Womanifesto [ WOOM-MAN-UH-FES-TOH ]
A Womanifesto is an exhortation of opportunity that is rooted in passion and confirmed by community. It is pursuing freedom for all, and especially black women. It is taking up space and encouraging others to do so as well. By continually seeking to find pleasure in the details of life, it becomes deeply personal. Because when we take care of ourselves, we can better take care of our community and allow them to take care of us. A Womanifesto continually blossoms to the rhythm of our personal growth. Where we feel we fall short, it reminds us that it is okay to be a work in progress. As long as it is in progress.
EDITOR'S LETTER This magazine is what the inside of my heart looks like. What does that mean? It means that when I think about the people, places, and things that I hold nearest, this magazine has become a culmination of them without realizing it. It is a collaboration with all of my favorite people on every page and I'm proud of that. A year in, we've been able to donate almost a thousand dollars to dozens of creatives and create a platform for them to be seen in a new light. This is very intimate and special for me so I asked this issues' contributors to explore the same feelings. What memories do they hold close? What stories do they value? Which images are dear to them? I wanted to know what the inside of THEIR hearts look like. So reader, thank you for exploring the many hearts featured here today. Enjoy the ride.
Alyssa Cuffie @alWHYssa @WomanifestoMag
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Contributors MICHAEL JOHNSON CELESTE CUFFIE BREIA HOUSTON AZUL ALBERTO NOGUERON SHABAZZ R EUTSEY IZZY J LAURA ARMINDA KINGSLEY IESHA HARRIS CAMILLE JACKSON ANTONIO VOTOR JARED TROY NIA COLEMAN ALLAN LAKE JR NICOLE PEREZ ALLAN LAKE JR NIJERIA BOONE JADAH CUNNINGHAM
Photography by Izzy J ig: @izzysphotographystudios www.izzyspics.com
Writing by Alyssa Cuffie ig: @alwhyssa
Photography by Allan Lake Jr all2photography.pixiset.com ig: @freshwater_photos
In 2006, Read It and Weep was a staple in Disney Channel movie nights. It's about a student who disguises her diary as a fantasy novel and it accidentally gets published. This results in havoc through the school. A healthy dose of Junie B Jones plus this movie told me that I could write my young story and it would have impact. At age eleven, I knew that was something I wanted. What would it be like to publish my diary where I dish about friends and family without them knowing? So messy! I quickly realized it was more effort than I expected. It moved from third person to first person perspective within the first entry. My writings quickly dropped the magical realism, became more scarce, less thorough, and within a month I had dropped the project. I moved to the greener and less committal pastures of plays and poems. Today, I often revisit these works and continue to shock myself at the paralells. I was bold yet shy regarding boys. I was asking big questions and learning to love myself. I was funny as hell and deeply self aware. Every story is true, albeit embellished, and have very minimal editing to protect their authenticity. Eleven year old me also had the foresight to change names in the event that they would one day be published as they are now. Time travel to August 2009 with me accompanied by the incredible photos of Allan Lake Jr. Some entries have been typed for ease of reading.
