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I Want to Write Celebrating a Year in Voice, Vision and Victory

Cover Art by Mikayla Washington Edited by Michelle J. Pinkard, PhD “Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.� -Alice Walker

I Want to Write Celebrating a Year in Voice, Vision and Victory

Table of Contents Cover Art by Mikayla Washington, interpretation of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf

Introduction ...................................................................................... 1 Homage (Works Inspired by Influential Poets) .................. 2 I Want to Write Events in Review........................................... 15 Portriats, Poetry and Politics Art Show ........................... 26 Soul Fire Poetry Group................................................................ 30 Acknowledgements ...................................................................... 48

I Want to Write Celebrating a Year in Voice, Vision and Victory I want to write the songs of my people. I want to hear them singing melodies in the dark. -Margaret Walker, from “I Want to Write” Join us in celebrating another successful year of I Want to Write poetry, synergy and activism. Since its inception three years ago, the I Want to Write initiative inserted spoken word artists into classrooms, published student collections, founded the Soul Fire Student Poetry Group, and hosted three annual Poetry and Spoken Word Writing Conferences. A partnership between TSU’s English department and Southern Word, a nonprofit that supports literacy through spoken word, helped to bring many of these dreams into fruition. This anthology represents a snapshot of I Want to Write activities in the 2016-2017 academic year. Specifically,     

The annual I Want to Write Poetry and Spoken Word Conference An homage to the 40th anniversary of the Broadway debut of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf. The event was sponsored by the LLP and the Women’s Studies Program. Poetry and Artwork featured in the Portraits, Poetry and Politics 2016 Art Exhibit, facilitated through a partnership between TSU’s Art and English Departments. Select poetry from creative writing students inspired by the aesthetic and activism of literary legends. Poetry written by Soul Fire Poetry Group, the departmental student organization mentored by Southern Word poet educators.

Again, much of this wouldn’t have been possible without the engagement of poetically driven students and the support of committed partners. I would like to personally thank the Liberal Arts College, the English Department, and Southern Word for their support. Also, I need to acknowledge the following individuals for their encouragement and efforts in co-organizing these events: Benjamin Smith and Tia Mitchell, Southern Word; Dr. Jennifer L. Hayes, LLP and Women’s Studies; and Prof. Cynthia Gadsden, Prof. Lakesha Moore, and Courtney Johnson, Art Department. Thank you! To learn more about the I Want to Write initiative, visit In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you at future events. Until then. Poetically yours,

Michelle J. Pinkard, Ph.D Program Coordinator


Homage Response Poetry for the Literary Foremothers and Forefathers

By Jordan Nichols Response to Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls 2

Seclusion By Bonnie Kelly Locked away in a little room, alone and afraid, I sit pressing my spine against the solid oak door and turn a tearful eye to the filthy floor. I have not been let out to relieve myself for many hours, or maybe even days, and there is the reeking result in piles of feces and puddles of urine. I must do something about this I say, to the empty space, with my voice bouncing vigorously around the echo chamber with an eerie and sultry sound. I reach down and raise the white sheet that is my only cover, and there I see the gross green mat that is my ghastly bed. I wad the hideous linen into a big and whopping ball, and drag the dreadful thing over the foul and stinking ceramic tiles. As I pull and push it, the thing leaves BROWN STREAKS

Kelly’s work is inspired by her reading of Ethridge Knight’s Poems from Prison. She writes of Knight’s aesthetic in the following: “His work challenges the reader to understand poetry in a different light. He develops his work with a sense of abandon, and this is a distinctive quality found in all of his writings.”


across my field of vision. They call this a HOSPITAL I shout and hear my voice Bouncing and Bouncing Around and Around Echoing and Echoing AND NO ONE THERE TO HEAR


curl haiku By Chelsea Smith 1. Do we stretch struggle like curls into messy buns of updos 2. or slick back suffering like bede bees with gel on old toothbrushes 3. do we ease down death like edges with tied down scarves

Smith’s work is inspired by her reading of Sonia Sanchez’s Morning Haiku. She describes Sanchez’s haiku form in the following: “Her relationship with haiku is complex in that she makes the reader interpret and digest her expression. Her poetry is like a language in which words are merely symbols for the thoughts and emotions of reader experiences.”

4. or get in formation like cornrows in 4s straight back 5. do we bring glory like middle parts to baby hair & afros 6. or factor queens wearing crowns of curls in our future?


