Monday, April 28, 2008

On Poetry

Poetri Addikt
by Precious Yett

Hi, my name is Precious
& I am a poetri addikt.
I have been for fifteen years now
& I haven’t been able to quite kick the habit.
I’ve tried short stories, novels, books, plays
But my craving for poetri never…quite…goes…away
I am a poetri addikt.
I’m hooked on the lilt in my voice
When I speak it
The way my mind goes into a trance
When I hear it
The sexiness of pen pushing against paper
Just won’t quit
I am a poetri addikt.
It seduces me while I’m sleeping
Kisses me softly when I’m snoring
Wakes me up to breakfast in the morning
I have my daily dietary staple of
Ink and creative juices
No solids for me, please.
I might regurgitate after last night’s reverie
Only repetition, assonance, and the occasional spondee
[Almost full]
Now I’ll take some concatenation, conceit, and maybe a dactyl
For dessert I’ll have some free verse
To feed my overactive, starving imagination
Unfortunately, I’m still not quite satiated
My high not quite elevated
I am a poetri addikt!
(Like a Cookie Monster of lyric)
I even take double doses of Prosody
Which is what the doctor prescribed me
To ease the withdrawal
But often I neglect it
Just take my vehicle and roll
Singing Winehouse’s “they tried to make me go to rehab, I said no/no/NO!”
”I am a poetri addikt!
Laughing I write on my skin
I’ve been caught somehow without my precious pen and paper
So I try to not regret writing on my brand new jeans
With a thick, black permanent marker after zoning out again
I am a poetri addikt
I can’t help it
I can’t help IT!
I’ve been in and out of counseling, classes, workshopping, detox
It doesn’t matter-nothing helps
There is a decree written on my soul that states
“Wherever poetri is, you go too”
& in superscript “so easy a Caveman can do it!”
Plus there’s an illegal amount in my bloodstream
Which causes me to not be able to go cold turkey
I am a poetri addikt
Ah, thank you for my fix!

by Logan Blackmon

I don’t write poetry.
I just don’t know how.
I don’t’ do love.
I don’t do hate.
I don’t do feelings.
I don’t do abstract.
I’ve got nothing.
Type. Type. Type.
Delete Everything.
Type. Type. Type.
Delete Everything.
I’ve been staring at the computer for hours.
Today, yesterday and the day before that.
I’m running out of time.
I can’t find any words to rhyme.
Let’s see,
I talked about parenthood, college, love and beauty.
But I read it out loud and it sounds nothing like it did in my head.
I’m shutting down the computer now and I’m going to bed.

Society and the World

An African affirmation
by Thabo Ramogogane

Often this dichotomy, inadequateness, and a sheer paradox
Who am I? How do I define self?
I feel dispossessed, everything is stolen
Anthropologists say it's the cradle of humanity but how do I know that for a fact?

My people are dying.
We are engulfed by diseases, AIDS, Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Kwashiorkor.
Oh Africa my beginning, why did you have all those resources?
Natural resources such as minerals, diamonds, gold, and silver.
Maybe you would have not been a victim.

But how do I know? Maybe we would have made you a victim ourselves
Oh what a paradoxical state, rich but yet so poor.
Violence seems to be our culture.
Ethnic cleansing, religious persecution. Why Africa?
Men missing limbs, only having their bosoms to survive.

A child living a life of a parent, things indeed have gone south
Your beauty has vanished from sight; your beauty is only in our nostalgic minds.
How do I restore you Africa? Maybe not, you are Africa.
Aluta continua Africa!!!!! (The struggle continues)

The Journey
By Reshard Horne

I am going through this.

Institutionalized. Electronic. Programmed.
The child who’s seen his whole life as God’s robot-man.

I can’t see.

Don’t touch. Don’t taste. Don’t live.
The God-man soldier on the road to destiny without a brake pedal or wheel.

I hate this road.

Turn or burn. Fly or fry.
Conform to our paradigms and our church way Reshard.Drone.

I don’t want none of this.

Decrypted. Inverted. Disengaged.
The child who wants to fly.

