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2011 Youth Poet Laureate

Justin Long Moton

59 Ears

In 1951
The first community board
Was established
Its purpose to give New Yorkers
A voice, a medium to which
They could express their concerns
To those in authority in a more
Public setting
59 years later there are 59
Divided amongst the 5 boroughs
In the Bronx there are 12
Your specific community board is based on
My designated ear is # 10
Each month people with opinions
Gather in a slouching auditorium
Coughing problems, in the faces
Of men and women
Wearing corporate hazmat suits
They’re unaffected and don’t care
About the social and financial diseases
Infecting our neighborhoods

Complain about trivial things
Ms. Whiskers with the 9 cats
And a thing for silence
“You should
Do something about those black boys
Playing basket ball outside my window
Causing my mirrors to shake, I can’t see my ignorance
That clearly”
Mr. Toupee
“We got a lot of soul food in the area
I man who likes fine cuisine, I like pasta
Can we get an Italian Restaurant?”

Wondering when did the struggle
Get so gentrified
I wanted to ask the board
How about another police officer
On the corner of Bartow and 100 Co-Op city Blvd

Because the sweetest elderly woman I know
Almost had her purse stolen last week
Perhaps some kind of gang intervention
Because three months ago the doctors had to
Sweep my friend Maurice’s lungs back into his body

But I stayed quiet
If nothing is said nothing is changed
Purses remain desirable
And the breath lingers on the sidewalk

Justin Long Moton is an ambitious and talented writer/performance poet and activist. Born in Harlem and now residing in the Bronx, he is a national award-winning poet who has touched the stage in venues across the country. Justin graduated from Belmont Preparatory Academy and is now attending Adelphi University on a full four-year scholarship. Justin is the winner of many prestigious awards including the 2011 Scholastic Art & Writing Gold Key, the National American High School Poetry Competition, and the 2010 Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam.