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Kissed by Growth’s Pain

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

bones,

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

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Mistaken Wisdom

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

She mused

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

pointing

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

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Thirteen

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

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Deep Pockets

Image via @photosbyelldot_ (unsplash.com)

 

There comes a time in every girl-turned-woman’s life where promiscuity is a thing that simply must be had.  Looking for the outside to match the inside. Trying to ingest this idea of attaching monetary value to things passionate.  Things gifted.  Things anointed.  Deep pockets are, after all, the world’s oldest profession.  Yes, there comes a time in every girl-turned-woman’s life where all she knows is to turn away…or…invite you in.

And ask, “do I still feel the same?”

And think, “I bet he thinks this song (and dance) is about him.”

Careful, how you pro seed.

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It’s safer to drown with yourself

and now we’ll stitch ourselves back up
into the shells that allow us to transverse this life
back into a place that keeps it all at arm’s length
a place where water is just above our heads
but we don’t ever drown—an ocean of our own Continue reading It’s safer to drown with yourself

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Brown Sista By Ralvell Rogers II

I promise you that I’m down,

Sista,

and I’ll bring more brothas around,

Sista.

 

Not later on, but right now,

Sista,

and they’ll be ready for a Right Now

Sista.

Continue reading Brown Sista By Ralvell Rogers II

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Two Poems by Greg Bronson

Man for my Man

My mirror isn’t accurate it tells a convenient lie my masculinity in question clothing that makes me hide inside i love him dearly details are kept quiet stares from his girl- searing the soul of my pride she knows not who i am retreat my benefactor performs when shes around my gosh im a good actor until such time that we can kick it be real with our thoughts i’ll continue to long quietly Quiet in my thoughts

Continue reading Two Poems by Greg Bronson

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@BoweryPoetry: Nia Mora

About me: Nia Mora is a Harlem based poet and writer. she’s come undone is Nia’s debut poetry collection. Nia holds an MA in Creative Writing but credits her 8th grade English teacher, David Ivesoli and high school creative writing teacher, Francine Witte for turning her into a professional. In addition to birthing books, Nia is the mother of two girls and the wife of one husband.

 

 

About my writing: My body of work is much like the city I come from good vibes that intersect with breaks, sharp turns, yet there is a softness to it like the sun setting over the Hudson. There are rises and falls like the hills of Harlem. I write about what I feel and the things that need to heal in me and in you.

 

#GenreFam: I learned about Genre on Instagram just seeing a post someone shared and then I started following Genre. I submitted and now I’m here!

I decided I wanted to be a writer at four. Fell in love with poetry after reading a June Jordan poem, “Alla Thas’ All Right” so much so that I never returned the anthology– it was featured in the library. Fast Forward to me writing poetry throughout high school and college, doing readings, hosting shows, and all of that and then I stopped. I just stopped for 10 years and returned again April of 2018. Now my debut collection of poetry, she’s come undone is about to be released and I’m in Genre (yay).

I am most excited about performing in the historic Bowery Poetry Club. Back in high school, I wrote a poem that a friend of mine still talks about and performing at a place like the Bowery, so I would be living a dream I wrote down for myself 20 years ago. I am happy that despite the fact I abandoned my dream it never abandoned me.

 

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

 

 

 

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My True Colors Festival

My True Colors Festival in association with Harlem 2020 present Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. This electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of mega-icon Grace Jones contrasts musical sequences with intimate personal footage. Sophie Fiennes’s documentary goes beyond the traditional music biography, offering a portrait as stylish and unconventional as the larger-than-life, androgynous glam-pop culture diva.

Join us for a pre-screening Cocktail Hour plus a post-screening Book Signing and Panel Discussion: “The Power of Black Style On Fashion and Culture Worldwide” with industry experts, including Essence Editor-At-Large Mikki Taylor, Fashion Bomb Daily Founder and leading style blogger Claire Sulmers, legendary black supermodel Pat Cleveland, and Christian Ruart, a renown fashion guru and celebrity stylist who discovered and worked with models like Tyra Banks, Tyson Beckford, Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer. Join us for an insightful conversation led by My True Colors Co-Founder and Executive Producer Tai Chunn on the ins and outs of black style, its important contribution to fashion and its influence on culture worldwide. The panel also will discuss the industry influence of Grace Jones. While Beyoncé and Rihanna are among today’s major style icons, Grace Jones remains one of the most referenced fashion icons of all time.

Mikki Taylor will be on hand to sign her book, Editor in Chic: How to Style and Be Your Most Empowered Self, shares uplifting advice for women who want to cultivate their beauty both inside and out. As will Claire Sulmers, whose book The Bomb Life: My Brand. My Terms, is part memoir, part self-help with tips for aspiring bloggers;
and Pat Cleveland, whose memoir Walking With The Muses covers fifty years of fashion from the intersection of the Civil Rights Movement, the disco era’s decadence, and the grandeur of Hollywood’s late 70s renaissance

Film Running Time: 116 Minutes

Cocktail Hour begins at 6:00pm in the Media Gallery;

Film Screening starts 7:00pm in the Screening Room

 

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On Origin: Religion and Science

A poem by Michael Demaranville 

God talked to Moses about rolling
Mud dolls to life through the burning
Bush of a smoking-hot redhead.
Fire, volcanic mixing Darwin stirring
Soup, meat stock brew boiling minerals
From soil into fish into monkey into me.

Both too stubborn in belief to see
creation, evolution have more than similarities.

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My Hair, My Life By Ralvell Rogers II

Yo reaction to my hair

is my reaction to my strife.

How big it got is like the bigots

constant in my life.

Continue reading My Hair, My Life By Ralvell Rogers II