I see something.

Freedom? Expression? Truth?
The God-man soldier who subverts man’s lies and finds God’s truth.

Self aware: I hate this lie.

Do that. Want this. Crave that.
Is this how you plan to fit in? Do you think you ever will?
I will do without none of this.

The God. The love. The life.
The man who has the peace.

Black Widow (Latrodectus Hesperus)
by Precious Yett

Oh, shy nighttime Mother of golden children
who cocoons hope within her multi-armed
bosom until it breaks, spills, and spawns
who thrives in the summer and barely survives in winter
It is cold now
For so long you have carried
the needy on your back of shiny black
that now you lose strength and are left to be
preyed upon by WASPS
as well as people who prefer you controlled, removed, cleaned out
yet you are resistant
although those who remain string you along
They fear you because in some you cause:
sweating, swollen eyelids, drooling, dry mouth
They say you have sharp fangs in your arsenal
Your beauty is deadly, attitude venomous
It’s true you have captured an infinite many
they suckled until they were dust-dry
now they rip themselves from your “tomb”
causing your shoe-button eyes to cry
Your lover was only around for a month or two
left you a single cannibalistic mother
when he died
You birthed almost a thousand children
yet only see twelve alive
Some say you are a murderer
but only when he cheats
How dare he when he spent the duration
of his miserable life searching for thee?
Your offspring scream “Father!”
rushing from your flailing arms
not needing wings, only strings, to fly
You sit belly upward, to ponder
why they need him to thrive
He could be so immature at times
Complaining that you were moody while molting
although he did so too periodically
Oh Madam Araneae, Mother of many children
the hour glass of blood is dwindling
They no longer care if they catch you alive
Please don’t let them exterminate your children
Or, you too, will die.

Coming of Age

by Jennifer Kizzee
Being away from home has me feeling obsolete
It is as if each time I try I can’t compete.
Time is passing me by,
I ask myself, why?
Why am I feeling this way?
Each passing day I say, “Tomorrow will be a better day.”
Obstacles with school and life continue to be here
I know soon that everything in my mind will be clear.
Clear of confusion and disillusion
But it seems like I steady put myself in seclusion
I know growing up brings responsibility
How can I handle that with all my built up hostility
I know I should be open to change;
Just thinking about it makes me feel so deranged
Sometimes I just want to pack up and leave
But if I do, I won’t achieve my dream of getting a degree
That is something I’ve always wanted
And if I don’t get it, in my mind I will be forever haunted.

A Side of Argument
by Reshard Horne

It stings. It hurts. It burns.
Help me I can’t stop it.
Understand me. Empathize with me.
Whatever you say makes it worse.

Are you happy?
My chest feels like it is ready to explode
And my heart has dislodged itself into my stomach.
Lungs are grasping for air.
Mouth lacks moisture.
Pulse reverberating louder and louder.
Eyes burning.
Tears sting my eyes in anticipation for me breaking down.
Are you happy now?

I’m not crazy
I’m not overreacting
I’m not being damned dramatic.
I want you to know that I care
But you are so angry, you can’t feel me.
Your voice beats me like a bat over my head.

Wordy attempts to program me are frustrating.
I can’t hear anymore.
The words - garbled
The meaning - lost
STOP telling me what I mean!

I know what I mean when I say…
I know what I mean when I…
I know what I mean when…
I know what I mean.

How can this end?!
Make it go away.
You won’t because you can’t feel me and you want this.

My Worlds Trade

by Kelli Bray

The automated sound of the alarm clock buzzed in my ears. This time, six A.M. didn’t sound so bad. I can recall the wide grin on my face, there with good reason: it was my 17th birthday. I gathered myself and prepared for school as Archie Bunker told Edith to stifle it, just as he did every morning between six and six thirty when our television tuned us into the classic sitcom, “All In The Family.”

As I walked to school on that crisp September morning I was elated, contemplating the day’s affairs, my jean skirt rolled at the waist to expose more of my bare legs. At the point in my life between a child and a woman, a sneak preview seemed fair enough.

