Featured Poem of the Week

Zuva

Zuva is one of our newest contributors to A Cornered Gurl and she comes to the publication with strength, power, brutal honesty, and “black excellence” in her bones. I love reading this young one and she decided to answer the “Young Minds of Medium Inspiration Call” with the following piece entitled: The Making of a Government Manifesto–Erasure Piece. At nearly twenty-three years old, Zuva is already making waves with her work and if you are in her way, you will be moved. And now, for her poem as our featured work for the week:


Photo by Rosemary Ketchum from Pexels

The Making of a Government Manifesto–Erasure Piece.

Immigrants are “stealing your jobs” but really it’s machines

A homeless man asks me for change, the world is contactless now

Education is free when it protects and promotes government agenda

Does the voice of oppressors get silenced or do they learn how to whisper and

pass secret notes?

men are taught to hate feminists when we want to help them too. Nothing changes

Obesity is a money-making industry,

that’s why salads ain’t cheap

They’re crippling our NHS to privatisation

This is how it’s meant to be

Trump is to cause divide

And illustrate your rights still don’t matter

People are gunned down for being people

Children are shot then and called victims


*It is very easy to look at the world and just see the negative. But when you look again you can find and create hope.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

What Happens When We Don’t Say Goodbye?

A Tribute Audio Poem

This is how I will remember you:

silly, silly boy
chasing tail
laughing mouth, eyes full 
of summer.

the girl you caught,
you gave your child — 
left your name
and nothing else.

how can death take you so soon?
the mystery. the madness.
the way you are now a 
Facebook memory
for those still scrolling through
lost days they will never get back.

This is how I will remember you:

giddy, quick hands
storming legs, breaking through
a crowd, lips coated in
bubblegum cigarette powder,
begging for a kiss.

you never uttered a mean 
word to me, only those of love
and I brushed you off because
we were kids and running
around a field or in a hot
gym or lifting weights occupied 
my time.

you persisted and I said “Yes!”
the messages flood my phone,
and I want to stop the
influx of sad faces and weeping words — 
I want your death to disappear,
but the Reaper works overtime.

This is how I will remember you:

dancing down the aisle on
graduation day,
Sunday shoes shined, my face
on your wingtips,
a blue gown draped over your
broad shoulders.

pearl teeth poking through
your lips, your hands flailing
in the humid air.
us. them. we . . . 
children, no longer children
headed into a world 
that promised to 
swallow us whole.

you are not dead,
not today. 
I remember you alive.


Originally published via Medium.

“But, You Speak So Well.”

Black Women Are Intelligent, You Know.

Nkululeko Mabena|Unsplash

My speech precedes me. I was raised in a home where reading was mandatory. I had to read. I had to learn. I was programmed to not only listen in grade school but pay attention and gain as much knowledge as I could. On top of all of the knowledge gained, I had to study longer, work harder, practice more, and not only be good, but greathad to be more than my peers and I had to do so because I was a girl, I was black, and we lived on the East side of Savannah, Georgia (predominantly black area). I spent time watching orators give long-winded speeches about education, the arts, culture, the need for funding in Downtown Savannah, etc. I had teenagers for parents who struggled to raise me and did not seek higher education but drilled it deep in my bones that I would, in fact, obtain a college degree.

Thus began my grooming for a world that would look upon a young, black girl and not only respect her but allow her to play on its field. Or, this is what was supposed to happen according to my elders. I entered spelling contests and won. I wrote essays, poems, and short stories and was encouraged to test the waters, no matter how deep. I spent the bulk of my summers in Bronx, New York with my mother’s biological mom and her baby sister. Oddly enough, I have this unique blend of accents — not quite Northern, but not all the way Southern, either — a mixture. I have often been told, “You are too proper,”You talk White (seriously, what does this mean?)”, and my favorite, “You speak so well, you enunciate everything.” Oh, really now? Am I not supposed to?

Black women are intelligent too, you know. We read. We study abroad. We not only enroll and are accepted into Ivy League universities, but we graduate as well. We are innovative. We are unique. We can take nothing, turn it into something and allow it to multiply because we have had tons of practice in being resourceful. The fact that I am clear in delivering messages to you when I speak does not make me special or you superior. It simply places me in a category you may not be familiar with and that is reason enough to ask yourself why. How many black women do you know? Do you venture out to be friendly with them? Do you listen, truly listen to what is being said by them when holding a conversation?

We have the words of our ancestors pouring out of us, why would you even think we would not be heard? What makes you think that what we say would not be clear, concise, direct, and appropriate? I do not want to be anyone’s common statistic. How you form your thoughts surrounding who I am and how I operate in life is between you and your current mindset. It does not have anything to do with me. I love to watch the look on the face of others when I open my mouth to speak, especially if there is an important topic to discuss at hand. I am tactful, I am steady in my thinking, and not only am I direct — I know my facts when I have to.