August 3rd, 2009 Addison woke up with a terrible migraine. She could hardly walk to the bathroom without crying. So she went back to bed. She slept for five minutes and decided she would lay down on the first floor of her family's two story mansion. Addison took her pillow and comforter to the soft couch. Her evil brother who took to the dark side was being weirdly nice. "Whats wrong?"Andrew asked me. "Stop talking so loud," I told him."I have a terrible headache." "Okay well I'm going to make lunch for SUDS." "What?" I replied. "Switched Unto the Dark Side. SUDS. Take the first letter from each word. Get it sis?" "Yeah, I do. Let me try even though it's really lazy to abbreviate. Okay, let's see... um... U. F. hmmm." "Ugh you take forever!" "Let me finish! U.F...P. And um, S. Yeah! That's it! UFPSA. But we call it Fairy U." "What?" Andrew said mocking me. "Ugh... I thought you knew. United Fair-" "I do know. United Fairy Princess Summer Academy." -Addison Hope
August 3rd, 2009 I do not want to write about the morning because it was very, very boring. So I will skip to the academy. I get there and there are alot of new people. Since "SUDS" is in the same mansion as Fairy U I saw Andrew, my evil brother. Let me explain: Ms Wilson, the good fairy got married to the dark angel Mr Lee. When they got married, Ms Wilson lost her property due to a bad lawyer. And since Fairy U was in her manor, it got moved to the Lee manor. The Lee manor is where Andrew's camp is being held, hosted by Evan Lee. So now Mrs Lee uses the top two floors and Mr Lee uses the bottom two. Will write more later. Addison Hope
August 17th, 2009 Ahh. It's been a long time since I've written in here. It feels good. So, today I tried a new thing. Yarn. I braided it into my hair and went to Fairy U. I also wore a dress! I really liked it. Charlie was not there to see my hair. I bet he would notice it. I just wanted to give a highlight of the day. I can't get caught. I am not supposed to be writing. I am to be asleep right now. I have to wake up early and redo my hair. Goodnight, Addison Hope
, 2009 August 19tdhmy hair I ha Today Charlie was therey. reg ret it. I down and messy. I totallhim. It is sooo have to get my mind off y,VERY bes t hard. Alexia (my very, ver grandmoth er. So friend) is off visiting herd friends. Sh e is I am with none of my goo happy. coming back soon so I am an amusement We went on a field trip to h. I went on a park! It was small thougfri s. It was lot of rides with my new Iend were in fun, but since Charlie and different groups I only saw him once. lized Andrew's After I got home, I reaI go to the store birthday is in two days. rew my mom. and find a cake with Andh peoand ple fighting He picked out a cake wit on it. Of course. bed writing all Well now I am sitting in my goin g to break of this. I am tired. I amorrow. It will be the ice with Charlie tom hard. Wish me luck, Addison Hope
Zach- King Krazee (evil twin) Alyssa- Queen Mona (good twin) Zach: Mwah hahaha. I know what I'm doing today. Alyssa: And what might that be brother? Zach: Take over the world! Alyssa: Seriously? Again? How many times do I need to defeat you for you to understand that good beats evil? Zach: You are wrong! It is time for a duel! At 1 o clock, be ready to be defeated! Alyssa: One? I've got to beat up a monster at that time. How about I pencil you in for 3 o clock? Zach: Actually, I'm taking over Mexico then. Four thirty works. Alyssa: Yeah... Un huh... At 4:30- epic face off. Got it. Zach: Good, I'm off to eat a sandwich. Alyssa: What kind? Zach: Ahh! One of the many challenges in life. Chicken or cheese? THAT is the question.
Perennial. sitting bare against the green, there's something hidden here, and there was. in the field for a lingering moment, caught up in the wind that day. tentative steps fearing destruction - fear of all that power. seeing you bright, but still bare, I sit next to you, hands in the soil. we sit bare and grow together, but alone, down deep deep past the others. 1000 feet down we stretch. I look at you and think you're the most beautiful thing I've seen in days. as that thought reaches its peak, as we reach ours, I brace for the inevitable pain of being chosen, plucked, taken home, and kept to the best of someones ability. 1000 feet away from you now, I'm given water, and not much else. tendrils still phantom feel your edges, twisting about my edges. this is where I die. Nicole Perez/ ig: molecule.girl
S I T H
W H S I EID
s g n i h T Lost
Iesha Harris ig: @sirrah_ahsia w: vibesandsims.com
You always hated when I lost things I do believe that was your pet peeve You would always lecture me Well honestly, I really only misplaced them Like that time, you thought I lost my phone Misplaced! Or the time I lost the iPod and erased it. Again misplaced! And I easily restored the files on it again, so it was okay And my Chapstick Well, I have so many I just forget where I placed them all See no matter what you thought I lost. I always found it, or it resurfaced some how But I did actually lose some things Like A twenty-dollar bill on my way to work It must have slipped out of my pocket or something And my glasses one day when I was cleaning up But most importantly you I lost you I lost the one thing I thought I would never lose You always hated when I lost things And I do believe that was your pet peeve You would always lecture me But I guess you stop caring Because you're nowhere to be found I guess I do lose things and some things can’t be replaced
A REFLECTION ON
SOCIOLOGY & CHILDREN'S MEDIA
BY CAMILLE JACKSON
When I tell people that I study Film and Sociology,
Seeing historically, and systemically, overlooked
I'm usually met with confusion. “How does that
characters on your screen being portrayed in
work?” or “What can you even do with that"?