Hormone-geared teenagers flooded the building living not yet for a cause but driven by life nonetheless. Chatter filled the hallway like a million echoes. The clash of metal on metal heard as the locker doors slammed. Sneakers squeaked against waxed floors as feet shuffled into classrooms where teachers demanded attention of our rebellious minds. The bell rang signaling change as I proceeded to biology class.

The minutes of class became monotonous as we continued our overview of the human endocrine system, sketching human bones. We held the bones of the dead in our hands as Ms. Neighbors answered the classroom telephone. Stunned she cut on the overhead television making us all aware of reality outside the four walls. Thick clouds of smoke escape out of the building like steady streams. Over and over the footage of the plane is shown as the newscasters attempt to make sense of what had just happened. Silence fell over the classroom. My six A.M. smile faded and my stomach knotted with guilt as I saw the flames shoot out of the tower. Minutes later screams were heard as the second plane hit. Chaos. Confusion. Grief. Guilt. Why today? This was my day. I had plans! Should I continue with my regularly scheduled program? Is it still alright to smile? Am I still allowed to enjoy this day?

It was inevitable that school let out. With southern Connecticut being only one hour away from New York the crisis had hit too close to home. We were given an early dismissal from school to collect our families assuring their safety and turn our attention to the events still currently taking place. Although aching over the disaster occurring about the crumbling sky scrapers, I selfishly arrived home to call my significant other making plans to get together. Five years in the making, our on again off again relationship had built up to something of a mystery. Unbeknownst to everyone else we had been seeing each other for quite some time however, my mother thought I was going to visit with his sister. And I did, for a moment. His sister and I sat in living room and gazed at the television in disbelief of our great city’s misfortune. Moments later he walked in. After a small meet and greet the sister had disappeared into the house, no doubt knowing that, for lack of a more caring term, it was about to go down.

Inside those four walls I traded my reality for lusty fantasies and cheap thrills. As the news played in the living room our own soundtrack of grunts, kisses and low moans played. I was told to relax, to loosen up. It wouldn’t be bad, wouldn’t hurt, he had done this before. The experienced teacher all too eager to lead the green, naïve student. In all honesty I remember doing more thinking than thrusting. Overwhelmed by a guilty conscience rather than guilty pleasure. Contemplating the condom breaking and the possibility of creating a life as another life ends. Hoping that I wasn’t the only one having sex, partaking in such a dirty activity at such a crucial time in life. I should have been praying for souls lost instead of using the Lord’s name in vain to complement our naughty act. But I was praying. Begging God not to hate me because this had to be a sin. Of course it’s a sin! But its timing was wrong and down-right rude. Begging forgiveness throughout the act as if I were merely a puppet, a naïve student, a teacher’s pet.

Needless to say that school didn’t last long. The build-up of passion in our relationship inevitably caused its demise. We gradually fell apart, our mystery was solved and for the best we ended things. But the guilt stayed with me. I refused to celebrate my birthdays after that, feeling that I had in some way offended those that lost their lives on that terrible day. That I somehow added to the pain. I didn’t deserve to be happy. I don’t believe I cried that day. I don’t recall a tear slamming to the ground like the towers. The guilt caused me to feel empty, hollow. I traded my worlds. Lost my innocence. Gained a burden far heavier to bear.

It wasn’t until five years later on the day of remembrance in 2006 that I brought myself to watch the video on YouTube. Some unfortunate New Yorker captured the footage of the attack. The flames licked the Twin Towers with relentless lust. A thick, gray stream of smoke leading to the heavens. Maybe the route for those souls already gone, lives already lost. White cloths flapping in the wind outside of the windows. Signs of life. Cries for help. Limbs hanging out of windows as the survivors of the explosion try to escape the intense heat. Bodies leaping out of the building and falling to the ground. I imagine them repeating Hail Marys, praying last prayers as they fall hundreds of feet to an untimely and inescapable death. Tears roll down my cheeks and fall in jagged patterns like pieces of the towers as the buildings collapse and come crashing down. As self-punishment I played the footage, watched the crash, heard the screams, and relived the day, as if paying my respects. Coming to grips with the reality that I dodged those years ago. I shut down the computer and came away feeling better, lighter, guilt lifted. My world once again traded.

