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White House Honors San Diego High Junior For Her Poetry

From left, Gopal Raman takes a selfie with Maya Eashwaran, Stella Binion, Joey Reisberg, and Maya Salameh on the grounds of the White House following a poetry reading with the First Lady Michelle Obama on Sept. 8, 2016 in Washington.
Alliance for Young Artists & Writers
From left, Gopal Raman takes a selfie with Maya Eashwaran, Stella Binion, Joey Reisberg, and Maya Salameh on the grounds of the White House following a poetry reading with the First Lady Michelle Obama on Sept. 8, 2016 in Washington.

San Diego teen Maya Salameh, 16, read a poem at the White House Thursday. The San Diego High School junior is one of five students across the country named a 2016 National Student Poet.

Salameh will spend the year sharing her poetry as part of the 5-year-old program launched by the Obama administration.

White House Honors San Diego High Junior For Her Poetry
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In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Salameh said her work is inspired by her identity as an Arab American — her parents are Lebanese American — and current events.

Here's her poem, "sacrilege incorporated."

i speak to you

terrorists, skyjackers, lifejackers

and otherwise-flavored peddlers

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of sacred hearsay

i speak to you

just fyi

just for your illumination

god is not

a mcdonald’s franchise

you don’t hold any right to sell, market, or

otherwise operate in his name

i speak to you

for now is the time

to open your eyes

to close your pocketbooks

no prophets have ever had

swiss bank accounts

i speak to you

for if you love god

you would not lie

in his name

you would not kill

in his name

you would not explode

in his name

i speak to you

for the only god you seem to know

is the god of destruction

always thirsty

for more blood, more tears,

more futures gone wrong

i speak to you

for children

belong to no creed

and if holiness exists

it is the selflessness that runs in their

veins

i speak to you

for the magnetic attraction of violence

keep no home

in the nonpolar

hearts of the young

i speak to you

for senseless violence

has no part

in my definition of humanity

i speak to you

because blind faith

is no faith

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