This was inspired by a paper I was proofreading for one of my closest friends and I realized that I might not have anything like this, while there are plenty of odes to girlhood, womanhood and femininity. Also, I have been experimenting with shorter poems a la rupi kaur and nayyirah waheed. So here you go.



Everything about you is a threat

From the way you walk

To the way you play

and breathe

Even the way you wear your hair

They might not see you as

Human but you are

Worthy of love


A Young Man- Jericho Brown

Today, I’m sharing a poem by a poet that I’m quickly developing an affection for; Jericho Brown. I’ve shared a piece by him before(probably last April) and I thought that this one was another great one to post. I’m currently reading a book about parents protecting (or not protecting) their children and this poem seemed perfect to share in light of that. I’ve added Jericho Brown’s books Please and The New Testament  to my ever-growing list of poetry books to buy. Hopefully, I’ll be posting an update of that list and sharing what I’ve purchased soon.

Hopefully, you’re all enjoying this Sunday as we prepare to wrap up April and National Poetry Month.



We stand together on our block, me and my son,

Neighbors saying our face is the same, but I know

He’s better than me: when other children move


Toward my daughter, he lurches like a brother

Meant to put them down. He is a bodyguard

On the playground. He won’t turn apart from her,


Empties any enemy, leaves them flimsy, me

Confounded. I never fought for so much—

I calmed my daughter when I could cradle


My daughter; my son swaggers about her.

He won’t have to heal a girl he won’t let free.

They are so small. And I, still, am a young man.


In him lives my black anger made red.

They play. He is not yet incarcerated.



Prosecco and Possibilities

Hi! Happy Saturday! Here’s another poem to celebrate National Poetry Month. This one is really rough and I will probably tinker with it a bit to refine the imagery and to add some layers but here’s a new piece by yours truly. It was inspired by a song by one of my grandfather’s favorite singers, Sam Cooke, while I was listening to music and avoiding doing something.

As always, I hope you enjoy!



Another Saturday night and

I am mourning what

should have, could have, might have

been while you are

Drinking in the diet love of someone who

will never treasure

the possibilities


here rests- Lucille Clifton

It wouldn’t be National Poetry Month on this blog without a poem by this poet. I’d just fallen in love with her work when she passed away but the fact that I didn’t know about her sooner has only solidified my adoration for her. I’m a huge fan of odes and elegies
and this poem is like a blending of the two. I love how she managed to integrate memory as she paid homage to her sister. And how she doesn’t paint the picture of Josephine as perfect.
my sister Josephine
born july in ’29
and dead these 15 years
who carried a book
on every stroll.
when daddy was dying
she left the streets
and moved back home
to tend him.
her pimp came too
her Diamond Dick
and they would take turns
a bible aloud through the house.
when you poem this
and you will she would say
remember the Book of Job.
happy birthday and hope
to you Josephine
one of the easts
most wanted.
may heaven be filled
with literate men
may they bed you
with respect.

The Summer A Tribe Called Quest Broke Up – Hanif Abdurraqib

So, this poet’s name kept popping up everywhere that I was thinking about submitting and I was curious so I went to his page to read some of his work. And I love how he suffuses his work with his love of music. Especially this poem! I am a long-time lover of ATCQ, I mean long-time(If you’re not, get your life right) like when they were in the Buddy video. And the title of this piece caught my attention right away. But the poem itself? In it, Hanif Abdurraqib managed to layer all of the emotion of a Tribe song, the feelings girls and boys all over had when listening to their music along with documenting a segment of the population whose life experiences sometimes are only shared through a speaker.

This piece originally appeared in Muzzle. As always, I hope you enjoy.



all them black
boys in the ‘hood
had they wallets
unearthed in cities
they ain’t never
seen before & they
was all empty
‘cept for maybe the bones
of the last woman
to hold them in her arms &
call them by the
name they blessed the
earth with & all of the horns
on my block crawled back
into they cases & marched to
new mouths & fathers
had nothing to press
their lips to & make sing &
i think this why brandon’s mother
left & what difference is there
in those things which we lose
& those things which decide
to gift us with a kind
of feral silence?
the change that leapt
from our pockets into the cracked
basketball courts & the older brothers

who never found their way back home


Heirloom- Nikky Finney

I’ve read some of Nikky Finney’s work before but I wanted to share this piece because there’s a richness here against the backdrop of love lost and summer that it  was almost tangible. The title reminded me of Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” and I hope that you all enjoy it.



Sundown, the day nearly eaten away,


the Boxcar Willies peep. Their

inside-eyes push black and plump


against walls of pumpkin skin. I step

into dying backyard light. Both hands


steal into the swollen summer air,

a blind reach into a blaze of acid,


ghost bloom of nacre & breast.

One Atlantan Cherokee Purple,


two piddling Radiator Charlies

are Lena-Horne lured into the fingers


of my right hand. But I really do love you,

enters my ear like a nest of yellow jackets,


well wedged beneath a two-by-four.


But I really didn’t think I would (ever leave),

stings before the ladder hits the ground.


I swat the familiar buzz away.

My good arm arcs and aims.


My elbow cranks a high, hard cradle

and draws a fire. The end of the day’s


sweaty air stirs fast in a bowl, the coming

shadows, the very diamond match I need.