A year later in 2007 I struggle with the day, as I would imagine others still do. I feel torn between happiness on my day of celebration and sadness in a day of mourning. In a lame attempt to make light of the situation I consider that one day my birthday will be a holiday-- at least I won’t have to work. This birthday I smiled. At first the smile was forced but I came to realize that life continues. The earth hasn’t stopped moving and I am still told by saints that God has a divine plan for my life---so I guess I’m in the clear. A friend from New York, another from New Jersey and me gather together in a tiny I-Hop booth at midnight to celebrate my birthday. We take pictures, eat and talk about home sharing memories as survivors of another day.


In The Night
-K. Marshall 2-27-08
In the night, as we sleep, you hear rain against the window, and thunder rattling against the walls.
In the night, an uninvited guest comes into my aunt’s house with anger and rage.
In the night, I hear bumping against the wall—this time it didn’t sound like thunder.
In the night, I hear my cousins scream, so out of the bed I ran to them.
In the night, her ex-husband pulls her of the bed, as she kicks and screams.
In the night, he hits her and beats her then stops….he shoots her, as we watch.
In the night we sit outside on the curb holding each other waiting for someone to come, not a word was said as the tears flowed from our faces.
In the night, the police showed up with our parents.
In the night is when this all took place.

Grandma’s Hands
by Marnique Wesley

Hers were the kind that made you feel safe
In the midst of a scary rain storm
The kind you ran from
When you were told
“Go Git Me A Switch”
Loving ones that cleaned up
The worst scraped knee
And patched you up after
Accidental falls
From high-up trees.
The kind that baked every pie known to man
The kind that made a fuss at the sink
While washing your hair after playing in the sand…
Those memories I recall so well
Saturday morning clean-up chores
The hottest water ever
Mixed with
The strongest bleach smell
Summers at the neighborhood pool
Jumping in and out of the shallow end
Made me think I was cool
I couldn’t swim tho…
She called me a fool
Water covered my head one summer day
The shallow end
Seemed much too far away
Panic took me over
Just then…
I was seized.
By Grandma’s Hands.

In One Month

by Krystle Marshall

In one month my brother will be coming home.
Back in 1999 my brother got shot in the head, and that’s when the doctor said, “it went straight though your head”.
In the middle of the night I heard a scream, my mom had got the news.
The next day my mom was on her way down to Texas, and before she could make it my brother was back in the streets.
I knew that the game was deep the streets were steep and the sky seemed gray and he thought there would never be a brighter day; that he could not walkout as easy as he walked into the game.
You see when the bullet went though his head it only missed his brain by an inch, and
He could have gone blind.
My Mom and I told him that he needed slow down and this was a sign from God.
The next month he was set up-caught up and locked up.
Seven years of his life was taken.
Now he has another chance at life, next month my brother will be home.

When I call my Momma

by Coker George
Momma, Momma, are you up?
Momma, Momma, are you still sleep?
Momma, Momma, are you gonna get up?
Momma, Momma, are you still tired?
Momma, Momma, do you want me to let you sleep?
Momma, Momma, are you gonna ever get up?
Momma, Momma, do you love me?
Momma, Momma, ain’t I your favorite?
Momma, Momma I love you.
The comfort of momma voice always brings joys.
Cause when you call momma, momma, she always responds.