positive ways, being able to be their authentic selves, is powerful.
For me, the combination of film and Sociology has always made perfect sense. I’m a storyteller at heart
The subtle interactions of a Black family playing
who desires to be an advocate in everything I do,
UNO or Spades, or a mother fixing her daughter’s
especially for Black and Brown children.
afro puffs, can make a young Black child feel at home
As a Black girl growing up in a world where Black
nonbinary characters in stories can help children
girls aren’t allowed to be truly free, the media was
exploring their identities feel affirmed, and also see
both a safe place and a swamp of toxic ideas; ideas
the vastness of gender and expression in the world.
saying that this is what Blackness is and is only
Seeing a grandmother share a recipe with her
limited to be within the mainstream. Seeing the
grandson, such as in the recent reboot of Blue’s
range of Blackness in A Different World, Living Single
Clues with a Filipino lead, has helped children to not
(aka the original Friends), Numbuh 5 on Codename:
feel like an outsider and embrace their heritage.
Kids Next Door, and Martha Jones from Doctor Who, I found solace in the multitudes of what Blackness
Media reflects our cultural values, the good and the
can be and how Black women can be brilliant,
bad, and it's up to us to keep advocating for more
intelligent, gorgeous, silly, strong, and vulnerable, all
inclusive content so children don't have to be
at the same time!
bombarded with the same violent messages as we did growing up.
Sociology is the study of society, structures, and the people that shape them. From micro-level social
My heart aches for children, and the young at heart,
who only saw themselves in media as only the sassy
communities and see themselves within spaces to
Black friend, the terrorist, the thug, the maid, the
macro-level institutional analysis seeing how various
mammy, the sidekick but never the star. Seeing new
systems maintain and reinforce inequalities in ways
beautiful children shows like Craig of the Creek,
often overt and subtle ways. The subtle I’ve always
Steven Universe, Owl House, Andi Mack, and many
found to be the most interesting.
more that are making waves within mainstream
television and creating positive change for many Even as an introvert, I’ve always been curious about
underrepresented voices is invigorating.
people and want to connect with others. That’s what drove
I would love to create programming that speaks to
community Margins and Marigold, to talk to other
Black children and make them feel seen, showing
BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and other
them that Blackness isn’t a monolith and their
people with marginalized identities or stories that
imagination can be pivotal in creating a more
make you feel a little less lonely in the world. It also
equitable and beautiful future.
drives my storytelling and desire to create inclusive dynamic content for children.