When I speak — I am showing you an entire race and the many cultures that make up who we are. When you hear me, you hear a woman — a black woman giving you her thoughts. If ever we have a debate, slight misunderstanding, or an argument, know that what I will say, you will not forget. “But, you speak so well.”

I do.

And I do many more things “so well” too.


Originally published in Atomic Babes via Medium.

Black Is Bold

Black Is Bold

Living As A Bisexual Black Woman In The South

 

Jessica Felicio|Unsplash

had a friend, a long time ago, who read something of mine posted on another writing platform and ripped it to shreds. Another friend who saw the comment from that friend of ours sent me a text message that said, You are not writing for the minds of those who cannot understand, Tre. You are writing for the cosmos, girl. Since then, I have taken the last bit of her comment and applied it to my life. I am living for the cosmos.

What am I? Who am I? How do I fit into this world that oftentimes does not see me? Black can be offensive to those who are not used to being bold.

Let me break that down…

The very force in which we make ourselves known is too much for some to handle. When we get together and voice our opinions on things that matter, subjects that are for our personal gain (and rightfully so), the passion in which we express ourselves to some is too intense. We are intense. We are extreme. We have every right to stand tall, proud, and be forthcoming about who we are and what we give to a world that still benefits from seeing us ostracized.

Someone asked me recently who I am — how would I describe myself using only three words? I said, “Black, woman, and bisexual.” She then looked at me as if I had two heads, one viciously snapping at the other. I asked, “Should I expound?” And of course, I needed to. In the American South, I have three strikes against me before I open my mouth. I am Black. I am a woman. I am bisexual. To be just one of these three descriptions in 2019 is a struggle, but to be all three? That is a welcome mat for homicide.

Some say, we are living in a forward-thinking age, but we are nowhere near a time that will lend us peace wherever we may roam. I am being reminded daily that I am beautiful. That I am designed just right. That every layer of skin and its tone is what I was meant to carry. This is my cross to bear — I have to search for these reminders. I have to dig. I have to create the space I need for comfort, it is not readily prepared or given to me. I have to take it.

I Am Black’s Beauty…

i am always burning and no one knows my name
i am a nameless fury, i am a blues scratched from
the throat of ms. nina—i am always angry.” — Mahogany L. Browne


dated a guy while in my twenties who said to me, “There’s nothing left for a man to give you, Tre.” I thought it to be the oddest, most ignorant thing for someone to say. The comment led to our first major argument. Do I not need love? Do I not need comfort? Am I not worthy of someone who can step in and just be what I need him or her to be when I need it? He tried to explain to me that his comment was solely to point out that I was independent, in constant survival-mode, stable, and did not need “help” from him. This was before my coming out days, but he knew of my sexuality — he knew who I truly was.

To say that we were “young and dumb,” would probably be apt, but we both knew what and who we wanted and it was not each other. He needed a woman who needed him and often showed it, made him “feel like a man.” I wanted a man who acknowledged my independence, stood by it, and still loved me without measuring what I could and could not do. It was best that we parted ways. That experience taught me that all that I am will not be accepted by everyone. All that I am will not be applauded by everyone.

Black is sweet. Black is love. Black is light. Black is struggling to make ends not only meet but stick together forever. Black is golden. Black is the blues and soul-saving poetry. Black is picking up the pieces, putting them in their rightful place, and moving on.

I am Black. I am a woman. I am bisexual. And in the American South, I am still trying to push my voice out to a world that does not hear me, sometimes does not want to see me, and worst of all, will not understand me. “You listen to me and you listen to me well, the next time someone asks you if you are bisexual, you better damn well tell them who you are.” ©My Mom.

Black is the high road, the road less traveled, the road to all of your yellow brick roads. Black is new. Black is old. Black is learning to step aside and honor the ancestors’ calling upon us. Black is sincerity. Black is bold.

Every single day, I am paving a way for myself where in the past, I felt as though I could not. And in the South, I still feel that I cannot. I may not be what someone wants or expects of me. I may not have what someone needs or expects from me. I may be the very last thing you think about and can only provide a tiny space for in the corner of your weeping mind. But I know this —

I am bold.


This is a more in-depth breakdown of the following piece:

Bold
8 Wordsmedium.com
Originally published via Atomic Babes on Medium.

Family: Reuniting, Feeling the Love

My baby brother Maurice, Me, and our Mom|Savannah, Georgia

My brother Joshua, Me, and my brother Michael|Savannah, Georgia

the beauty of love everlasting–
the kind that sneaks up on
you when you’ve forgotten it ever
existed…

you remember it when you
are next to a beating heart that
pumps the same blood
as your meaty veins
and you cling to it…

it is a love that only a tortured soul
can dream up in the middle
of a breakdown and lean into it,
drenched in its essence–
buried under its weight.

you cannot help
but feel this kind of
love.
you cannot help
but share this
kind of love.