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The Broken Girl

a poem by Audreyanna Garrett

I was the broken girl.  The one who found her soul in the bottom of the bottle.  The one who found solace in a joint and toxic energy.  The one who aided depression with substance consumed minutes of melancholy.  

I was the broken girl.  The one who blamed life for all peril.  The one who blamed everyone else for all my troubles.  The one who consumed herself with excuses for abuse…

I was broken and exiled to the shadows.  

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Skin

a short story by Nakeysha Roberts Washington

Blood, bones and it’s encasement. Strangely,  when I was a toddler, I was as dark as I am now with blond hair and hazel eyes. I have no recollection of this of course, but there is evidence in the many photos that exist in the meticulously kept albums organized by my grandmother.

Here are several observations that I have concerning my encasement, my skin, from my childhood:

One

I was raised in a virtual utopia. Race was never a problem, but, then, is it ever for children?

It is a summer day. We are in the backyard shaded by the apple trees of which we have two. One in my yard and one in Erin’s. Erin, I have known since she was born. Anita, Erin’s momma says she saw me peeking out at her carrying Erin home after she was born and she knew we’d be friends.

Anyways, it is Summer, Erin, Chris, Anita, Barbara and I are in the backyard. I am not yet in school. The kids, three of us, are about to hop into the pool. Everyone is lined up. Barbara is putting cream on everyone. I follow suit. Barbara and Anita are reclining in lawn chairs. The kind that have plastic strips woven on a metal frame. One is yellow and white. The other is yellow and brown. It is my turn to get the lotion. Anita and Barbara look at one another. I see they are thinking. Barbara says, “Keysh, you don’t need the sun tanning lotion.” Anita assures me, “You won’t burn like Erin and Chris. You have natural sunscreen in your skin that makes your skin that pretty brown. I trust Anita and the kindness in her smile that has always been consistent. I run to the pool and play.

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A Letter to My Words

a poem by Lanaya


Sometimes you avoid me, remain silent and unseen.
You’re not like a deep sea volcano.
Instead, you cling to me in all the wrong places.
But I am relentless,
the unshakeable stalker,
Knowing just how to manipulate,
In order to catch a glimpse.
Perhaps I’m too intense?
Eventually you give in and reveal pieces of you, hesitating, unsure.
Neck, collarbone, a flash of the abdomen.
Until you bare all, shivering and vulnerable.

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“Wine Not?” – An interview with artist Mary Syring

[Wine Not – a term coined by Mary and I a few sips in of our chosen poison]

“Alright, do you have your wine, Dwaling?”

I ask Mary Syring as she tries to find good lighting in front of her window in San Francisco.

Once the proper lighting is found Mary reveal a beautiful vintage glass half full of whisky . . . I like this woman.

She is surrounded by her art, works in gouache & ink. There are also (and I’ll say  you may not realize what you’re looking at right away) post mortem photos of before before, vintage chachkies carrying faux flowers and potpourri. I find myself thinking This is a mood.

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To Boys with Green Hair

a poem by Arthur Jackson V

I stole morning

For a glass of wine

;I wanted to drown out the sound

I pictured myself a green haired boy



My reflection chimed “you aren’t held in

Passion, fever, or want”



Hiding my insecurities

In a cage fashioned from my ribs

I said “one day you will be worthy”


I still remember the sun

Setting horizon beneath my wrist

That night I huffed

A volcano bottlenecking my throat


When we lei together grapes&weeds

And called them crowns

We adorned our heads


I clasped to clench palms kneading

Their heels to wet eyes

Thinking of He and I


The sky and trees all

Beautiful like the day

We first learned to see


It was The Summer of Love

you told me not to speak

This shows me whether

in lustwords we

Would always be at war


Must a kiss be sent over soot

aimed between us?