Shabazz R Eutsey, 2017-2019 Heart of Noah Canvas Painting, 36x48in shabazzart.com
Shabazz R Eutsey, 2020 Spirit Canvas Painting, 30x40in shabazzart.com
Shabazz R Eutsey, 2019 Fairytale Canvas Painting, 36x48in shabazzart.com
Shabazz R Eutsey, 2020 5D Canvas Painting, 30x40in shabazzart.com
Remember The Time An audio reflection of childhood by Antonio Votor
Remember The Time/ Michael Jackson Get Busy/ Sean Paul Tight Up Skirt/ Red Rat Carnival/ Machel Montano, Destra Roll It Gal/ Alison Hinds Love Dem/ Vybz Cartel You/ Machel Montano Lose Yourself/ Eminem Children's Story/ Slick Rick Hey Ya!/ Outkast Wanna Be Loved/ Buju Banton Bacchanalist/ Kerwin Du Bois Big Truck/ Xtatik
A POD POWERING THE POLLS
Nijeria Boone and Jadah Cunningham are taking their political organizing from the streets to your ears with the internationally recognized, Black Girl Politics Podcast. INTERVIEW BY ALYSSA CUFFIE
Alyssa Cuffie: What is Black Girl Politics Podcast? Nijeria Boone: Black Girl Politics Podcast (BGP Pod) is a podcast where Jadah and I highlight our experiences as black women in politics. It’s a very male dominated place. We want to highlight that as well as educate people without being snooty about it. We’re reminding people that everything we do is political, from being able to get on the internet to what you watch on TV. JC: I think that's perfectly said, we’re just having and fostering a conversation. Conversations that center around black women are missing, particularly in the political field. We felt we had a unique expertise to be able to speak to that. AC: Why do you think it's important for black women specifically to be engaged civically, and in politics?
JC: Because of history, they haven't really had the choice. Everything about black women's existence is political. Sometimes it's stuff that isn't very obvious and sometimes it is obvious, like getting stimulus checks. It's important that we have that narrative out there. NB: Piggybacking off of that, you always see people say vote like you're a black woman. Republicans are coming after women and black people and we are at the intersection of that. We have no choice but to be politically engaged. AC: What happened that you started the podcast? NB: Jadah and I were talking about starting a podcast since the quarantine-aversary. Haha. We never got around to doing it but we worked on the Georgia runoffs and said, ‘Okay, let's just go and record it. We’d have these conversations about policy and what's going on in the world and they would be beneficial for other people to hear our points of views as black women. JC: Yeah, totally. I think it was a very slow chain of events that led up to it. We had nothing but time and said we'll just start it and see what happens.
AC: So what happened? What reception did you get? NB: Well, shameless plug. We've been reposted by the entire original squad, so Ayanna Presley, Rashida Tlaib, Illhan Omar, and AOC. We've also been reposted by a Virginia Governor's candidate, Jennifer Carroll Foy, moderated events, been listened to over 2,000 times now. It's 20 different countries and almost every state except Delaware. No shade to Joe Biden. It's much bigger than I thought it would be. I thought our friends were just gonna listen to it. JC: Right off the bat, from the time we released our first episode, we said this could actually be good. We've been interviewed by a journal for Harvard University, which is really cool. And we also recently interviewed three black women who are running for local office in Omaha, Nebraska. We're just trying to keep grinding and keep up with all the opportunities. AC: How else do you suggest that people at home can educate themselves and be involved in the movement? NB: Well, first and foremost, make sure you're registered to vote. JC: -specifically not just in presidential elections. NB: Yes, but make sure every time you vote take three of your friends to vote with you. Politics is very inaccessible. But you can do research on policies; I know AOC has Twitch and Facebook, and Instagram lives where she's educating people on bills. Dive a little bit deeper into policy on the national level, but also pay attention to what your alderman needs. Check to see if your state assembly person or state senate person is doing what you want to be done. If they aren’t, go vote them out because you pay their bills. JC: I think that's like such a huge thing. I have a lot of friends who aren't into
politics or they don't pay super close attention to the news. We’re getting them to realize that reposting on Instagram or re tweeting on Twitter is still political. So that's been like a really cool aspect as well. AC: How did you two personally get into politics? NB: I have always enjoyed politics. My goal was to be a lawyer. Donald Trump won and I was like, oh, maybe I need another track. I was in Minnesota and I applied to this virtual Black Caucus internship to see if I’d get it. And I got it. I was an intern on the hill. And I've been in politics ever since. JC: I've similarly always paid attention to stuff that's going on. But I never wanted to go into politics or law; my major was sports management. When I went into college, I saw Trump won and was like, this isn’t the Obama world that I grew up under. And even now we're realizing there were issues then too that weren't spotlighted. So I changed majors and transferred to a school where I applied to an internship program. I ended up getting in and spent the semester in DC at the same time as Jeria. We met as interns on the hill. AC: That's so sweet. Where can folks find you? NB: Catch us on Instagram at @BGPpod, on Twitter at @BGPpodcast, and Facebook at Black Girl Politics Podcast. JC: And anywhere that you stream your podcasts, you can find us.