Is it Too Much?
-Jennifer Kizzee
Is it too much to ask for a nice man?
Someone who would fight for something for which he stands
Or maybe someone who will be there for me in the night?
Is it too much to ask for a man who knows when he’s wrong and tells me that I am right?
Is it too much to ask for someone who loves to chill?
I’m the type of woman that wouldn’t use him just for a hot meal.
Is it too much?
It’s not as if I’m asking for a mansion by the shore.
All I am asking, is there someone out there for me?
If there is, I would even consider changing my last name from Kizzee.
I feel that I am not asking for much
All I ever wanted was a man’s strong yet gentle touch.
I am a good woman to keep around until the end.
I’m a woman that you can always bring around the family and friends.
Could he be like Calgon® body spray
And just take me away?
Is it too much to ask for a person who is kind?
Who respects my body but especially my mind?
Is it too much to ask for an intelligent guy?
Someone who understands that sometimes I may be shy.
Maybe I should just let things be
And as time goes by, I’ll just wait and see.
But I will always ask myself is it too much?

by Kelli Bray

Emotions are taking over.
I am told not to invest too much of myself.
Not to sell myself short.
Not to get caught up.
But my emotions are taking over.
As times goes on we learn,
We grow,
We mold,
Into this thing that becomes bigger than the both of us.
My cluttered mind can come up with a way,
A thought,
A word,
To express what’s happening.
So I invest myself.
I give you my ears to listen to you.
I give you my hands to massage away the pains of this world.
I give you my words that give you wisdom beyond my years and settle your worries.
I give you my heart in hopes that this emotion that I’m feeling is not in vain.
I feel a way that is so brand new to me.
I love being with you and hurt when you’re away.
I ache when you’re away.
My emotions are taking over.
To watch you leave me brings tears of sorrow and happiness.
So glad that you make me so happy,
That I cry seeing you leave.
What is this emotion taking over?
I smile through the tears at your departure awaiting the next chance to lay eyes on your beautiful soul.
I’m confused.
I’m insane.
I’m in love.
I am petrified.

Unfortunate Fortune
-Logan Blackmon

Money makes me stick around.

Offering things I never would have known.

Lavish jewelry, designer clothes and a few broken bones.

It started just needing to get my feet on firm ground.

Two years into this undying fixation,

A new mansion, a coupe and a white on white Benz.

And for my husband two new girlfriends

What will it take to end this fascination?

Five years in, now a mommy with twins

They’ll inherit the whole fortune, now a part of the affair

And daddy’s ways as he beats me while my babies stare

My prayer is for an exit route before the cycle begins.

Love Quest
by George Kee

Years have past, they’ve gone so fast
Love instant at first sight
It took awhile to grow till now
The time was like a fight

Round one, so young and so naive
It’s said true love is blind
Our hands held firm, with much to learn
No cares on vernal minds

Round two, still new our love still dear
But soon to face a test
Though distant, stayed strong what could go wrong
In college we both were blessed

Years have past, they’ve gone so fast
Love instant at first sight
It took awhile to grow till now
The time was like a fight

The Warning
-Logan Blackmon

I woke up in one of the nastiest moods. My face still cringed at the reality of the dream I’d awakened from. The reality was undeniable. Determined to give an alternate ending to my dream, I lie back down and put a pillow over my head hoping to shut out the uninvited sunrays piercing through my window. I lie there, eyes clamped tight hoping to revisit my dream. Five minutes and then ten minutes pass. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I couldn’t lie in bed any longer or I’d be late for class. Upon arrival to class, I struggle to focus on the boring behaviorism lecture. I can’t get that stupid dream off of my mid. Why could I remember this dream so vividly? I cursed the fact that I could never remember so clear any dreams with me and my man Jamie Foxx.

Like many women, I dreamt of that special day that my world would change forever. I dreamt of the day I’d step into my custom made Vera Wang gown, pure perfect-white. It was so beautiful, fitted to showcase every flawless part of my body, which would in due time be ravished to make room for a more acquired taste of beauty, motherhood. I was surrounded by my girlfriends, sisters and mother. We waited patiently fanning one another with wedding programs to keep cool. We awaited the cue to descend down the aisle, showcasing our beauty to the soft sounds of instrumental love songs. As I walked down the aisle, escorted by my proud father, I held on tight, fighting to hold back the tears so not to ruin my makeup. Fear and anxiety allow a couple to escape. My French manicured fingers were sweating under the fresh bouquet at the anticipation of being released at the end of the aisle from my father’s security to meet my unknown future. I’m terrified, excited and doubtful, but the flickers of the camera keep me smiling. With every step I smell the scent of fresh rose petals under my feet. I look around at the beautiful scene I created in the temple, surely a scene to be envied. I see hundreds of smiles and assuring eyes as I pass each wooden pew. The aisles come to an end. I’m suddenly overcome with a feeling of assurance that things are going to be fine. No reason to be afraid. I smile at the man who releases me from my father and ushers me into my future.

