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2015 Youth Poet Laureate

Crystal Valentine

A Voter’s Problem

Maybe we’re just waiting for the locus to come,
Maybe we’re waiting for the whole world to set fire
For God to finally cleanse this melting pot
For a purer human race to raise from the ashes

Because obviously the stakes aren’t high enough

Obviously college debt isn’t high enough
High school dropout rates aren’t high enough
Increased Metrocard Fares aren’t high enough

Obviously Obama’s signature on the 8.7 billion dollar food-stamp cut isn’t enough
America’s attempt to exile an entire continent isn’t enough
People being beheaded on national television just isn’t enough

Maybe we’re waiting for something ridiculous to happen,
Like Miley Cyrus becoming the first female president
Like racism being diagnosed as a mental illness
Like police sirens becoming our new national anthem

Obviously we’re just waiting for something deadlier than rape culture and police brutality to split this world in half
Maybe politics aren’t Armageddon enough for us
Aren’t spark enough for us
Aren’t call to action enough for us

This is a call to action
To rally
To revolution

And I know it’s hard
Living in a society where we attend more funerals than birthday parties
And I know you think you’re just another flame in an uncontainable inferno,
And what does a flame know about voting anyway
What’s a vote to a burning democracy?
And I think I just saw the rapture coming
And I know you think Obama be just another God that has forsaken us,
Just know that calling any man a God is the true Armageddon
Just know that your refusal to vote is the true Armageddon

So vote because when Armageddon does happen, it will look nothing like this

Born and raised in the Bronx, Crystal Valentine, age 20, has been writing poetry since she was in the fourth grade. She is currently enrolled at NYU, studying creative writing and adolescent mental health studies. She is a member of the 2014 Urban Word slam team, a returning member of the NYU poetry slam team, as well as NYU’s current Grand Slam Champ.

She has performed at renowned locations such as the Lincoln Center, New Amsterdam Theatre, the Apollo Theater, and the Nuyorican’s Poet’s Café. She has hosted several open mic nights around New York City and has taught poetry workshops for youths. Even more so than in her own poetic talent, Crystal believes in poetry’s ability to instill change in those who embrace it.