Modern artistry

Everyone wants to talk, but no one ever wants to listen…

Kevin Huang, Burlington, VT

What do you say to yourself in the mirror
On the days when you no longer feel like trying?
What do you say to your best friend’s tears
When you wake up to the sound of them crying?
What do you say to your mom and dad
When they ask if you’re feeling okay?
Do you tell them the truth?
Or do you lie to stay out of their way?
You’re the kind of person who drives too fast
Cursing red lights for slowing you down
And I scream into the emptiness
But your blaring car radio drowns me out.
My whole world lurches forward
You send me into overdrive
As you force the clutch down to the floor
Moving at the speed of light
And more than anything I’ve ever felt before
You make me feel alive

You’re looking for undiscovered worlds
Underneath layers of peeling gray paint
An alternative reality
Of swirling colors and shapes
Some people call it grafitti
While others call it vandalism
Some people call it artwork
While others call it idealism
But you looked and you saw hope
Behind the rainy facade of gray Manhattan
You found a way to cope
In spray painted fascination.

And everyone else just wants to talk
But no one ever wants to listen
Everyone else just wants to talk
But no one ever wants to do anything
When you feel like you can no longer walk
But no one cares until you’re dying
You have to wait until your knees give in
Before you let them see you crying
You have to wait until you can no longer breathe
Before you give up trying

I know how you think
Because I see it in your artwork
Scribbled in your journals
Scawled on the city walls
You’re ahead of your time
Your paintings are breathtaking
Underappreciated art
Like history in the making.

So you change the color of the city walls
By emptying cans of spray paint
And they’ll come back around
They’ll wash it away
Scold you like parents scold children
Who draw on their bedroom walls
Genius goes unacknowledged
Because no one asks who taught them to draw
No one ever stops to speculate
What is the meaning behind their scribbles?
Behind every color and every shape?
They’ll paint over it, cover it up mindlessly
Hoping you’ll give up and stop trying to create.

I know that it’s hard
As your work keeps getting erased
I know that that you’re tired
Feeling like you’re life’s a waste
I know that there are reasons why
I never seem to get through to you
The same reasons why you only ever dance
When you think that no one can see you
Why you only ever sing
When you think that no one can hear you
And why you only ever cry
When you think that no one is there with you.

It’s hard to imagine someone with your wll to live
Just letting go and giving up
But often it’s those who seem the happiest
That are barely hanging on
Every parent says not my kid
Becuase they think that they’re one of the good ones
But every kid is a good kid
In the eyes of those they love.
But no one in the whole world is perfect
Because perfection is just an idea
No one in the whole world is perfect
Because perspective changes its definition.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — 
A sentiment that’s both cliche and forgotten
As we put standards on everything
We see excellence become a paradox.
We live in a mass of humanity
Of songs and poems and artwork
Of tears and smiles and ridiculous dreams
Of pain and lies and of honesty
Where artists hold up mirrors in the streets
Spray-panted reflections of society
Reflections of you
Reflections of me
And everyone else
Of everything.

I’m tired of feeling tired
I want to feel like I do when it’s just you and me
When the lights go off, and it gets dark
When the rest of the world cannot see
You will guide me through the narrow alleys
Speeding through the empty city streets
We’ll follow the trail of your masterpieces
​Until we are finally free.

Poetry by Maisie Newbury, Weybridge, VT. Read more great writing at youngwritersproject.org!