Things become blurry at this point. My memory skips like a DVD to the next scene.

Do you take this man to be your confidant and lover for eternity? Will you honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?”

No turning back now. I part my lips to give my answer, but I’m cut off by something he is mumbling under his breath. As if it would make the words any clearer, I squinted and raised an eyebrow. He bowed his head and spoke a bit louder. I think I hear him say “I know.” My tone clearly conveys my confusion as I respond “You know?” He picks up his head slowly, and I notice his eyes are glossed over. He repeats himself again even louder. “I know.” He reaches into his pocket and removes a tightly folded sheet of paper. He leans into me and gently kisses my forehead. He grabs both my hands and looks into my eyes. Suddenly I feel a sharp pain in my heart and it becomes hard for me to breathe. In his hands I feel the folded piece of paper enclosed within our palms. “I loved you,” he whispers in a soft tone. He released his hands from mine leaving the sweaty folded paper in my hand. I was dumfounded and it showed on my face. He turned his back to me, stepped down the stairs and walked away from our future without turning back. The doors slammed loud and hard behind him. The entire room shook as the echoes from the doors bounced off the walls. It felt as if my legs would give out on me at any second. I slowly lowered myself to the floor, and sat on the steps. My eyes became teary in shock and confusion. I looked at the letter in my hands. My hands shook at what the folded squares would potentially unveil. I began to unfold the letter as that familiar lump in the back of my throat emerged.

I read in pursuit of an explanation. My stomach turned and I swallowed hard to hold down the nastiness that desperately sought to escape my body. I had been exposed. My life partner had left me because he saw me for who I really was. The letter revealed that he had found my journal. The evidence of every thought and feeling I’d had in the past year. My journal, my only true confidant, betrayed me and ruined everything. It had leaked every secret thought and feeling that I had desperately tried to bury and was determined to forget. The ugliness that I’m sure the years would have washed away like a high tide wave was now exposed. My mouth hung open at the sharp words, slicing away at my heart. He spoke of my selfish, petty, grudge holding-ways. Exposed were my true feelings about his every physical flaw. He’d read about every feeling I still felt for my first love and the longing I had to still be with him. No longer was it a secret that I feared his genes would overpower mine, damning our kids with his physical flaws and intellectual incompetence. He knew now that only financial security and the beautiful ring that garnished my finger was the true reason for this festive occasion. Not some corny undying love for him. He knew that I pondered daily of how devoted to the marriage I would be if presented with a better meal ticket. And of course he knew now that I blamed my lacking ability to love him on his ridiculously poor lovemaking skills.

I turned to the backs of the paper searching for the rest of the letter, but that was it. I sat speechless and in disbelief. In that journal, I had also written that I was prepared to work on it but somehow he didn’t get to that part. It was as if he had become illiterate once he’d come across those lines. He ignored the desire, willingness and excitement to learn to love that I had expressed. He ignored the fact that I was ready. Heavy tears dripped making the words run off the paper. The last lines were familiar to me. He listed the essence of Love extracted from the Bible. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

The truth hurt. I repeatedly called him a bastard, angry that my superficial idea of happiness had been ripped away.

I was awakened by the vibrations from my cell phone before I could conjure up an alternate ending. It was my phone waking me for class. It was all a dream but an undeniable sense of reality crept through my veins. I felt sick at the reality the dream held and the foul ending of my dream. Was it a warning of the unhappiness that my future held? A warning that I needed to change my ways or be damned to my life amounting to lavish materialistic items with no one to share them with. I cranked the car to drive to school and Teach me how to Love rang through the speakers. How appropriate. This was definitely a sign. I would definitely take it as a warning.