Oh Lord, A Prayer Poem By William Taylor Oh Lord we come as the sun sets, heads aching and bodies drained before thee. Oh lord we come while the rooster crows, make us the sun without the clouds. We arrive with burdens… with problems from yesterday’s tomorrow asking that you deliver the answers unto us. Oh lord we come this morning, as humble as we know how to serve your name. Oh lord we come to you Eyes closed asking to feel your blessings Hands open envisioning your ways Oh lord we come to you as enemies cast shade before our light as our moral performances become foreigners let us sink peacefully into the surface your hands have sculpted. Amen! Taylor’s work is inspired by his reading of James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombones. Taylor describes Johnson’s sermon poetry as follows: “His writings mainly serve as a voice for many hurting African Americans from the past, present, and future. Therefore, his messages will never completely lose their value or meaning.”


“9/11” By LaCamera House We sat at our wooden desks With our mouths dropped to the floor as the shock of reality robbed us of our illusion of safety and security. I can still hear the painful cries for help echoing in my mind. I can still see the heavy clouds of sorrow blinding the people of New York as they frantically combed through the fragmented constructs of man’s imagination because the men we called Terrorist, terrorized our nation with a loss of great multitude. They took down the twin towers with hijacked planes and collided with death. In this moment I thought the world was ending. Swaying between cringing and Stiffening as the concrete collapsed onto the bodies of those Innocent people. Few were saved and many lives were lost Blacks, whites, Asians, and others. I remember, how devastating this was to America as a nation and more than anything I remember how insignificant our surface differences were because pain is a universal sensation and we are all human. House’s work is inspired by her reading of Elizabeth Alexander’s American Sublime. House describes Alexander’s influence in the following: “I truly admire Elizabeth Alexander for her devotion to sharing the American experience through the African American lens.” 7

Why in the morning By Rochelle Smith I Bless’d de Lawd last night Don’ know why she scr’am and holla Yeah I t’ink ya gon’ let mah sleep I’m only workin for a dolla She ain’ comin’ cross dat dere flo’ Wait I t’ink she is let me get up and go I jes’ wanna sleep I wish she’d stop She gon’ run me off de clock Ay’ I need my beauty res’ Gon’ mak me ugly screamin’ lak she stress’d Oh ma’am ah didn’ hear ya’ call ya know my ears kinda small No need for whoopin’ I’s be good all day Okay I’ll gon’ and say my grace That roll luk’ gud I need a plate Okay Amen, I was tir’d of de wait Smith’s work is inspired by her reading of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s dialectal poetry. She considers Dunbar’s influence on her work in the following: “Dunbar can add to my development as a writer by reminding me to not be afraid to defy the odds and to be authentic to myself and my generation by sharing “our truth.”


We Are One By Alphonzo Bradford The smooth sound of Marvin Gaye flowing through our ears as the sun set, we are one. Small children running around and grown folk reminiscing about the old days, we are one. Easter, 4th of July and Memorial Day we bank head bouncing and doing the twine, we are one. It’s not just a place where we meet, this is where we unite and become one. Bradford’s work is inspired by his reading of Gwendolyn Brooks. He explores how Brooks’ poetic activism helps helped him find purpose in his poetry: “I now understand poetry is not just about me, it’s about whose story I can tell, who I can reach and what differences I can make.”


Pantoum By Harry Felder - After Reading Natasha Trethewey I'm sorry I couldn't recreate you mama. Wasted all trying to keep your pretty things. Tried to recreate you but I only found drama I wanted to give away your pretty ring. Wasted all trying to keep your pretty things. They were all so simple so pretty and plain. I wanted to give away your pretty ring. Dancing with them in the rain gave your signature stain. They were all so simple so pretty and plain. Had to gussy them up to mimic your greatness. Dancing with them in the rain gave your signature stain. I'll make them you it will be painless. I had to gussy them up to mimic your greatness. Had to paint them in your vistage high cheeks and hips I'll make them you it will be painless But I couldn't imprint your essence so I flip. Had to paint them in your vistage high cheeks and hips No cornbread on sunday, no kiss goodnight. Just no you. I couldn’t imprint your essence so I flip out. God, I hate that man in blue. No cornbread on sunday, no kiss goodnight. Just no you. Why mama did they have to off you? God I hate that man in blue. I remember cradling you -- dead and leaking. he, in blue.


