Teen Voices: Malik, Emerging Poet

Each month we spotlight a teen at CPL.

Malik grew up going to Whitney M. Young, Jr. Branch. Since the day he and his little twin brothers got their first library cards, they've used the library to explore and connect with new interests and skills. They learned how to play chess, joined a chess club and an anime/manga club, and even performed the work they created at open mics.

When the library closed for renovations, there was a big party, but people didn't lose touch; everyone kept in contact. Malik said he didn't go to any other library during the closure. Malik shook his head, "Can't do something new. I know everyone here, even the security guard. We got our first library cards here. What's here is safe. This is family."

Malik and his brothers came back when the library reopened this past winter and saw the new YOUmedia, met Mr. A. (who works alongside Mr. B in YOUmedia). "I love it!" Malik said. The kids he grew up with come from their schools to meet up in YOUmedia and work on projects together.

Malik has gotten into writing over the years, and now spends as much time as he can in the recording studio, but also recently performed at the library's open mic event. Check out this untitled poem that Malik wrote just a couple days ago.

"My art’s wack, but no discrimination;

Destroy the use of alliteration-

I’d take the use of rhythm & rhyme

over drawing and shading anytime;

I change the way they see expression,

put the blame on juvenile depression;

19 years old no friends in class,

Looking through blue tinted glass;

Mom tried to cure me with high religion

Just made me fall to a new division;

19 years old I’m just a kid,

He’ll never know the damage did;

Said “drop my sad phase, Imma go”

and since that day poetry’s been my flow;

I wanna see the world and all its mysteries-

Bet your mama I’ll go down in history;

You can hear ‘em say “solo bad”

But I don’t want them cuz they money sad;

You hear my drum from a mile away,

I’m in the game and I’m here to stay;

Mama taught me to take care of myself,

To take my attitude & put it on a shelf;

He wants his girl to stand behind him,

But honestly his future's way dim;

Girls come and try to press me

They don’t know that they’re the Red Sea;

I part their business just like Moses

They try to apologize with a dozen roses;

I’m the new religion you can call me bishop-

Their music so weak it couldn’t do a push-up;

19 years young & I’m barely starting

Stay home and barely study instead of partying;

I need to leave the town so I can go to college,

to explore the horizons and expand my knowledge;

The natives say that the very 1st sunset

is printed on the nails of those the moon met;

So I cut my nails and see these white rings,

My futures bright, that you’ve gotta accept-

I’ll step on those who on me slept;

I am who I am- I’ll be who I’ll be,

I owe all that to my homie solo

I am new to the world and I express through art

It gives me peace of mind despite my hood heart."

Malik is now heading off to Lincoln College, where he hopes to focus on communication and music production. He's excited to head out to school a little early to meet his roommate and new track team, because he loves to run. We know he'll continue to come home to his family at the library, but we wish him all the success in the world and many more pleasures to come in writing, running and producing!

Thanks, Malik, for sharing your poem and what the library means to you!