A piece of me is lost

It is loaded

And bottled by the wine

Left to puffing cumulus whales along sky

I bend  my neck back

Smoke howls at the moon


I passionned  for your want

You called it starving


We weren’t loving over wargrounds

For sooted kisses


Signals smoked from a volcano

Bottlenecking my throat


I tried to forget you

In sips

You forgot me in hales

We both lost our crowns

wailing under sunset on our backs

In grass that stained our hair

And I became a Banshee


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A Witch, Trying. after Jennifer Givhan

a poem by Angelina Valdez


And what were the bruises
purpling my arms?
Memories, from the last time or
stories from the first?
Is it okay,
being okay
again, after you?
I was never a murdered
woman but a witch, trying to
make myself whole
after you. Left is
nothing but I,
no wedding,
ever, no demon
father to link elbows, to
stroll between pews
anyways. Just I
now, holding my own.

from the Genre: Urban Arts No 3

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In the Juniper Trees

a short story by Jessi Harrison


You’re the front row of a blues club at seventeen.
No door guy, no ID.
(No idea).
You’re the inertia from the spark of the match
that catalytically burned your lover’s mind
from the inside. The catastrophe of silence.
The wallowed brilliance of frozen speech.
You’re the initial let down, the final farewell.
The end scene with no credit roll. A one way ticket
bought with a stolen card. Shallow hands, heavy
shoulders, stitched heart.

A sympathy letter addressed to the symphony of de-
cline.

The dirt pile under fingernails from the shovel of a
sister’s grave.
The solemn laugh echoed through hospital halls.
The blue peeling paint – the fake promise of “okay.”
The fallacy of normality under fluorescent lights.
I see you in open doorways, speaking metaphors of
trapped
passage. You walk, pale & white & out of focus –
still beautiful,
through the gray of winter. You talk of spring.
You tell me how fresh the flowers smell – how there
are so many dandelion fields begging
for a wish. How you’ve waited so long just to feel the
grass under your bare
feet – to feel your skirt dancing with the wind. & you
explain, slowly & labored & surprised, just
how grateful you are, to have finally found some sun.

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People of the Ocean

a poem by  Vaishali Paliwal


I built this house with bare hands
Now in flames I leave it behind
I carry the keys
I was named by my grandmother
Her last prayer was in these beads
I carry her rosary
I never signed up for a God
My fate when sealed with forbidden voyage

I picked the holy books
My lover was lost in black dawns
There was never a vow
I carry the ring
Human life I am being told
Is same everywhere
But world’s prayers are selective
No child left behind
But mine sleeps on fences
Time now asks me
To get on this boat
It is heavy

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I Stand

A poem by Cynthia Anne Cashman


in rebellion
I stand

in the land of mortal man
the ones with
the power of Zeus
that slay me on their
moral grounds
for being so obtuse
they the pedestals
do claim
thrones for kings
and depraved beasts
the working slaves
do scream
with unheard voices
clamoring in the din
Queens still chained to beds
to keep their heads
children orphans
to kingdoms lost
living in the current mess
affairs of men
not of gods
Olympus save us all


Cynthia Anne Cashman

published in Genre: Urban Arts Second Edition

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Lala Milan gives words of wisdom and love

“When we can all come together there’s magic” – Lala Milan



Follow us on twitter 

Genre: Tweets

Looking for some food for the soul

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Paradox

a poem by Umar Siddiqui


She tossed pebbles
Into her reflection
On the lake
So the ripples
Reflect how she sees herself

He sits

Playing rock, paper, scissors
With his shadow
As if each time will
Lead to a different outcome
In her mirrorless house
Pictures of her sat face down
On each shelf
He wanted to make the world
Think he was loved
So he carved two names into a tree
He kept the calendar on the same date

From ten years ago
As if it’ll keep time stuck in place

Umar Siddiqui

published in Genre: Urban Arts Second Edition

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If

A poem by Merwin Brown

If I were a woman, we wouldn’t be where we are now.
I wouldn’t be standing before you barely keeping my footing.
The foundation underneath me trembling at the admission that

clawed it’s way out of my throat.
If I were a woman this wouldn’t matter.
It would just be matter of fact

Because if I were a woman, my love wouldn’t have a label.
It would be as interchangeable as a pair of socks.
But, because I am a man, my sexuality is branded onto my persona.

My own personal scarlet letter of shame.

The point of no return.

If I were a woman, this would be your dream come true.
The thought of two women embracing sensually for whatever reason
is enough to cause the course of conversation

to flow to a different ocean.

If I said I wanted you, as I just painstakingly did,
you would want to join in right?