Why mama did they have to off you? So I use, abuse and gussy up women just to replace you. I remember cradling you -- dead and leaking. he, in blue. But mama I need you. I have to find you or this life I will rue. So I use, abuse and gussy up women just to replace you. So I know I'm shit. I’m ashamed. I’ll try to change mama. But mama I need you. I have to find you or this life I will rue. But I guess I’m still reeling from the trauma of you.


From Your People By Oneshia Evans - After Margaret Walker, “For My People�

From your people everywhere singing our rap songs repeatedly: our dances and our sitcoms and our tunes and beats, still praying our prayers nightly to our God, carrying on the traditions of our ancestors; From your people out of strength through the years, tired from the long years, dull years, last year and this year the years of civil rights and Emmett Till, of Dr. King and Ali and X, to the year black lives matter and Trayvon, Martin, of Rev. Sharpton and thankfully still John Lewis still poor, still black, yet better chances; From your playmates in the potholed roads of Tennessee cities working struggling and praying and athlete and teacher and social worker and mama still cooking and club and parties and hair stores and kickbacks and Obama and friends; From the years we went to school, ungrateful and unknowing learning of the struggles of those before us yet never fully appreciating what they went through still answering the same questions from the same people with a better chance of having our questions answered; remembering those who paved the way for us, yet not fully understanding the importance of black education; From the boys and girls who are now grown with kids of their own men and women, smoking, duty wining, belting out Luther and drinking our Hennessey and Scandal and limited progress, to marrying those we meet in college after being played, to having kids grow up without a


father, to broken families, to then die of overdose, gun violence and police brutality; From your people still trying to find a better way, still confused, yet have more resources to educate ourselves, still trying to find ways to come together to be one, where we stumble across some equalities yet are still denied others, where we scream equity because equality implies that we all start off at the same pace; just wanting better for those who come after us; When the new Earth rises, and the new world is born, we will thank you for teaching us patience, for instilling resistance, for putting our futures before your present. Your names will forever be in the history books, and on our tongues, our children’s children will know who you are, and how you fought for freedom, which made us fight for freedom, which hopefully grants them true freedom. It will be beautiful, it will be revolutionary, it will be because of you.


Strong Child By Brandon L. Lenox For Frederick Douglass It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. This I know because I was born strong. Born from both sides of the story. Born from privilege and punishment. My father had to hate my mother but skin color doesn't matter in the dark. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. This I know because I was deprived. Torn from restrained arms. I could do nothing, as I watched my grandmother accept me like gift, there was 12 of us. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. This I know because I was taught. Taught how to read Taught how to speak in harsh vowels and hate language, who knew this would be our native tongue. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. This I know because I escaped. Hands stained in caulk, I wore a sailor's uniform. That night I found out that hope floats. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. This I know because I am free. Free to share air with my kidnappers. Free to hold conversation like legal documents in the presence of slave masters. I was never broken, only strong. That is how I was built.


I Want to Write Poetry Birthed from I Want to Write Events

By Darien Henderson A response to Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls 15

I Want to Write Poetry Conference 2017


I Want to Write Emotions By Lydia “BorntoWrite� Cook I saw the struggle in his eyes. Similar to Queen Maya, still he rises. Dark skin, nice smile, a respectable young man. Breaking stereotypes, overcoming doubt, an honor to be here. Brown skin, diction intact, nervous in motion, yet this queen moves forward in her speech. I'm witnessing history in the making, my spirit is turning summer sults. Reflection finds me in the middle of this "I WANT TO WRITE DAY" Trying my best to hold back tears of joy. Fighting negative thoughts of regret, I learned a valuable lesson, treat time with respect. A white woman, writing poetry about an elder. Her neck turns red as the blood our ancestors shed. Though hate tries to creep in my heart. For the injustices that have happened, and the evil ones that yet allow slaughtered blood to run without public remorse. But, I'm witnessing her passion,


devotion and connection. The most high reminds me, that hate isn't the answer. Nor is judgment the key to every soul. The last poetic queen walks in late apologies, written on her face. Her dedication drives her straight from work. The energy is poetic, the campus feels like home. Beautiful, talented poets scribing out loud, as their truth serenades the Tennessee State University walls. Black, white, male, female, diverse united voices, they all ring of poetry and their smiles speak of spoken words.


