The Milky Way

Toluwaleyi Meadows

I live in the milky.
But not in the way that accentuates my dark chocolate,
but in a way that suppresses its richness under its colorless folds which holds my love for myself,
and my love for everyone else–
Because after a while, the milk seeps into my pores,
until I can't breathe anymore.
Drowning in the milky way,
way beyond my comprehension,
too small to realize what was truly happening,
too suppressed to ever know the truth.
I ought to believe there is a world,
a galaxy beyond me,
that holds the secret to connection–
connecting affection between two dots that dare,
not positioned right next to each other to create a picture,
not of the norm,
but of the beauty that forms when we explore more of the ways we are all the same.
I frame myself in an all-white background,
The sound of me, too jarring to see,
but it bleeds into everything around me ever so slightly.
The painting hangs on my wall,
I can't see it at night,
I can't see me,
but maybe that is how it was meant to be.
If the light is too frightening, then maybe the dark would fit.
The thought lingers, but in the end the light still flickers in-between, between the things I like,
and the people who like me, for they see me in them.
It seems this is how the mind makes sense of the little information it is given.
It sees and compares and neurons fire,
but after a while it's gets tired,
and so it assumes and fills the gaps with things familiar,
and now we're all clones of ourselves,
drones, robots, AI mimicking what its given,
reciprocating everything,
even things forbidden,
because after a while,
something you utter jumps out at me,
and I see you are too comfortable around me,
because now you assume the things you can do,
because everyone one else in the room you happen to be standing in, is standing the same exact
but ultimately slightly different.
We don't get the luxury of being treated the same,
and for that I blame the milky way,
the way that always was,
and somehow still lingers today.
I wallow in it,
swallow it,
I have it for breakfast,
and go on with my day acting like nothing happened,
for nothing ever happens.

Toluwaleyi Meadows is 15 years old, lives in Detroit, MI, and moved there with his family in 2015 from Nigeria. He uses writing along with art to convey parts of his story, his experiences, and also as a form of activism. He uses spoken word poetry as well as speeches and other forms of public speaking to bring awareness to issues like climate injustice, racial injustice, and xenophobia. He uses art to convey his experiences visually, and prose to convey his journey through a creative lens. "The Milky Way" follows me as I try to make my way in a predominantly white society, in the “milky way." It depicts the struggles that come about by being a person with a darker skin tone, being a piece of “dark chocolate” in this “milky way."

"Milky Way at international dark sky park" by Nick damico is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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A magazine for teen writers—by teen writers. Under the Madness brings together student editors from across New Hampshire under the mentorship of the state poet laureate to focus on the experiences of teens from around the world. Whether you live in Berlin, NH, or Berlin, Germany—whether you wake up every day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America—we’re interested in reading you!