"Everything about black women's existence is political"
MS. UNDERSTOOD MS. UNDERSTOOD BY MICHAEL JOHNSON MS. UNDERSTOOD MS. UNDERSTOOD MS. UNDERSTOOD
See it’s this shorty I could mentally spar with.... Bar for bar go the distance like from chasers to drifters.... An artist in all ways her sauce is bottled as God’s gift.... Wrapped in her uniqueness she got me making journal entries... December 8th, 2018 Title “Ms. Understood”... She’s calm and kinda kind of wild it’s just a balance of beauty... With mild drip it compliments... And it’s the best in the city... A woman like her I bet you won’t find plenty... you see She could be so sweet when she wanna... And tart when I’m tweaking.... Weekly she sleeps with her priorities.... And sees me on the weekend... It’s like broken clocks when we together... Sza thank you for that vibe sis... She expresses herself on Twitter Playing that black queen playlist... The type of tweets... That make me stop and think Then come to conclusion that I must be tweakin Got me in class thinkin’ of how your forehead be beaming... With Edges laid to the Gods... Other women give you props... But it’s more than just her outward appearance that has me engulfed.. She got me on and off my square, her dialect is so tough... I rock with her so heavy hearing her name is enough...
It’s such a beautiful illustration when your name pops up Honestly it’s... Instant gratification when your name pops up... I disregard other conversation when your name pops up... I clean all notifications till your name pops up... Now I’m back to my thoughts Girl you’re a product of the 90's looking like your fine auntie... with a drip that’s timeless But I wonder where your mind is? Do you know how tough I rock with you.... Is it blatantly obvious?.. Honestly Ima move as if it is... Cause I'd rather live believing... Than to find a love that doesn’t exist... Man it just got deep... Like that leave in conditioner... In your head I’m tryna be... Let it seep into your mind cause in there I’ll comfortably... Be a seed in good soil thirsty to sprout flowers of nectar… Contributing to the woman God intended for me flex with ... I wanna enhance your happiness like life was bussin without me… As opposed to the thought of being nothing without me... But I gotta find the courage to express these feelings outwardly... So until then, they’ll be nestled in my journal entries...
I no longer inhabit the island; the island inhabits me. Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 18 cm Laura Arminda Kingsley, 2021
Laura Arminda Kingsley/ lakingsley.com/ @l.a.kingsley
I no longer inhabit the island; the island inhabits me. My dominicanidad, that tenacious one hair membrane, anchors me to the island. Somewhere in a salty nook within me lies Santo Domingo with its flaming trees, street merchants, high rises and oh yes, that turquoise sea that thou shall only see but not smell; else you'd be reminded of blatant injustices. I no longer live in Brooklyn; Brooklyn lives in me. The land of the once green bush, Flatbush, has sprung roots deep in me. The moon under which I once jogged with Jimmy Hendrix blasting in my ear still glistens over Prospect Park. Sometimes I like to reminisce on them flirty brick patterns, but then I remember them paycheck to paycheck broken dreams. I dwell in the valley nestled between the Jura and the Alps. In the shadow of its cold shoulder, I have plenty of time to make and think. Its clear emerald waters, keep me companied. B'cause you know, es muy duro pasar los Alpes en chancletas, gell!* *Because you know, it's rough to cross the alps wearing flip-flops, you know!