Southside with You By Fasoranti Ajamu - After attending a screening of Southside with You

“This is not a date� Full lips shaped the words, carved them harshly into the heat of Chicago's summer. They hung in the air, swarmed and twined over each other like gnats. Chaotic, and hazy. I stepped around them, not wanting to get lost in their toxic dance. Black girl from the Southside, I wanted to know her, know what made her smile; watched to watch the sun dance off those melinated shoulders, but she was breezy blouses and pencil skirt, hair delicately, deliberately, coiffed, and sharp remarks; left wounds I'd lick later. She was business, I was casual, and the smoke drifting around made my bones relax and my spine shift, curve into a slouch; while she coughed and waved those delicate hands in front of a scowling face. Black girl from the Southside, I wanted to impress her, break the wall she'd carefully built around herself, step over her boundaries; I didn't see the importance, and I wanted, needed her to realize that those people at the office didn't matter, but you cant pay medical bills with a carefree attitude, and, Black girl from the Southside had had one too many doors slammed in her face cause the Michelle the company expected wasn't straightened hair curling at the edges, and sweat shining on dark skin; Black girl from the Southside, mind over matter, eye on the prize, stick in the mud, with bills to pay, with parents to make proud.


Parental Advisory By Britnee Bishop - After a Protest Songwriting Workshop Nobody is laughing and frolicking. But everyone is BLEEDING like white ink On a black sheet of paper. Everyone is sprinkling their WEED On their chocolate tootsie roll swisher sweet RELLO’S. Everyone is SAGGIN and Talking about being a straight SAVAGE and everybody gotta BRUH, SON, CUH, Or a CUH-SON and they be FOOLIN! Nobody is twirling in the rain But everybody love to see THAT ASS bounce. Everybody love the CHICKEN, Cuz THEM SHITS is so finger MUTHA FUCKIN Licking and everybody gotta stretch they mouths from right side up to upside down so everybody can truly understand that them JUNTS is HITTIN Nobody is a Hey or Excuse me But everybody a NIGGA Everybody want cornrolls SWAG and call BITCHES HOES Because everybody wanna be, HOOD. GANGSTA. A NIGGA.


Just because your laugh doesn’t look like my LAUGH Doesn’t mean I’m not frolicking Just because your rain Doesn’t look like my RAIN Doesn’t mean Im not twirling Just because your hey excuse me doesn’t look like my HEY EXCUSE ME doesn’t mean I don’t say hey, excuse me… It means OUR preference and what WE relate to is different. OUR genre, different. So don’t go judging US or SPITTIN all that criticism CUZ we DIDN’T ask for all this DOPE shit we just so happen to be Born with IT. And to be honest, it sounds like you HATIN Just a little bit. Nobody is doing all this cute romantic shit on the news So take your blame and aim that bitch Some other way Because all we ever had was our MUSIC. And I am UNAPOLOGETIC that YO Ass can’t feel through it That’s why you get to go listen to Your country music, STAY OVER THERE! While I take my seat at OUR table.


Sally Mae (based on the Ballad of Hollis Brown) Community Workshop Poem Facilitated by Dr. Luke Powers Sally Mae lives underground Sally Mae took my check And I turned back around And I said what the heck Sally Mae was a pretty girl She was a girl I never found But when I get paid But she always comes around Sally Mae must be a stripper She likes the color green Cause when I see her she’s got all this bling I want to pass my classes And get a degree But Sally May says, Ha, ha, ha And Says no Sirree Sally Mae don’t discriminate And she built a wall She said I’ll take your money When I see you in the Fall Sally May repo’d my car In the driving rain Now my kids and my homework are driving me insane Sally May put a sinkhole In my bank account


She put pothole in my credit And my kids are falling out I changed my address But Sally still calls my name I also changed my phone number But she calls me just the same Sally May calls my name But I cannot pay Sally May tell my why you have to ruin my day


Not Quite Normal By Drake Moreno I watched the children at play, longing to join them, but it was my cousins’ school and the towering chain link fence locked me out. Mom was locked up—they called it “hospitalized”— receiving electroshock treatments. It was always Mom who administered the enemas in the bathroom. The eventual ecstatic release rivaled the pleasure I would later come to associate with sexual intimacy. I discovered magazines under my parents’ mattress, glossy pages of lurid licentiousness. Mom gave me my own magazine, a Playboy. She encouraged erotic exploration with the preacher’s daughter who fancied me. Mom, a beautiful woman who fancied herself a reincarnation of Cleopatra, once appeared in my bedroom, lips painted red, cigarette in hand, all gussied up in black: a garter belt, thighhigh stockings, sheer lace panties and shiny high heels. Speechless, I endured a sensual dance to the silent music playing in her head. She gave me a thick volume from Havelock Ellis’ series, Studies in the Psychology of Sex. I admit to feeling empowered by arcane secrets of carnal knowledge, like some apprentice to a bipolar, schizophrenic sorceress. Mom once asked my wife, “Doesn’t he have the most beautiful penis you’ve ever seen?” and I felt flattered. Only later did it occur to me that I, like my mother, was clearly not quite normal.


