Louder Than a Bomb: 51 Stars

June 1, 2012

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(Flickr/TheeErin)
"Pride" - 2010 Fiestas Puertorriquenas in Humboldt Park

Poet Ashley Gonzalez was an 18-year-old senior at Northside College Prep High School when she competed in the Louder Than a Bomb Youth Poetry Festival in the Spring of 2008, representing her high school.

51 Stars is an intense look at collonialism in Puerto Rico, calling out the United States for the way the island, its people and land have been treated.




One nation
that commits these actions
all under God

but I don't think that was
Jesus Christ
directing your footsteps
in the sugar cane fields of
Puerto Rico

You call us a commenwealth
but that's annoymous for colony
because 51 stars
just wouldn't fit


***

Each week, WBEZ features a poem from the Louder Than a Bomb collection that explores the issue of race. We offer the poems as part of Race: Out Loud, a collaborative production of WBEZ and vocalo, which aims to get us  talking to each other about race. Louder Than A Bomb is Chicago’s teen poetry festival. It brings teens together across racial, gang, and socio-economic lines in a friendly competition that emphasizes self-expression and community via poetry, oral story-telling and hip-hop spoken word.  Each year, Chicago Public Media invites festival finalists to record their work.

Click here to hear nearly 200 Louder Than a Bomb finalist pieces recorded over the past eight years.