Poem: Breia Houston/ ig: @buhreeah Photography: Allan Lake Jr/ ig: freshwater_photos/ all2photography.pixiset.com
Sleepy Dawn Morning greets me at his high altar, soft, Glad I have risen for his occasion He knows how dearly I treasure our encounters My bare feet are planted on the swollen wooden deck that was Dampened by the dew of The Morning. This encounter is a simple release A moment of fresh air A sacred experience An instance for an unwavering intimacy But I will soon join the slumbering woman on the other side of the white deck doors When it comes to her, It seems that only within myself I wrestle over the complexity of our optimal relations. There is contention as I am repeatedly reminded at the end of my inner quarrels- that There is no righteous reason that I see green & red at the sight of this woman drifting away-that There is no moment truly intimate between us, unlike the case for The Morning and me. The white veil of our temple had never torn, There are things left undone, unspoken, never atoned for There is no new covenant between us Perhaps because I am not willing to be the martyr for the vulnerable conversation I cannot sacrifice myself in such a manner- all in fear of a loss. I fear surrendering the opportunity to simply grapple. I fear the woman on the other side of the white deck doors- on the other side of this high altar; That she would know me how The Morning does
A CAREER REFLECTION WITH CELESTE CUFFIE Her journey from laid off to becoming a successful business woman
What did you want to be when you grew up? I always smile or smirk at that question. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a nurse, I wanted to be Dr Corning medicine woman. It was a show where if anybody got hurt or injured, they would bring them to her house. So in my mind, I remember imagining having a home in central Milwaukee where people would come in with broken legs and get fixed. So what do you do now? So today, I am a consultant. I go into organizations and facilitate personal and professional development. I develop people to help the culture as well as the organizational effectiveness by providing tools, resources and information. The goal is to assist them in shifting their culture to curate a more positive and more profitable organization. Do you find you can do similar things with consulting as you would have done with nursing?
Absolutely. It's not the same work of a doctor or a nurse regarding a physical need, but it's definitely something in terms of developmentally serving people, and helping them be their best selves. And you are able to do all of this through your own business right? I do. I started Life Empowered Consulting Services. Our mission is to reach, empower, and motivate others to access and utilize their God given, inherent natural talents and skills. This builds better companies, communities, and families worldwide. So that's the mission statement, right. But the long and short of it is we embrace, empower, and elevate people wherever they are. What inspired you to start this business? Honestly, the business was started as a result of being laid off from work in 2012. I graduated with my bachelors that same year and had
gone to school for too long not to do anything with it. And not only that, but coming from a traditional corporate job, I knew I had all of the skills I needed to help people with communication and strategic planning. So that was actually how it started. I was throwing fliers out on social media saying, ‘Hey, I'm going to resume writing class, you're more than welcome to come.’ And then by connecting with those who came, I was able to do some work for nonprofits. My first paid job at a non-profit was helping teach them the same things that I was giving away for free. In this journey, I noticed you could have all the skills that you'd want. But if you don't have the ability to effectively convey them and the belief that they are valuable, then it gets lost. This got me into coaching. It sounds like you were able to leverage the skills you already had and get paid for it. That’s incredible.
