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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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I Only Know What is Necessary for Me by Karl Iglesias

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

Continue reading I Only Know What is Necessary for Me by Karl Iglesias

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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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Womxn

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.

Continue reading Womxn

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Two Poems by Christine Darragh

Ro-Sham-Bo

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.

Continue reading Two Poems by Christine Darragh

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Two Halves, One Whole by Antonio Palmer

I’ve always believed that every heart is split from creation.
Two halves uniquely different sharing the same journey.

To seek a love of acceptance, because not every heart will open to you.
To seek a love that is patient, for the times you will fall short.

Continue reading Two Halves, One Whole by Antonio Palmer