Astrid Ferguson is the momma of the book Molt and The Serpent’s Rattle. An emerging poet, blogger, part-time writer, mother of two boys, wife to an emerging Philly artist, novice photographer, major foodie, professional dancer (in her mind), and a lover of all things creative. Astrid is an Afro-Latina (Haitian and Dominican descent) born in the Dominican Republic. She migrated to the United States at the early age of one. A passion for poetry developed after Astrid dealt with childhood hardships and abuse. She has been involved in several spoken word events and has been published in several literary magazines such as Genre Urban Arts, Harness Magazine, Visual Verse, and Literary Orphans to name a few.
Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street
Runtime: Approximately 90 minutes without an intermission
The New York Times calls Fireflies “rich and fascinating,” with “exhilarating” performances!
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a segmented memoir by Nakeysha D Roberts Washington
Baby, you understand me now
If sometimes you see that I’m mad
No one can always be an angel
When everything goes wrong you see some bad
Well I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
I met George by my grandma house when I was in seventh grade. He lived in the Parklawn, projects around the corner. He was a deep, dark brown. His eyes and his hair were the blackest black. He was just few inches taller than me. We quickly became very good friends. He was funny and sincere and I could depend on him.
a poem by Shaunteri Skinner
she fell into the burns of her past as they lay thick & thin
on her brain,
the emptiness was so full,
it was so well-rounded & welcoming.
kissed by growth’s pain in too many ways to describe how she
could bear to breathe,
ignoring the calms of eves or news of life’s chances in whatever direction.
she felt as if her waking was
misbehavior until she woke out of that dream of killers that she kept repeating At night,
those who laughed right next to her with blood all over their hands
causing blood to be her brain ever so often.
until all of the flesh fell back onto her
the rest of her left the world, never want-
ing to have gone,
but never wanting to come back either.
being trapped in her
life & the life that history
made for her caused all of
the pain that she would
ever need to grow,
to be Black, woman &
beautiful was the best that she
ever had to be,
But proving it to those
who mattered most
Seemed like new & old crushed dreams.
published in Genre: Urban Arts First Edition
Don’t get too close To the lion in the cage
As it bares its teeth It longs to make you prey
You must stay away
Or be fooled by its demeanor It only takes a moment
To turn a skeptic Into a believer
Jonathan Bright Jr.
Art by Zach Bartz
published in Genre: Urban Arts First Edition
“The marks I place on the canvases become a narrative of my emotions, energy, and movements, and my hope is that the viewer is able to feel a connection to it, even as the paint dries.”
published in Genre: Urban Arts First Edition
by Yetunde Bronson
I had a pretty disturbing revelation the other day: should this world as we all know it comes to a loud and violent end, and we are all left to fend for ourselves, without infrastructure or order, I would be dead within a few days because I have, like, zero survival skills.
This is the type of shit I think about late at night, Fam. Bear with me.
Seriously – I sat up one night and wrote down a list of my skills that could possibly come in handy should the eternal nightfall on our world.
Here’s what I came up with:
- Whistling: Perhaps I could serve as a lookout for a roving band of thieves. Except I’m blind as a bat without my glasses, so…
- Dancing: I’m thinking like in that setup Tina Turner had in Beyond the Thunderdome. Probably not likely, though.
- Cook: Which is fine if someone has a working stove. Otherwise, I’m useless cuz I don’t know how to start a fire without matches.
I mean, outside of these, I have other, impressive skills that would be rendered utterly useless after the collapse of civilization. This really disturbed me, so I decided to do something about it – I went out and bought some seeds.
For some reason, I decided that out of all of the useful, post-apocalyptic survival skills, gardening would make the most sense for me. It sounded easy enough. I mean, ignore the fact that I have killed 80% of the plant life I have ever touched – a statistic that has been documented by my own mother, who, upon hearing my plans to start a balcony garden, leaned against the wall, weak with laughter. Keep in mind, my mother is horticulturally blessed by the Ancestors and the Holy Ghost. I have seen her cup a dead (not dying, Fam – dead) plant in her hand, blow on it and watch it shudder back to life. The shit is mind-boggling. So, yeah. I was in my chest when she laughed at me.
“Well, everybody can’t be out here in these streets, resurrecting aloe vera plants and what not,” I said (in my head).
Anyway, I brushed that off and got some seeds. And yeah, I made some mistakes with some of them – planted them too early, watered them too little, crowded too many in the pot.
But I learned. I asked around – co-workers, the exhausted but helpful woman at Stein’s Gardening Center, the nurse at the ER who apparently owns her own farm.
And I tried again. And now, I am seeing the fruits, or vegetables, of my labor.