For Colored Girls: “Enuf” By Chelsea Cash Yes Enough is enough Enough is only enough when it’s no Good thing he can’t understand No meaning no get out This bed has no room for any more of you No time for goods No need for your sweetness Withdrawing from the place you would call Heaven I would call Hell because I’ve had enough of your force your longing your smell is no more than a whiff of non-existent passion fruit of the spirit, spiritual fruit, spiritual being inside me he does not take it slow for me to tell him enough of this pain this guilt this passion this pleasure this thing some call love I call for money they call it the root that’s growing more and more inside me I can’t take it it’s too much to be wanted and needed for the right reasons because he’s had enough of what he could get from me and I’ve had enough of giving it.


Select pieces from the Fall 2016

Portraits, Poetry and Politics Art Exhibit

By Jasmine Rodgers

By Ayoka Ajamu 26

Pasted By James Cooke White fur pasted on a backdrop of ice. Noticing the contrast of white on white, the ice sweats. As ice sweats, the pasted fur loses its grip And is peeled off. I peeled them off and put them somewhere else, Saving the mighty fur for a future. Saving them for when The ice wants them back. I pasted them in places they’re wanted: Places where the curious can see dying wonders. The white fur sweats, but can’t complain: If not here, then where? The day is long and adhesion rots As it collects the grime of impure surfaces. The mighty fur dreams of wanting ice Where it might hold on.

Cooke’s poem is a response to this collage created by Veronica Kelly, was part of a 2016 art exhibit entitled Portraits, Poetry & Politics


Night and Day Ecacia Moore Bodies Separate Long Impending Waves Afar Clouded With Judgement

(Night) Many moons danced upon the midnight sky Sharing the secrets our fathers wouldn’t dare We took time to make love with the stars Venus opened her arms for us to stay Tonight. One Night. Good Night. (Morning) Good Morning. Awakening to Apollo’s rays Let us lay and bathe in the memories the shore keeps washing up Soaking in each other’s presence Present. Tense. The conch speaks of happily never after Soon after, Mars begins waging wars Leaving distance between the Sun and I Our relationship dissipated like sea foam in the crevasse of dirt This was it. Good Bye. Moore’s poem is a response this portrait created by Kevon Dunbar, was part of a 2016 art exhibit entitled Portraits, Poetry & Politics


Crown of Thorns Bre'Yonna Langford This crown of thorns placed Precariously atop my head, “A symbol of hope.” These robes hanging along the curve of my body Clinging to my skin Please, Allow me to lower my arm So that I may set fire to these drapes. You look upon me and Use my existence to justify unjustifiable acts, and You tread upon my feet, Feet, which are tethered to this land you call home. In my name, You spread your hatred Though the veins of this nation That you claim to love. A nation which I have cared for, Since the burden of protector was placed on my shoulders all those years ago You paint the flag that I hold dear With the blood of the unfamiliar, And never once apologized. But worst still You look to me for approval. Langford’s poem is a response this portrait created by Avery Cash, was part of a 2016 art exhibit entitled Portraits, Poetry & Politics


We want live words of the hip world live flesh & coursing blood. Hearts Brains Souls splintering fire! -Amiri Baraka, “Black Art”


Femme Solide By Brejhe’ Halls Ms. Maya taught me that I was a phenomenal woman. And I take that with me wherever I go Feeling the wind in my hair Letting the melted shea drip from my roots Screaming yelling and howling like the geechee folk do kicking mud lightheartedly upon coasts of savannah georgia My melanin makes love to the sun everyday But I ain't just geechee I’m a country girl too I hog the pig in the pit My feet calloused from hot concrete and dry grass Stained in georgia red clay Carefully painted to match my manicured nails Don't try to categorize me into just one type of woman I am every woman just like Whitney Like Chaka Like Ms. Badu My chin lives at a 90 degree angle I can milly rock on any block Block you?.. Yes I did. I know my worth I am better than half ass reciprocity reciprocating nothing but orgasams and women crush wednesdays That is not me. Don’t try and categorize me into just one type of woman (disgust) I am crack book seals, chewed up pens, sleepless nights and peppermint tea the morning of tests. I am poise and carefully maintained flexibility. I am a rocket ship that crashes into piles of sand Back bending backwards the cracked back the clap black


