A'Lyric Thomas, 16
A'Lyric Thomas, the eldest of three siblings, is a poet in eastern New Orleans, Louisiana. She is active as a performer at New Orleans Youth Open Mic, reciting her poetry to peers. Though she enjoys writing spoken word poetry, Thomas also enjoys reading and writing many other forms of poetry as well. She says that even though the process of critiquing and editing her work is frustrating, learning to improve through revision has had an important impact on her writing.
Thomas draws inspiration from strong female role models in her life. For example, she has always admired her aunt, Gena, who defied adversity and strove to get exactly where she wants to be. Another inspiration is New Orleans writer, activist, carpenter, and teacher Shannelle Mills, who recently told Thomas that, “some people like to talk about their politics and beliefs, and I try my best to live my politics and beliefs.” These words have inspired Thomas to champion the movement to close the growing gap in education inequality. Thomas believes it is unfair that youth from lower income communities receive fewer resources and a lower quality of education compared to their more affluent peers.
Mills' words have also offered clarity in difficult situations, especially when conversing with peers that have differing opinions on social issues. Thomas says that though these conversations are difficult, it is important to respect everyone’s beliefs and to challenge them in constructive dialogue. She says that if the world could learn to accept people’s differences—rather than deeming them “wrong”—much of the growing animosity in our world would be alleviated.
Thomas plans to attend college in the United States, majoring in psychology and creative writing, and hopes to study abroad. She placed fifth out of fourteen competitors in a local poetry festival, and has been published by 826 New Orleans, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the young writers of New Orleans.
By A’Lyric Thomas
Your fingers fitting into mine,
Hands folded into mine,
Visual of my happiness,
Tracing my fingers over and
Connecting the lines that reflect
Your face as stars that align into constellations.
Roots dig and extend,
Making love to its land,
Seeping into soil until it feels like home.
You are mine.
Leaves unravel with my love for you;
Flowers bloom with each reason I love you.
Vulnerability lies in the center of each one.
A piece of me placed in each petal.
I gave you a bouquet.
Head on chest; thoughts dancing around the rhythm your heart beats.
My favorite song is the lyrical “I love you” you feed me
Your kisses coated in honey
And as I turn around the sun-drenched sky that was my face
Is now a storm that I cannot calm; I can’t calm these rain tears..
My petals are stained with my salt water cries that yearn for your soil to seep my roots into.