So, when the zombie apocalypse begins, and you find yourself in the Midwest, come holler at me. I’ll be the dreadlocked sister in the fatigues, trading tomatoes out of a truck.
a poem byCaroline Fleurette
Endless nights spent sitting on my mother’s lap
A tug of war of ideologies
As she straightens my perspective
One must be presentable for every situation
Yet, the next day I wouldn’t want to go to school
Because when I look in the mirror I’m not the reflection
of my Barbie
The results of my mother efforts vaporizes at the finger
And snickers of my classmates
Stick to your roots she encourages
I don’t think she truly understands
How can I stay true to myself
When weekly I face my tangled insecurities
Do you know you were the worst role model for me You
look nothing like me
Your strands has a mind of its own
Speaking freely with the wind
But in the end I internalized my thoughts
Weekly during the…
Endless night spent sitting on my mother’s lap
published in Genre: Urban Arts’ First Edition
a poem by Jaleesa Davis
Still, after seven years, I can’t say that my heart still feels no pain, before that day it was sunshine and afterward it was just rain.
No one ever told me my story wouldn’t be goofy or fun, and as far as stories are concerned, I wish I didn’t have one.
They say you always have a choice in life, that is until someone takes that right from you leaving you with only the choice they make, the one thing I thought I was able to give who knew you’d take.
I told you I forgave you because I did, but I still cry about it and I still mourn over it because I was just a kid.
And maybe I never used word of mouth to say no or that I didn’t want to continue with the actions being introduced, but I can tell you right now that I wasn’t seduced, and that I shouldn’t have been with you.
I’ll always blame myself for what happened to me because what good would it do if I continued to blame you, I’d still be unhappy.
It’s been seven years since you took the one thing I was allowed to give, and sometimes I wonder how I live with that memory in the back of my brain, there is sunshine and yet there’s still rain.
I’ll never yell that dirty R word because I know it’s not real, and that’s not what it was, but I’ll always loathe you because it was supposed to be my choice and it never was.
You were an adult and I wish I could tell you that I am now too, and yet I still sometimes think about you.
I’ve repressed that day so much in my mind. It feels like it’s been loads of time, between then and now, and it still affects me and I don’t know how.
published in Genre: Urban Arts First Edition
She was comfortable behind her walls
Though many tried to knock them down
And even sneak through them
With late night messages and calls
Spewing niceties sprinkled with lies
They persisted and she resisted Continue reading Walls
by Roomana Shaikh
Laila hated Saturdays. She hated going to Queens and having to transfer three different trains. She hated every aspect of the travel. She hated having to wear the long black abaya that flowed and also brought a lot of attention. She hated the cream white hijab she had to wear with it and how it had to be pinned all the way, and wrapped around her monstrous curls. More than anything Laila hated coming back. She hated the anxiety she had when coming back from Queens. She tried to find any way to avoid the kids at her block, avoid any of the kids around her school. All the Muslim kids had heard she wore the abaya but no one really saw her. Today seemed different though. As she walked down the steps with her mom, she noticed how crowded the streets were. The weather was getting warmer which meant more people, which meant people she knew, which meant her secret was about to be spilled. The sucky thing was that either way she went back to her house, she was going to be seen.
“Beta, remember to be confident. Look the sun is shining but I’m not hot. I know people bother with these questions, but you need to speak up.” Her mom said as they walked down the sidewalk. This was going to be a weekly lecture. Laila’s mom wore an all-black abaya and hijab. She had her mouth covered as well, so the only thing you could see was her large brown eyes peeking through.
“Ammi I know. I get it. But wearing all black isn’t fun either. We look like the people on tv. Look at us. Why do you think that guy was yelling at us on the train? We do look weird!” Laila argued back. She hated the abaya. It made her feel so out of place. Most of all it reminded her of how un-American she was.
“So what?! This dress should be just as acceptable as jeans and a t-shirt. Who cares if someone thinks we look like criminals. We’re educated, civilized people. You need to accept that.
The more you listen to the ignorance, the more you’re going to lose your roots. Look at me?! My own people mock me for covering up. But I don’t care. I believe in my religion and I believe in my choices. Your own father is against my niqab. Beta you need to be brave. I was so brave then and I still am.” She replied in a much harsher tone. When Laila’s mom spoke, it sounded like thunder yelling from the sky. Even though the strangers passing by didn’t understand what she was saying, they knew it was something important.
“Well, I can’t be brave. Everyone bullies me. Everyone mocks me. No one wants to be my friend.” Laila complained. Oh, how she wished she was like her mom. Oh, how she wished her mom understood her.
“YOOO LAILA?! YO you look the Taliban! Your mom- ma’s a ninja bro. Salam ninja. Got any bombs under there.” Yelled Daniel and Ryan. They stood on the bench- es hollering at Laila and her mom as they walked by. She noticed Tommy in the back just laughing.
“See, now speak up Laila. I know how you feel” Laila’s mom said. She started walking towards the boys. Laila wanted to hide and cry. Her secret was exposed. It was over. It was all over. She wanted to burn her clothes. She wanted to leave her mom.
“Yes yes, I’m a ninja! But you are rude! This is my culture. This is my religion. How dare you say I have bombs with me? Have some shame!” Her mom yelled at the three boys. They stood quietly and then started to snicker. Laila’s mom turned and started walking towards her building. In front of the building were all the aunties just staring at her astonishingly. Laila saw Mohammed and Ali stare as well, stopping their basketball game below the fire escape. Laila felt her cheeks getting hot and red. Her hands trembled and she just wanted to hide.
first published in June 2017 in Genre: Urban Arts
Read each comment and submit your flash fiction story based on the social issue addressed in the comment. You can choose from a list of 20 different comments and six social issues posted daily. So, remember to check Genre: Urban Arts every day to see our social issue comment post for the day.
