Kevin Truong, designated Nancy L. Donahue Takeoff Space Scholar in honor of our generous donor who made our Fall 2019 program possible, is a high achiever in multiple fields. Most notably, he is winner of the Congressional Art Competition for the Third District, picked out for his extraordinary talent by Rep. Lori Trahan following high praise for his work by leaders in the art community. His work that includes his calligraphy of his own poem, Phoenix, on his painting has been hung in the US Congress. As noted Boston poet Lloyd Schwartz commented, Kevin’s poem is “Very Moving. Very powerful. A real poem with a dash of hip-hop.”
Kevin is adept on the stage, recently winning a prize at Lowell High School’s annual Jack Kerouac competition. He also gave a notable TedX talk on “Art Redefined” where he called on his audience to “Never take your paintbrush off your life.”
As if this isn’t enough, Kevin has his school days packed with AP classes from Calculus to English and participates in Mock Trial, Political Debate, and film making.
Kevin has faced too much trauma in his life with his family affected by mental illness and other problems. As a result, he currently lives independently, making money waiting tables after school, sometimes until after midnight. Kevin’s creativity and zest for life ends up being more noteworthy than the constraints he has insisted on transcending. He plans on studying art with a particular emphasis on Graphic Design in a context of Liberal Arts, following which we wishes to attend law school. Mentor: Osazi Al Khaliq.
Phoenix by Kevin Truong
Like a song bird with clipped wings and a closed off beak.
I’m not that much.
I’m no dove, cockatoo, parakeet, or pet bird. I’m really not that special,
I can’t reiterate what you say, I can’t fly at 200 miles per second,
I barely can fly anyways.
I’m more of a carrier pigeon
With my bobbing head and an awkward bod I’m more of a second guess than someone who can sing you a song.
I can’t fly very far, I’m no falcon, no owl, no American star.
My existence may be ordinary, dull, depressing and laughable,
but I make that up with how I’m adaptable and practical,
you see, I’m a carrier pigeon whose only purpose is to fly,
but at the same time I’m easily replaceable if I die.
Being 1 in a billion there’s no satisfaction, no use for attachment, or attraction,
no use to want to love me because instead of a pet or a friend I’m a lackey.
I would be the job doer
The side bird
The side loser.
I couldn’t be able to sing my song, show my wings, fly along with you,
I would be a number.
Just another trained bird with a leg tag, delivering messages like
your Yahoo messenger that’s half assed,
your carrier pigeon that truly won’t last.
I’m right, I’m no song bird, I’m no wedding dove, no peregrine, no eagle, I’m barely reaching the level of a seagull.
My clipped wings hurt and ache, my beak has been closed so long that I can barely speak.
But regardless this bird still has goals it wants to seek.
this bird still has feelings.
this bird still has aspirations
This bird still continues to try even if it may seem hopeless
This bird doesn’t use its wings because it can’t
But instead, It jumps as high as it can with its feet
Because it refuses to give up
It refuses to have its feelings look down upon
Its aspirations frowned upon
It wants its goals and efforts to be crowned upon
Because I am better than the negativity
because even with my with featherless flight and my stone cold songs
I still want voice to be heard and my wings to be seen.
I will continue to fight my closed off beak and continue to scream.
I will continue to fight the humiliation from my crippled aviation
because really I’m no eagle,
no falcon, no parakeet,
because when you finally see me in the sky
I’ll be mightier than anything you’ve seen
because behind my shackled flight, my deafening songs, and my ordinary shtick.
I am not a pigeon but a phoenix