I am fire.. don’t get burned My womanhood is not a test I am cotton cloths and shoe laces with my hat backwards Your girlfriend and your homegirl I bleed versatility Don't try and categorize me into just one type of woman I am the free geechee girl with the country girl swag. The laid back girl you lay up with Your Violas and Taraji’s Your innovators and executors. Ms. Maya taught me well Solid women never crumble And I am a woman.. phenomenally, phenomenal woman Thats me.


Forgiving me By Cornetia Green It seems like Like no matter how much I try to filter my life its still murky Brita's not helping clearly Not clearing out Garbage man not clearing out this trash fast enough My heads been spinning Spinning I'm feeling Dizzy Maybe i should sit down "Baby girl you alright" "You been lacking teeth lately, the corners of yo mouth haven't trunt up since you been here" I'm fine grandma You know this feeling is Funny And Not laughing funny but weird Started feeling counterfeit, barbie doll plastic like fake I've never been fake Started feeling like fitting in Getting in Let me in Why doesn't anybody love me Please pay attention to me No Leave me alone I don't need anyone I gaze out into open areas Open eyes never open always dreaming so am I sleeping? My body's been probed by merciless eyes These can I come lay with you guys These guys who really don't care what's on my mind ,they say they love my dark chocolate kissed skin the way the


extra love on my body folds , I said folds in Aww so you like my extra curves? Boy please Fuck out my face With these Repetitive jives you can't jive me I'm the best player on the board I think maybe I'm not maybe I forgot Forgot that I'm a queen because When I'm asked how much do I weigh I say I don't know because I feel the negative tenses travel through my being I don't know if its my self esteem if it has fallen or my confidence has lacked I don't know what happened to the sun that use to light my soul The fire that burned in me The wind beneath my wings I forgot how to fly I don't know how to fly anymore I remember Shae Sit down Shae Stand up Shae I said sit down Shae go get in the car Shae get out the car Mom dad stop this Please please stop arguing Im weary To much weight on my shoulders as thoughts translate to boulders


You know My heart just got colder Every second I thought of the people who wronged me But that was the past Now I'm better I started dotting my i's and crossing my t's Learned my success in my worth Cus I'm worth it Started praying Started believing I started working out not to look good for others but for myself Starting doing good for others Volunteering I Put my heart in a warmer Stopped worrying about fitting in realized I never Needed to get in Forgave my molesters and rapist Forgave my parents for making me standup and sit down and stand up that was to much exercise started practicing how to fly again Started relaying the bricks to the walls of my confidence Lit the fire in my soul again Now I remember I'm a queen With a crown Now I can sit down


Cockfidence By Joshua Edward Newton Brome

It will be ours It will be mine I will build towers I will cross lies I’ve fallen down mountains Drank at incorrect fountains Shot at Suns Smoked dope with your sons The old has gone, a new day begun The blood of black Jesus, God’s only Son Resting softly in my grave Our new day begun


Black Jesus By Jalyn Maxwell I knew Jesus was black when He was executed for a crime he never committed. I knew Jesus was black because everybody assumes that the black man did it. I knew Jesus was back because He knew He would be somebody when He got older. I knew Jesus was black when He had the weight of society and stereotypes on His shoulders. I knew Jesus was black because He died for His hood. I knew Jesus was black because He was so misunderstood. I knew Jesus was black because He spoke His mind. I knew Jesus was black when He turned water into wine. I knew Jesus was black when he talked about peace. I knew Jesus was black when he gave us Dr. King Jesus had to be black because we protect what belongs to us, Just like Rosa Parks protected her seat on the bus. Jesus told God “forgive them Father for they know not what they do” I wish we could say the same for the killers in blue. We’re given this image of white Jesus pale skin white clothes, and hair majestic But we all knew Jesus was a brotha you didn’t want to mess with. You can have the pictures and paintings of white Jesus on your wall But Jesus is the most slept on black person of them all.