Your flash fiction story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
It should include conflict or an incident which creates some conflict for your character(s).
The ending of your story should show readers that the incident or conflict, which happened to your character(s), affected or changed your character(s) world or worldview.
We are accepting original unpublished work for this flash fiction anthology.
Word count is 1000 or less.
All flash fiction submissions should be in Microsoft Word doc. or .docx formats.
Submission Deadline: November 20, 2018.
Submit your story to us on Submittable.
Project Editors Mercy Ananeh-Frempong and Ralvell Rogers II.
There are so many moments on The Carter V. I am three listens in, and I know that this is a forever album that I will be playing at socially unacceptable levels at least into my 90s, into the PhD program and out of it. #DrKeysha
I can’t even front. My life has been hella nuts lately. I have lost two of my closest people. I watched my momma kick cancer’s ass while holding my own tears back because we don’t cry. I left jobs and took jobs. Watched people lie to my face. This week, I just dealt with the impact of someone else’s “good intentions” that devastated my world.
All of this, my business is going ham, but I can’t even focus on it because my world is virtually falling apart like a fucking dream in Inception, and I ain’t even waking up.
All of that I got to forget for a while I pressed play because my love dropped The Carter V. *imagine heart eye emoji* I was off of work today. I danced with my dog. *Imagine shrug emoji* I have loved Wayne since some point in the mid-90s and that shit ain’t changed now. I am lost in his music and I am dancing and I am listening for his clever wordplay and I am thankful for escapism.
I need to get lost in bass and words. #urbanarts
More Weezy from Billboard.com.
Cop a copy of Genre: Urban Arts No. 5 Print that will begin being shipped out on September 24th. We have a host of contemporary visual art and writing that needs to be in your hands. Our cover artist for No. 5 is Nadine Mbaka. Read more about her in an article written by Vianca Fuster.
We are a small print magazine. Copies are limited. Purchase your copy now!
We also have a limited supply of tickets to the Mile Long Opera for attendees of our event!
Come to join Nakeysha of Genre: Urban Arts and Richard of Harlem 2020 for Murals and Martinis!
Starting at 10:30 AM Meet at Newark Happening, 58 Park Place, Newark, NJ 07102 Check in: 10:30 AM | DEPART 11:00 AM
Reception to Follow: 1:00 PM All Points West Distillery, 73 Tichenor Street, Historic Ironbound, Newark, NJ 07105
An Annual VIP Tour of Newark’s Public Art & Historic Neighborhoods featuring stunning public art, conversations with the muralists, post-tour cocktail reception at All Points West Distillery catered by Catas and complimentary swag bag. Co-sponsored by City of Newark, Prudential Financial, Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism, Newark Happening, Catas, All Points West Distillery, Radio 103.9 FM.RSVP
Genre: Urban Arts as a community partner with The Mile Long Opera and International Print Center New York presents a night of spokenword and art. Local NYC spokenword performers and local organizations that include Umar Siddiqui, Roomana Shaikh, Cheyenne Jacobs, Nia Mora, Astrid Ferg, Nakeysha Roberts, Ricardo Hanley, Jr., Shanice Ariel, Richard E. Pelzer II of Harlem 2020, and Sarah & Nene of Black Girls Blues.
Location: International Print Center New York, 508 W 26th St, Suite 5A New York, NY 10001
October 6th, 205:00 PM00PM -7:00PM.
My name is Astrid Ferguson. I am the momma of the book Molt. I am a mom of two boys and a wife to an emerging Philly artist. Aside from poetry, I blog and work full time in the pharma industry. I began performing poetry as a way to market my book, but I’m finding I’m connecting with people like never before. I’m also outgrowing my shell of quiet Astrid who hardly spoke up. Through my poetry, my objective is to promote awareness of social and emotional issues revolving Afro-Latinas and women in general, including but not limited to domestic violence, abuse, and feminism. I also want to promote healing. I became serious about my journey after battling postpartum and this is what helped me overcome it.
A friend of mine Evany Martinez put me on Genre. I also decided to apply and Genre is the first place outside of my book where my work will be published. I also follow you guys on social media.
I have several YouTube and IGTV of my spoken word relating to my experience with domestic violence, Afro-Latina cultural issues, relationships as well as mental health awareness. I’m more of a poet who likes to speak about subjects that are thought-provoking by inviting the audience into my reality. I make great use of imagery because I want the audience to paint a picture and envision the emotion I’m trying to portray. Sometimes, I will also speak about the natural human behavior of rejecting what is not considered a norm like mental health.
I am mostly excited to perform alongside great performers in NY. I have never performed in NY before so this will be a great experience.
Genre: Urban Arts will be at Bowery Poetry in NYC October 28th, 2018, 6- 7:30 pm. We will have spoken-word, live music, and other performance arts. Click the button to purchase tickets.Bowery Poetry