in Revolt!, this poem reminds activists that "to change everything, we need everyone."
by Raheem, 826 New Orleans
A student compares themself to the place they live, New Orleans, as both evolve through great obstacles.
by Tammy Fong, 826NYC
A soccer-filled, feud-fueled memoir.
by Sian Laing
When Instagram becomes an unsightly battlefield.
by Alexis G., Grade 11
In this narrative, the author uses vibrant language to explore their identity, in all its complexity, through different landscapes.
by Michaiah Anderson, The 826 Dallas Project
In this personal narrative, a student describes their family origins with an intimate point of view
by Vanessa Ramon-Ibarra, 826DC
Living in the digital world can create unwanted attachments, as one student laments.
by Jesus Sanchez, The 826 Dallas Project
This creative short horror piece explores the mysteries and danger of a night in the woods.