It’s every man’s fantasy to see a woman’s sexuality open

and close like a venus fly trap.

Men are willing victims to a woman’s path to sexual identity.

Yet, here I am.

A man in love who’s declaration had it’s wings clipped by denial,

misunderstanding, and double standards.

If I were a phoenix, this fire of unrequited love would only serve to

consume me and foster my beautiful rebirth

But I am not

And, for this reason alone, closets become coffins for black gay men.

Merwin Brown

This piece can be found in the Genre: Urban Arts Second Edition

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Ariella Israel – The Creator

Ariella Israel rocking a powerful fro and denim jacket hand painted by herself adorned in pins also by Ariella

The work of Ariella Israel is the kind of art that births pride. I found myself scrolling through her Instagram face clad with a smile that continued to grow wider. Her depiction of black people reminded me of home and family. This is a real gift. The work of Israel doesn’t just live on canvas, she also creates amazing Afrocentric works on denim jackets, puzzles and backpacks, even phone covers. She is a true talent, and I cannot wait to see what she does next.   

Denim jackets painted by Ariella
The Modest backpack  by Ariella is an obvious need!!
a painting by Ariella Israel

To purchase creations by Ariella head to her shop 

Thee Creator

you can keep up with Ariella via her Instagram

@ArtByTheCreator

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Willie Lynch

A poem by Jon Richards

Living in this big old house larger than ever.
Bought some slaves at the auction. Work hard? They better.

Cuz I got this lever: Willie’s bull whip.
I’ll tie him to the tree. I’ll beat that nigga.
Best call me Masa. Best call me sir.
I shipped y’all from Africa.
Use the Bible as part of my plan
and teach them that they’re the Son of Ham.
Ham had a son who was forced to be a slave.
and work for his brothers for the rest of his days.
You my slave you don’t like it?
A white man’s heaven is a black man’s Hell.
I’ll brainwash them well
by changing the scripture.

Send them to church and have them praise my picture.
Cuz I’m a put up a picture of myself as the savior.
So looking up to me is just a part of the nature.

take away their history.
take away their past.
take away their culture.
read a book in class made so much sense
called “Making of a slave” by Willie Lynch.
But will I lynch? You damn right, sonny.
I’ll even kill children in front of their mommy.
Cuz I’ll make the mother want her to protect her seed.
Remind her strange fruit don’t fall far from the tree.
In that fear will live future generations.

Slave mentality will soon become a part of their personality.
so they’ll keep suppressing each other till I’m gone.
and I’ll carry on till the end of days

so I can sit back and watch slaves make slaves, make slaves,

MAKE SLAVES.
Jon Richards

Published in Genre: Urban Arts Second Edition

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Invincible

a painting by Mayro Toyo

“Invencible is not the one who wins, but the one who never gives up.” – 
Antonio Martin

for more work by Mayro Toyo : https://www.instagram.com/mayrotoyoart/

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Unworthy

A poem by Ricardo Hanley Jr.

She intently scrolled through my phone and deemed every woman a hoe.

I stood silent, knowing exactly how this would go.

I’m not one to pretend nor make an attempt to defend against her imagination,

of which I know, I can never contend.

But, again the insults flew at me, a swarm of stinging bees

but I was immune for  a time. Her wild rage grew, as I watched,

she became a slave to her own mind.

The curses and accusations meeting my silence.

Like gasoline poured onto flames violent, a blind fury burning in her brown eyes, now shining crimson and violet.

I did my best to drown her out, with unspoken thoughts, until again,

I was hit in my mouth.

I closed my eyes, seeking the best route I could find, in the stillness of my building anger,

Mama’s voice went ringing through my mind, “Never place your hands on a woman,”

a lesson revealing one side.

I continued searching my depths for the lesson which I could justly apply.

Papa’s voice rang out mentally, “walk away, walk it off,” adhering his potent passive words,

and knowing one wrong move whether justly or unjustly deserved, in a moment all could be lost,

should I cast the second stone, I’ll be nailed to the cross. I disappeared like Christ into the darkness of the night,

with my integrity in tact and problematic phone as my guiding light.

Ricardo Hanley, Jr.

Published in Genre: Urban Arts Second Edition

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