This Skin

by Mona Mousa


i spent years denying the Nile as home

years trying to wash the Egyptian out of my skin

trying to straighten the Nubian out of my tangled ancestry

leaving my forced Sudanese lineage

spread out like ash on these too hot sands


my mothers eyes said to me

let your skin be a demonstration

of the political statement that is our bloodline

when people ask me where i am from

i will say my mother

she is the first place i called home


i imagine she is what a wise woman once meant

when she said we have be raised to fear the yes in ourselves

Photo cred: Artist: Unknown. email to contribute info


my mother brought life into a world she couldn’t understand

let two go before me

told me when i was barely old enough to understand

to never let them silence me

she said to see veins in my hand when write

is proof that our stories reside in my blood


she would always say that a miracle

is catching a breath after gunpoint

blessed are those who catch it

that she only prays my brother to be that lucky


i asked my mom if she prays for me too

and she says honey,

every day i meet god between fears and tears and the only prayers he answers

and the prayers about you.


I don’t have the heart to tell her

that my skin tone is a narrative i just cant understand

when i was younger i asked my mom if egyptian meant black

and all she said was baby girl

you are 2 shades of a sunrise

still when people would ask me where i am from

i learned to avoid the questions

that my skin was still an unanswered narrative


one day my mom said to me

you will wear the weight of your skin like armor

she told me that she was trying to find place for me to stretch my bones

to lengthen my smile and spread my hair


she wanted to remind me thought he world will try to dictate my worth

based on the black space that is my skin

she told me to never forget that my skin is the space in time where the Egyptian sun sleeps

and the moons tried to tell you its story


she said darling the Egyptian flag is black for strength, white for light and red to show you to see veins in your hand when you write is proof that this stories resides in your blood

Mona Mousa is a spoken word poet and motivational speaker living in Toronto Ontario.

Having toured actively her whole poetry career, this year alone Mona has booked over 200 shows all over North America.. When she is at home Mona is heavily active in all facets of her community having been the special events director of Winnipeg pride, and is the founder and director of Central Poetry, an organization that exists to help poets with the branding and marketing of their poetry careers as well as bringing the highest quality performance poets to Winnipeg Manitoba. Currently Mona is curating a festival for poets of colour called Meli-Nation, set to come to life in August of 2017.


Alex – the Wonder/Gem of Ghana’s Art Scene


It’s too easy. Watch how Alex Wondergem lives up to his name by producing short films and music (below) that takes the veil off of Ghana’s rich culture and allows the rest of us to witness the beauty, grit, and promise that lives within the country.

–> Listen to Messages of Hope NOW <–

Messages of Hope (EP) is about finding truth, my reality. I found it through art. Each creation speaks and reveals a message that leads to the next chapter. In a way it’s a diary of my journey for the past four years. It’s a record of my mental, emotional and spiritual growth. Life is more than what we’ve been taught and this is my journey.

Love to the Most High!


A film by Alex Wondergem  & Adu Lalouschek

Warrior’s Gym is a 5-minute documentary that explores the daily life of Ghana’s strongest man and gym owner – Warrior. Warrior created the gym out of recycled local material and motivates the group of loyal bodybuilder’s that use it. We get a personal snapshot of an inspired man.

Interview W/Alex:

Q: What do you want the world to Know about Ghana’s Strongest Man / the gym / or simply Ghana, that wasn’t captured in the above film?

A: The documentary happened because my film pattern, Adu, and I were working out [at the gym] while we were shooting our documentary Scrap Metal Men (bellow). After building a relationship with Warrior, we decided to put a short documentary together. We just liked his vibe and what he had going on.

Q: Tell us how your EP Messages Of Hope 2012-16 came to be, from first inspirations to final touches.

A: Messages Of Hope 2012-16 was inspired by the people who enjoyed my music. It was something I did for fun and just to experiment. I would make music and overlay a narration of a video I had just watched. Gradually, over the years, I had a couple short music pieces that had a message. Reflecting over the tracks, they were messages of my then current state of consciousness. I decided to put them together and make a project out of it.

Q: What’s the next step for you and your artistry? Can we expect more inspirational content?