I am all that remains By Diiane Williams From limb thrown like magnetics to create a prospect of a slave manipulated to gain profit from the labor of a dark species whose blood get split like cherries soothing the ache of your tongue the blood stains fill your breath with the aroma of lies I saw the poison you put in the liquor you offered my brethren tricked them to turn upon each other like animals enraged but not from the chains of bondage You Edomite the coin you offer was the same coin that woke betrayal from the depths of sleep and savored the moon like it was a pathway to death Sadly I am all that remains a neck hung from a tree my body sinks underneath the sheets of prosperity you fail to destroy me Who says it isn't prophesized that you will burn under the risen bodies of my people The valley of the dead bones speak for themselves Carved with belief that vengeance lies in the hand of the almighty Now you see my corpse possessed with the spirit of Ya See the breathless bodies of my people will the sword of life Our minds bore the whips of fornication being molested by disobedience I told you not to tread on me Now you stand in the presence of vengeance Your world will wither in sorrow and without the vermin’s gilted crown mortality shall feast on your corpse torturing your soul You will seek death but you shall not find it Ezekiel 25:17 “I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon them.” I am the chosen and I hold the spirits of my ancestors and the trust of my brethren


Goliath will be cinders upon the earth and your infections will be swallowed by the vaccines of justice So rise my brothers come alive my sisters and like the moon let's shed blood and fall like stars unto the earth and let Ya misplace every mountain and island Let them fear the wrath of Yahweh Come tribe of Judah mount on your white horse and conquer Come tribe of Rueben mount your horse and take peace from the earth Come tribe of Gad come I say and weigh the hunger pains of your people and see them fed Come tribe of Asher become death causing famine and plague to the injustice Come tribe of Naphtali be the voice and cry unto the Lord for your people Come tribe of Manasseh be the great earthquake Come tribe of Simeon rain like hail and fire mixed with blood and burn a third of the earth, trees and green grass Come tribe of Levi be the smoke stinging guilt with venom Come tribe of Issachar sound your trumpet Come tribe of Zebulun be the smoke that darkens the sun and sky Come tribe of Joseph be the angel that released four angels as they come in tens of thousands prepared for battle Come tribe of Benjamin and dwell in the presences of the Lord forever Let those who are chosen be The Great Multitude in White Robes


Reunify Our Neighborhoods By Antwonika Murphy Why are we so worried about Donald trump? What I'm worried about is the division my race. Another dead person shot down on Beale st, unnecessary blood splatter on the streets of my hometown. Another black brother dead at the hands of a person of his color. Despair on the black mother. One after another, a black body falls to the ground. We are losing our black kings to gun violence in our own neighborhoods. What about self empowerment and unity within our race not just when we are shot down by a white cop or an asshole like Donald trump is elected. Like why are we so worried about Donald Trump? What about the losts in our own neighborhoods? What about changing a bad bitch to queen and a real nigga to king? I mean i guess don't understand... Why do we compete in our own race, having things like team light skinned or team dark skinned? We all have beautiful melanen that they can't stand. Let's reunite our neighborhoods between young and old, dark and light. So why are we so worried about Donald trump when it's so much in our black communities that need to be done?


Behind The Scenes By Tevin Wilson I Sliped Into The Shadows, My Heart Was The Same Color As What I've Just Slipped Into. There Was Nothing To Prevent What I Was Going Through. I Slipped Into The Shadows, I Began To Hide And Tevin The Poet Was In Full Effect, Tevin Wilson Said Goodbye As He Took His Last Breath. Tevin The Poet's Ink Spilled Out And Turned Everything Tevin Wilson Worked For Black. He Had A Heart The Same Color As Wesley Snipes, But Tevin Wilson Never Been A New Jack. He Had To Step Back Though, He Realized Tevin The Poet Was Meant To Be Out In The Open. He Had Lyrical Insomnia. Translation? The Things He Said Is The Reason People Had Been Awoken. It Was Tevin The Poet, The One Who Talked So Slick, You Had To Quote Him. Tevin Wilson Tried To Prove That He Was Better, But They Both Knew Tevin The Poet's Mindset Was Way Too Clever. The Better Author? Tevin Wilson. No Debating He's The Better Writer Clearly...But The Better Talker? That's Tevin The Poet, I Feel Smooth Whenever He Stands Near Me. So I Slipped Into The Shadows And I Never Want To Come Out. Tevin Wilson Is Dead, It's TimeTo See What Tevin The Poet Was Really About. See...I Push My Pen, And The Effects Of What I Write Is Golden. You Can Sense Everything I Say, I Make Brail Look Soft Spoken. Sorry I Brought My Ego With Me, Im Just Glad It Could All Fit In Here. I Get Excited When I Rhyme These Words, I Put The Lit In Literature.