One by one, each Blind Willie

takes his turn Pollocking the back


fence, heart pine explodes gold-leafed in

red and brown-eyed ochre. There is practice


for everything in this life. This is how

you throw something perfectly good away.


to the notebook kid- Eve L. Ewing

I’ll be sharing poems for the remainder of the week and posting on Monday too! I chose this poem because I’m new to the work of Eve L. Ewing but I really love the way that she paints images. This piece reminds me of being a kid, when anything was possible and the world seemed like such an amazing place. I just watched part of one of my favorite pieces of stand up, Eddie Murphy’s Raw and laughter still bubbles up in me during certain parts. This poem conjured the same feelings.
yo chocolate milk for breakfast kid.
one leg of your sweatpants rolled up
scrounging at the bottom of your mama’s purse
for bus fare and gum
pen broke and you got ink on your thumb kid
what’s good, hot on the cement kid
White Castle kid
tongue stained purple
cussin on the court
till your little brother shows up
with half a candy bar kid
got that good B in science kid
you earned it kid
etch your name in a tree
hug your granny on her birthday
think of Alaska when they shootin
curled-up dreams of salmon
the farthest away place you ever saw in a book
polar bears your new chess partners
pickax in the ice
Northern Lights kid
keep your notebook where your cousins won’t find it.
leave it on my desk if you want
shuffle under carbon paper
and a stamp that screams late
yellow and red to draw the eye from the ocean
you keep hidden in a jacked-up five star.
your mama thought there was a secret in there
thought they would laugh
but that ain’t it.
it’s that flows and flows and flows
and lines like those rip-roaring
bits you got
bars till the end of time
you could rap like
helium bout to spring
all of it
down to you
none left in the sun — fuelless
while the last light pushes from your belly
climbing your ribs
and you laugh into the microphone
and who is ready for that?

The Bean Eaters-Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks, is one of my favorite poets. I’m pretty sure that’s not news to anyone who’s been following the blog. Today, I wanted to share one of her more recognized pieces and to just bask in the brilliance of her work. There are not enough words to describe how important she was not only to black poets but to poets in general. According to Poetry.com, “She was a much-honored poet, even in her lifetime, with the distinction of being the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize. She also was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress—the first black woman to hold that position—and poet laureate of the State of Illinois. Many of Brooks’s works display a political consciousness, especially those from the 1960s and later, with several of her poems reflecting the civil rights activism of that period.” She set the standard for successful poets in a time when she could have easily fell through the cracks.
As always, enjoy!
They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Tin flatware.
Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.
And remembering …
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.

American Sonnet for Wanda C. -Terrance Hayes

Last week, I shared a piece by Wanda Coleman. Today, I’m sharing a sonnet dedicated to her. This sonnet is evocative of Coleman’s style and paints a picture of the lushness of womanhood. A recognized poet, Hayes’ work often considers themes of popular culture, race, music, and masculinity.  In this elegy, Hayes pays homage not just to Wanda Coleman but also to her poetic style, ability to inject the essence of a woman into her work and her reclamation of the sonnet.

As always, I hope you enjoy!



Who I know knows why all those lush-boned worn-out girls are
Whooping at where the moon should be, an eyelid clamped
On its lightness. Nobody sees her without the hoops firing in her
Ears because nobody sees. Tattooed across her chest she claims
Is BRING ME TO WHERE MY BLOOD RUNS and I want that to be here
Where I am her son, pent in blackness and turning the night’s calm
Loose and letting the same blood fire through me. In her bomb hair:
Shells full of thunder; in her mouth: the fingers of some calamity,
Somebody foolish enough to love her foolishly. Those who could hear
No music weren’t listening—and when I say it, it’s like claiming
She’s an elegy. It rhymes, because of her, with effigy. Because of her,
If there is no smoke, there is no party. I think of you, Miss Calamity,
Every Sunday. I think of you on Monday. I think of you hurling hurt
Where the moon should be and stomping into our darkness calmly.

The Saturday Afternoon Blues- Wanda Coleman

I became enamored with this poet’s work when I began planning an in class poetry event in 2013, I think. As I began to explore more of her work, I knew that I had to share her work on the blog but what to share? This poem really struck a chord with me because it its imagery is so vivid and stark. I love the story it tells and felt that it was perfect to share during National Poetry Month. This poem made me want to pick up a pen and a notebook so hopefully I’ll have something new to share within the next couple of weeks.
I hope that you enjoy “The Saturday Afternoon Blues” as much as I did.
can kill you
can fade your life away
friends are all out shopping
ain’t nobody home
suicide hotline is busy
and here i am on my own
with a pill and a bottle for company
and heart full of been done wrong
i’m a candidate for the coroner, a lyric for a song
saturday afternoons are killers
when the air is brisk and warm
ol’ sun he steady whispers
soon the life you know will be done
suicide line i can’t get you
best friend out of town
alone with a pill and a bottle
i drink my troubles down
the man i love is a killer
the man i love is  thief
the man i love is a junky
the man i love is grief
some call saturday the sabbath
it’s the bottom of the line some say
whether last or first, my heart’s gonna burst
and there ain’t no help my way
here with a pill and a bottle
and a life full of been done wrong
i’m a candidate for the coroner, a lyric
for a song