A: I’m not sure what the next step is but I’m always experimenting and creating within the realms of film and audio. I really enjoy collaborating with other individuals. The fusion outcome of the work is what keeps me going. I’m always excited to see how it turns out.

Q: WusGood is dedicated to exploring what it is like to be black in the world. How do you see your identity and how is it being you in the world?

A: I grew up the notion that I was “mix-raced”. I was raised by a Dutch father and Ga mother. I’m a blend of both. People have a hard time identifying with that. I usually tell people I’m Ghanaian then explain my Dutch side. Being me in the world is pretty chill, always meeting beautiful people and creating memorable moments.

Q: Hip us to some artist (visual, audio, other) that we should be listening to and watching out for.

A: Kwa Mena, go check him out, he’s only getting started. We need more youth in the music scene like him. We need some woke shit asap:

Listen to Ghana School


Follow alex: TWITTER: @AlexWondergem

Julian Randall

In A Rare Moment of Nostalgia My Father Reflects on Obama’s Inauguration

I don’t want to start with the bullet or how you wanted to be president because he was or how in my dreams I can watch the wind surge clean from one side of your skull to the other or how I never wanted you to be president or how hope is its own kind of plague or trepanning or how round rooms make your mother dizzy or how often you forget she has her own knuckles or how trepanning means carving a door in the skull or entrances or broken windows or blood or how much white men hope a well-placed wound can solve or how nobody brings you to god or how only your mother goes to church or how she gripped her knuckles to marble praying or how when he got out of the car your mother clutched my shoulder into a string of bruises or how you have her face or how the skull is a round room or how he got out the car or hope or how I hid the bruises because each of them wore your face                I am saying you looked just like your mother when you were sixteen       you wanted to be president       in my dreams     you are already outside the car     when hope opens the wound     fills the whole round room with blood

Self Portrait as Curtis Jackson C. 2003

Where I am from if that much light enters you they just call you a saint
I stay hungry and laced with desire      collecting teeth by song or bat
White doorag keep me godly      bargain bin halo stay reppin my holy
till the death of me haha but I don’t die I hold death and flex everything
till the bullet waltz up in my bicep      I want revenge so I become it haha
Y’all niggas think      Imma fuck around and succumb      I whip yo head
Break yo face open and let platinum molars jewel my knuckles haha
Trust if some shit pop off       I know my options I stay rocking the vest
Righteous with my nine and spit flaming swords never make a mistake
and think I have ever worn surrender willingly      I put a heaven in a nigga for fuckin wit me       I sent a lot of niggas home and keep my waves fresh sippin on they momma        tears nowitsclearimhereforarealreason because I was born in a broken window andhegothitlikeigothitbutheaintfuckin God.

All The Proof I Need That Prince Isn’t Really Dead

Let’s suppose
the crow is only a crow by virtue of
presumption       the impossible task
estimating the light inside the presumed
dark beyond our eyes’ capacity     a legion
of fires    enough light to name a dove
by extension the chalice of embers
is never empty        even when we are
dead we are never dead only far
Prince is not dead only somewhere
that never knew it needed rain
some city too dim to be a proper heaven
sideeyeing Saturn’s thin crown of dust
and less deserving myths      I wish him
a gown that stretches for decades
for the sun to shed its weary gold
and dress the whole world violet
before the end of it all leaves only
the illumination      the uncountable doves

Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. A Pushcart Prize nominee he has received fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT and the Watering Hole and was the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. Julian is the curator of Winter Tangerine Review’s Lineage of Mirrors and a poetry editor for Freezeray Magazine. He is also a cofounder of the Afrolatinx poetry collective Piel Cafe. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Nepantla, Rattle Poets Respond, Ninth Letter, Vinyl, Puerto del Sol and African Voices among others. He is a candidate for his MFA in Poetry at Ole Miss.

Alexandria Victoria Long

The  Hotep Vs Zora’s Ghost


He said – Jesus was black. –

I said – Jesus was not black but what?

He held his enormous brown dick & said my parents are white.

says that – I worship the sun & the alabaster slut of Babylon.

He says that – I sleep on the ground because that is where I was conceived.

He looks to sky and tickles his ass with a dream catcher, He massages his balls & says – music heals everyone but me.