Thank you, yeah, I was able to leverage the skills. But also, I'm a lifelong learner. I knew that as much as I knew, there was still an opportunity to learn more. As a result of that, I went through a coaching program, I started reaching out to some of my colleagues, my mentors, and work coaches who are doing this type of work. I said how can I keep learning? One of the things I’ve learned and teach is that an education or a degree isn't a qualifier. But it can be a disqualifier. When I started coaching, I didn't want to do it without any formal training so I went through the John Maxwell certification program. It’s better enabled me to do what I do. What exactly does a coach do? A lot of times when people think of coaching, they think of it as their meeting with someone to give them an answer, to tell them what to do. That is not our role. A coach's job is to ask the right questions at the right time to help you get the insight that you need that’s inside of you. This way, you can make decisions and go forward. So how would I know if I need one? You have to just kind of do a quick assessment, right? Look at where you are versus where you want to be. Do you need a therapist or a counselor or a coach? The sessions are actually run by you. So that means that you have a goal and at the end of this time together, we're going to be able to do these three things for example. And so if you're ready for some help in moving forward, then definitely a coach is for you. Lastly, coaching is expensive. So the question becomes, are you ready to make that investment? Sometimes it can help you commit to doing other things. I know you also events, can you tell me more about them? I do smaller events through the year but this is the fifth year of an event called EIY, the Entrepreneur In You conference. I love talking about the word entrepreneur. It’s actually made up of two Latin words that mean to swim out and grab something. Once you realize that, you see this is something you can do. This is not just owning the company. This is a mindset, this is a behavior, this is a lifestyle. That’s why it’s called the Entrepreneur In You conference. Because you can work for a company or a third party and still be an entrepreneur. I'm especially proud of this particular event. All of the proceeds go toward a scholarship and endowment fund in the names of my father Tom Stevens and my father in law, Jonathan Cuffie. It goes to students of color at Concordia University that are in either the trades management or STEM fields. Over the last four years, we've been able to raise over $25,000 which is significant. Every panelist and presenter has been curated by me because they can speak into the lives of community people, college students, fellow leaders, and educators. I think that's one of the things that also sets us apart. It really has been a joint venture with Concordia University. I'm super excited about that and t's coming up again this year on October 9. If you'd like to learn more about the event or get in touch with Celeste Cuffie visit celestecuffie.com and find her on Facebook at "Life Empowered."
Kid A Azul Alberto Nogueron
Chichona Azul Alberto Nogueron
Dos Corazones Azul Alberto Nogueron
Ace of Chalices Azul Alberto Nogueron
Summary Once I laid in bed and whispered to myself,
because I have repented for my lack of
“you’re gay..” just to see how it felt. Now I
authenticity with my performance, my
whisper to myself “I’m a boy..” and feel a secret
words, and my loves.
happiness. True Trans Soul Rebel. Purgatory has always been described to me
I explore my trans identity by being honest. I
as the first stop to the ascension to heaven:
depict my story onto relics of my past and
where the souls of our bodies repent for
paint a story of who I am. I paint portraits of
their sins on Earth before our final
myself and embroider relics of my past into
destination. Our souls have left our bodies
my body, to demonstrate that although there
once our time on Earth has expired and it
have been a few surface changes that I am
was in the hands of God to tell us if we were
still the same person that people have gotten
good enough to enter His heaven, leaving the
to know the past few years. My “dirty
living to endure a crisis of self worth.
laundry” will be installed as such, drying for the world to see but my dirty laundry will be
Who am I?
not be without my words, my experiences,
The fear of God is well within me, but the
my emotions and my voice.
fear of authenticity scares me more. I will be damned by Him and by them. They scare me,
I am They but now you will hear me as Him,
but now they is me. I took a step a year ago, a
because my voice is my power, and only I can
step that still scares me. I released the red
judge myself as worthy.
tones in my life and waved a blue flag over my name. I worry that when I die, He will say that there is no room. I worry that there is no room, and I will die.
Art and Prose by Azul Alberto Nogueron W| azulnogueron.weebly.com
But I cleansed my sins and demons, so He
must accept me. He must accept me
Jared Troy, 2021 Digital Art @tapwaterjared tapwaterforever.com
Restitution By Nia Coleman Thrills draw breathe from the moments that earth awakes to the clamorous jolt of my unbefitting ego. If I raise my voice, I want the treetops to shake their heads to the heavens. If I fall, I want rose-beds to uproot themselves to embrace me. I guess some of us aren't born giants; counting worlds between our hands, or letting misfortune ferment between our toes, but isn’t a Black woman owed space beyond this page;
Nia Coleman is a graduate of the University of Central Florida’s B.A. English-Creative Writing program. Her work has been featured within The Cypress Dome, Creatures Magazine, and Honeyfire Literary Magazine, and translated to French in Interpret Magazine. Although originally from Philadelphia, she doesn’t know Will Smith. When she’s not writing poetry, you can find her studying law, playing guitar, or petting cats. ig: @nia.c.poetry