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
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
The grief is a glass cage.
Animal pacing inside looking
for a crack. A drop of rain to fa l l through.
It lures you in with promise of taming. Lassos your downfall
like a bucked Bull. Gores you forward like progress is only made from pain.
I’ll love you from a distance
always and forever
but I can’t share my spine
Expansive but un-
tuned, the musician
lingered with his instru-
ment, talking at the
gala. His lips are un-
controlled: he speaks
passionately, a reedy
voice moving his
hearers, and he talks
from one to the next,
as, when playing, he
moves from a lower
to a higher note.
I croak swole chest little sapo-
shake vicious be you little sapo
fly close gravity pulls little sapo
dead fly in tangerine little sapo
regal hop why croak little sapo
next minute given spoils little sapo
ay papo see you little sapo
hop on and on
Your hands softly run down my collarbone
as I drink you up, you give me new energy.
You sense my eagerness and quench my appetite
nourishing the longing that intense desire can create.
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
The womxn in my family don’t understand why I spell womxn with an ‘x’.
It’s because I watched these womxn honor men in spaces far too
sacred to be tainted by misogyny.
Passed down traditions of letting vile creatures break us down until
we are nothing but atoms fleeing persecution.
I strengthened muscles for you.
I did everything in my power to make it work out.
I focused on the areas you needed me to.
I gave my all and that’s why it hurts now.
Without you here, I have no idea how to readjust.
On again, then off—phosphorus
emits a curious glow, barnacles
open, shut. Anemones bloom
with the rise and fall of the sea
—our own armistice-linked
hearts tamed in this violet hour.
Briefly—a still sea, liminal space,
tentative peace—salt and sand
observe an intertidal ceasefire—
evening at the water’s edge.
Our fine land
is now covered in white
The last of the northern birds
have taken southern flight
To the warmth
To the warmth
We sit across the table.
The words unsaid grow legs
that stretch farther
than your empathy
I’m very tired, running away
To a New York street in the fray,
But fret as it’s cold.
Who could bear to sleep alone in households?
Pay my debts off, I’m getting by.
drive over my fingers with
dirt on your shoes.
At least wipe your feet first,
or dig out the old grimy slippers from the
back pocket of your winter coat.
Irma has ground against Cuba all night;
the Cuban mountains shearing off energy
right out of the winds as high as
six thousand foot peaks.
The Sierra Maestra, Cristal, and others
form a serrated blade in the nosebleed seats.
My boots on these cobbled streets,
Pressed hard against stone between
The little crisscrossed valleys,
Each narrowing towards a center,
Displaying some famed socialist revolutionary.