He stands in the sun like a bronze statue reflecting like a golden bastard. He says – No. I don’t know who I am- but am certain- I am nothing.


He says – No. I just masturbate in the flesh of empaths and resent

my ring finger.

He says – your skin is dark but your words are white.

           I say – you have the soul of a mystic

rapist. You are a sperm shooting emotional colonist.

He says – Yes, I am Godless. I am pain, I smell like the first shit I ever took.

I say – I tried to change                                                                                                  

your diaper and keep you


in my prayers.

I say –You are gaunt like a dalit waif and a whisper of a man.

He says – It’s because I only eats                                                                                    

honey buns, and fear attachment.

I say – seek redemption in the womb

of a witch. He says – I’m an ancient bird, an asteroid, and unwilling                         to create.

I say – I’m the ghost of Nefertiti and I’ll vomit                                                                                                a curse on you.

Alexandria Victoria Long is several things, some of which are Dyslexic, Afro-Panamanian, peripatetic, and a Jazz head. She is currently studying English at glacial speed in the new England area. her poems have appeared in  Brown Molasses Sunday – An anthology of Black women writers and Stories Without Roofs/Writing Home a production of Ministry of Theater.


Terrance Brown

5 Micropoems From & To America


Grievances are to be,
mass-produced, shelved. Later triggered & detonated.


Out here, the blood clots
canon only, decree amputees illegal.


Fatten with decadence
until plate chips
bottom-feeders’ calloused


Grassroots, the earth creaks
at foundation when the
Temple quakes.


Christ conscious,
awoke tendons threatened
by atrophy, Spirit moves


My Tongue Was

1.jagged edged scalpel, flesh

2. option to tonic, confused medicine man.

3. adolescent angst, all teenage turmoil.

4. Christ-side spear and crucifix,

5. made of cicadas and claymore mines. A loud earth.

6. callow, callous and aloe vera. Much curses and blessings,

7. claiming fleur-de-lis as brandished javelin. An angry pacifist.

James 3:5-6

My tongue is

1. Needle on 45 rpm, screaming,
“It wouldn’t be nothing
without a woman or a girl!”

2. attuned to the lilt
in Lailah Ali’s jab. How heritage can buck a trend.

3.  – to the hilt, hemmed at handle. A holster hitched at the hymnal.

4.    Limb to black sheep,
found foals in a heap

5.pooled at the celestial disk,
host trumpeting constellation
to the lamb.

6.     Relic to rejuvenation,
relegated to resurrection;
akin to resuscitation.

7.     Bunsen burner
in soundproof shelter;
domicile abundant in dilation.

What it means
to be a silent flame
in an elastic expanse.

A catalyst afar
from combustion

Terrance Brown

23 by way of St. Louis Missouri,
previously published in Bellerive’s Sonder & the site Brooklyn Buttah.

A pacifist deciphering the mathematics of a war time society.
Bred from scribbles on the tabletops in your local schoolery.

LaToya Favor

Natural Remedies


He told me

“I’ll stop if it don’t feel good”

& I laid there

Accepting my defeat


& later practiced

Cutting myself open

Without making me bleed.

My name is LaToya Favor & I am just getting started. I’ve held a love for poetry & writing for as long as I can remember but never embraced it as me until recent years. I remember taking home Maya Angelou books from the school library & becoming envious of her transparency & ability to live beyond her circumstances, even now.

When I returned to those books in more mature years, I acknowledged the need within me for that level of transparency & life. The discomfort that silence invigorated was enough to want to make a change that would eventually bring me into fruition.

Writing became a way for me to organize my thoughts in their purest form & then read to understand them/me.

 I do not try to be poetic when writing poetry & I do not insert punchlines in hopes for applause. I just write in hopes of understanding my own thoughts.

I have found that poetry is not just something that I “do” but it’s who I am. I’m required to be mindful of my surroundings & myself. Then, as an example, when I feel a level of growth in myself, I can easily compare the feeling to the calmness that I feel when I hear tires splashing down the road, knowing that the Earth is preparing itself to be fruitful.

All storms eventually pass away, but I always want to remember who I was when the thunder roared. So I write.