I Can Be Flirtatious Too...I Can Tell You That The Curve Of Your Lips Resembles The Wings Of An Angel In Flight. And If You Wanna Get Nasty I'm From St.Louis Sweetheart. Translation? I Can Show You What An Arch Look Like. I've Slipped Into The Shadows Though...Hiding From The Witnesses Of The World Before Me. I'm Behind The Scenes Now. Not Being Seen, But Still Controlling The Scenes Being Seen By The Crowd. Tevin Wilson Is Behind The Scenes.


Dear Stranger By Leona Dunn I know you didn’t mean to kill me It was 5 pm already dark outside maybe your aim was off I used to think that windows did more than keep the cold air out but now I know that they break just as easily as mommy’s heart did when I found her on the living room floor God said that 12 years old was the age of maturity Where you would be held accountable for knowing what is right and what is wrong I know that you were wrong You were looking to claim a life that night and didn’t get the one that you asked for But the bad guys were looking at you to so I can’t tell you if you made the right or wrong decision I know that I wasn’t your target even though you marked me I just wish I could’ve lived to be some ones greatest achievement instead of dying and being labeled your biggest mistake Now I will be mourned and you will be incarcerated That’s if they catch you, that’s if they find you, that’s if they even look At least if a cop shot me I would’ve got a little national attention But when your skin and blood run the same color, you just end up another diary entry put into the community journal Another sob story Another mother’s memory Another face Forgotten.


THE SHE Rollercoaster By Jonathan Vincent Damn girl you got more twist than a Nazi swastika What you doing girl All I wanted to do was rock withcha I Waited and waited For the day I can say I made it Lay up with you Call you my boo Walk around confident And not look feel a fool I treated you like my queen Not just any queen In return you became something so fierce Something worse than a fiend something mean Something green and coldhearted and the opposite of a dream A nightmare is what you have become That's how I've come to the conclusion That You ain't the one Your attitude and actions became The real you Someone I never knew And someone I'd never choose I gave you the title queen Way before you deserved it You call yourself the petty queen And the baddest bitch who owns it Owns what the arrogance that you mistake for confidence I think it's time we out an end to this Damn girl you got more twist


than a Nazi swastika What you doing girl All I wanted to do was rock withcha You've had me Locked up In this world so crazy It was a mind game That I played hard and you played lazy I hate to say it But listen girl to not take me makes you really crazy Because I made you shine like the sun and smell like a daisy Damn girl you got more twist than a Nazi swastika What you doing girl All I wanted to do was rock withcha It's come to this point Where I decided you're too much You're not who I thought you were Ask me how I came to such My feelings towards you have actually become your crutch I look at you now And to me you're not worth half as much of what I used to value you at So that why I have chosen not to allow you To twist me up And watch me squirm Because guess what now I've learned And the greatest thing now is the tides have turned.


Nostalgia By Hannah McClendon My brain has reached maximum capacity and my heart follows close behind Night rain only brings tears from memories I tried to behind The pain I get every time I see your arm around a different girl Every time I see your arm; it’s around a different girl You’re living in a different world I heard you have a different girl as often as the months change Although my feelings never have I curse your name during the day, but I praise you in my dreams They come alive and seem realer than my reality There’s no formality And I’m so unprofessional because I hate how much you don’t need me anymore You needed me then and now I’m gone like the wind And I know you don’t ever think about me as often I as I think about you during the day I’ve been in my feelings lately I suppress the stress and upset emotions that flood my mind daily Just to fall asleep and have my mind rage with passion It’s full of irrational beliefs And we keep making the same mistakes we could’ve made if we would’ve made it I cannot contain myself I totally despise myself for still loving, watching, praying and believing in you Even though you never believed in me My heart sees further than my eyes can see My psychiatrist told me from the start My heart speaks louder than my mind ever could


And I’m afraid if we were ever alone we’d make those same mistakes The same ones I wanted to make over a year ago with you I can’t let these feelings of nostalgia go I’m afraid of what it’s like to not love you anymore

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I Want to Write Poetry Anthology  

This anthology represents a snapshot of I Want to Write activities at Tennessee State University in the 2016-2017 academic year. To learn mo...

I Want to Write Poetry Anthology  

This anthology represents a snapshot of I Want to Write activities at Tennessee State University in the 2016-2017 academic year. To learn mo...