Candace Habte

Blacks & Blues

(or how lies become true)

You tell me
keep singing the blues

You tell me
what notes to use

You say
no one sings it like me

Then you say
I’m singing off key

Candace Habte is a most-of-the-time-writer and sometimes-artist from Maryland. Her writing has been featured in The Liberator and Blackberry magazines. She is the editor of Theories of HER, an experimental anthology which features and celebrates women from all walks of life.

Louisa Fara Moan

Friends Can Break Your Heart too – A dedication to those that forgot I loved them

You mumbled in response…
“what does strength have to do with kindness?”
I would explain….
But it’s not a serious question…
I think it’s an excuse…
A attempt to force me to acquaint compliments of your reserve with the acceptance of your cowardice.
I ain’t biting…but I can taste it…the sour spiciness that cuts
the sweetness of you…while you desire candy coated praise…..
You elude to deserving warmth when you won’t even thaw your doubt…
you only see the risks and
none of the guarantee of loyalty that exist in the choice to be in yours.
Here we both are…
You – Blind to your own earning potential while I’m blinded with it’s prominence
I have dreams for us…you have reasons…
We have history…and it’s the only reason you conveniently forgot.
I chase the sting of your stagnation with the elixir of
my own ability to be brave for both of us…and you have the nerve to be more frightened…
Mumbling in response
“what does strength have to do with kindness?”
Blaming others of closed stories for your open distrust…
You want them to do something for you still…and now…
And I can’t get it…
You want apologies from those that never assumed responsibility…
they won’t pay your tolls…
they won’t give up their pride as reparations…
they wont fix the soul they fault your for breaking…
They won’t care now, because they never did…
But I am the one who is sorry…and that offends you.
Until I ask why and the silence eats up the anger…
Disguises of cool are crawled into like blankets on December night…
You are suddenly to weary  and by association…honesty becomes a chore.
I had no idea how good you were at excusing the neglect of your
 truth…lying to yourself to avoid the work of healing and growing.
Yet…here I am still being your sun with the smiles I bring to your face…
still being your water with my tears of my exertion of pulling you up…
still feeding your ego with my pleas to prove that you are a good person…
who deserves good people to do good for you…
 I am sustaining you with flesh of every magic I know and you ask me…what does strength have to do with kindness?
I guess nothing…when the correlation can be so easily broken by the committed fear of commitment…and friendships are commitments, too.
The ones we kiss goodnight are not the only ones who can break our hearts.

Louisa is dedicated to her children, the power of feminine energy, connecting with others and her poetry. She began writing as young teen as a way to express herself quietly…eventually, she found her voice to share those expressions through her alter ego – Fara Moan. She is a quiet force that supports the art community just as much behind the curtain as she does on the mic.  Some poets wordsmith while Fara Moan is a wordweaver…invoking the emotion behind the phrases while delivering in intricate beauty.

Naasir Smith

In 2016


You give me 90s —-in 2016 :Long phone

calls and pen pals—-Taxi cabs No

Uber—— Face to face no—

Facetime—Disposable cameras—less disposable

People— No Snap—–




Little Blushes when I see

your body. Long walks home brings me


hearing that voice on the telephone makes me melt

Mixing our Lauryn Hill with Andra Day

And Nas with J. Cole

Me’Shell NdegeOcello with some Chance

The Rapper freestyle



—-Binge Love

Jones and then go —–to the musical

orgasms that makes us feel



When reality TV is just us with a big ass

video camera. Sharing moments that we’ll watch

on the video cassette recorder


I’m the Beauty and you’re my Beast

I’m the Lion and you’re my King


Dashiki. Black Fist. Necklace Wearing Man

of my dreams —-brown skin glowing

melanin boom-boxes blasting

Tupac and Biggie—Electric

Sliding —-Tootsie

Rolling is what my heart does


don’t stop


get it


get it

My name is Naasir Smith that’s what I like to go by. I went to Lincoln University. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. I’m 27 years old. I started writing when I was 16 song lyrics and poems. But I began to take my poetry more seriously in 2015. I’ve performed at several open mics in Philly as well as poetry slams. I’ve started to write a poetry book entitled “In Your Eyes”, I was inspired by poet Clint Smith’s book “Counting Descent”. One of my favorite poets is Shihan when I first heard him I was 16 and I was introduced to a whole different side of poetry. I’m a black, gay, Muslim man and I always incorporate what I believe into my poetry. My Facebook name is Naasir Steve Smith. I’ve always been introverted and quiet but poetry has really helped me to spread my wings and venture out. I love being creative whether it’s in my poetry or dancing because I love to dance as well. My name Naasir means helper so I think with my poetry I’m helping a lot of people see clarity, making them smile, or whatever mood they’re in. I’m a very optimistic person and always willing to spread love!!

Angelique Palmer

The Passengers Unwilling

At a poetry festival the woman

reads ten minutes of documentary poetry to an audience of writers.

Or a bus, the 3am Greyhound from Detroit to Baltimore.

Or a church in the middle of Valdosta where the fans in the pews come from the funeral home.

But we aren’t.

Neither bus schedule, nor quiet churched.


The sin then, is the milkmaid in her skin,

the waif in her stance; the machine gun made a mouth

not short on ammunition.


And when she asks us not to clap between poems,

we know who is driving.

Or she is showing how well she teaches.

Or separating who should be smart enough to get it,

and who should be bullseye.


The sin then, is not in the creation of the genre, maybe.

It is art in a clumsy hand, possibly.

It is a thin thread of academia posing too well as privilege, probably.

Or service with a soulless homily

Or driving with an antique map, this big bus full of us and

we are all missing the turn

When is the turn? Did I miss


the turn?


Or am I just not smart enough!

We, not equipped to drive this black as night bus from one true place to another?

Are we sensing where the sin comes in?


I shut you off, writer woman; collector and carnival barker of exploitation

I shut you off. Like I’ve practiced,

too used to white people with audience

being awkward with words and calling it art.

Or how the weaponry, stay plenty wounding asking the hurt

to plug up, or at least bleed conveniently.


Or maybe this story isn’t your bus to drive

You’re all speed, straightaway, promising a turn;

a lazy ten & two, a steer too big to wheel in and time’s

running out. When my friend said, the writer meant something else,

I tell her kind heart: “this is how I learned to walk, why I choose to drive myself.”

April16, 2016 – 4:30pm



I have been trying to tell you of my rotten teeth,

or how I used to drink a lot, but not anymore.

How that doesn’t mean damage undone.

I have been trying to tell you of my rotten teeth.

How recovering girls look like oyster shells, no meat or pit

an iridescence in their ascent, but jagged still.


I have been trying to tell you of my rotten teeth.

Before we kiss, I want you to know

I see the wither in my right front tooth

I know the candy hearts behind the zombied enamel.

The gutting and cracked ones,

the crooked and worn ones.

I know how a dying nerve and un-swallowed blood

turns my exhale into July on the leaf of a skunkflower.

I don’t want you to kiss me without knowing I know,

or knowing I don’t think I deserve

to be kissed.

When I was drunk,

and hurting, I neglected myself expertly.

Now it shows in my smile, in

my silence, in how I keep

my affection

to myself.

If you choose to kiss me,

I might linger a little long.

Recovered lovers don’t get kissed too often.

I swallow my blood, cover my smile.

I punish my wither with an unfair amount of want.

I’m rotting away, pretty sure this is what I deserve.

If you choose not to kiss me

I’m pretty sure, I deserve this too.


My Bestfriend 


she has done me a service


how to make me understand


my feelings, sometimes


more important than I am


going through

and my heart is always broken, right?

Is going through

and I want for her wealth

I cast

but my spells are not about her

not anymore


harder to talk to

when I hide things from her.


my hiding place,

just not as much right now.

Angelique Palmer was a finalist at the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam, representing the city of Washington, DC. A staple in DC’s poetry scene, she self-published 8 chapbooks and toured 15 major cities in support of them. Her poems have been fearured on Button Poetry and Poets & Writers Magazine Youtube channels. Her publications include Borderline Magazine, and the Mud Season Review. Her first full volume of poetry THE CHAMBERMAID’S STYLE GUIDE is available from Sargent Press.