Sarah Myles Spencer

Says the Blood to the Slave Trader


I saw you there once,

head, cloud thick,

smoking your ruins.


There is a room and a loneliness

inside it. A black         hole

itch I cannot reach.


A piece




All the mestizo in one room;

an island, chamber

of a gun. Who did we see

if not for ourselves?







Small death in a new  tongue.

A song for each haunted

daughter and son.


First       born.

First       to see.

First       stolen.


I am the one

you forgot, Spaniard.

The low howl. Night

skin. Big mouth grin.


A blood witch

unknown to her

own power. Still

will never crawl.


No         rope.

No         chain.

No         whip.


I have already died

as many deaths

as the body can. I am

a room full, ocean


floor of limbs, slow

translation. There is

nothing common


in this blood. Rumor

is it lingers. Can spit

itself back into body.


Back into what survives.


Did you know I could






I built this room.

Everything in it


is mine.

Sarah Myles Spencer is a mama, poet, singer/songwriter who’s worked with a variety of artists, including Snoop Dog, E-40, and (the late) Davy Jones. A multi-time Best of the Net Nominee and Pink Door Fellow, her work appears in Drunk in a Midnight Choir, A La Palabra: The Word is a Woman Anthology – Mothers & Daughters, Words Dance Magazine, Requiem Magazine, and more. For more info, visit

Nelly Bess

Black Joy


How uncomfortable are you

That there is nothing to police here


How violent we are to love each other to death

Our laughs a group of hostages killed by compliments

That held us up


Before you made the sidewalk have to


Ain’t it criminal for us to steal this moment

Robbery how we pickpocketed each other’s pain


The corners of a smile

Become two hands in a stick up

Forced to show everything it got


Teeth the only white thing in the room

Jersey raised poet Nelly Bess believes all people are living libraries from which we can learn from. Her mission as an artist is to take words from the page and transform them into lyrical protest. As an organizer Nelly believes in the power of art to educate and build stronger communities. In pursuit of this mission, Nelly has created and facilitated a series of programs for young people as well as adults that use poetry and music to help them find their voices as change agents in their communities.

Goddess X

All My Daydreams Keep Coming Out Bitter and You Know Justice is My New (Black/Love Song)


i wish the imperial wizard wasn’t found

for two weeks

i wish his body bloated

tangled in the reeds

with the small fish

and the crustaceans


away at the good meat

i wish the local news showed the carrion

on the bank

like katrina

i wish he didn’t get national coverage

a face

or a name

i wish his family never found out

what happened to him i wish the pigs

didn’t investigate i wish they’d shrug

i wish they’d say that’s what happens

to crackers who can’t keep their mouths shut

in this town i wish cracker had a history

like nigga that way i could hurt them

some nights when i am evil

and hurting and afraid like they

made me i wish he had a black


i wish the bitter on my tongue could turn sweet

when i write it down i wish bloated white bodies

on riverbanks could make my ancestors smile

every now and again i wish a thousand white

bodies would float on the banks of stolen rivers

i wish that did not make me so evil

tonight i know

it makes me an evil person i wish /

i had a tongue

or a body

that wasn’t so bitter

and my black looks so

different now beautiful now

don’t all the love songs sound like


Goddess Gets Mad, Gives God a Death Sentence and Henrietta Still isn’t Free


when does a black body die?

when does its consciousness end?

do cells carry their own


and violence?

my cells carry violence.

does this mean Henrietta Lacks still lives?

does She feel the violence

of 96 years in Her trillions

of pieces left alive?

is She holy spirit?

if we call Her name

will we feel Her

on our tongues

in our blood?

is there a god?

if Henrietta feels all of this

why does he prolong Her suffering?

is he without mercy?

did he forget

about the tortured body

scattered before the world’s eyes?

in the world’s breath?

through the world’s blood?

are there world records in heaven?

is god trying to see

how long She can go

before She breaks?

does god ignore

black pain?

does he mourn it?

does he live

off of it

like offering?

like lamb’s blood?

does he laugh?

does god make a black

body minstrel show in paradise?

is Her resilience an untrained acrobat

on tightrope

with no net below?

how long can a slow

death stay

before it turns to dust?

were black women always

just supposed to turn to dust?

or die slow?

will Henrietta ever know rest?


i know their god

like the black of my blood.

he is made

in their image.

i am armed with

sock and d-battery.

i will swing

and swing

and swing until

he falls. he

will fall.

and Henrietta Lacks

still won’t be free.

Goddess X is a sad sick​ queer black witch, storyteller, diasporic transfemme, Pink Door Alumna, survivor, sister, student, repping the African diaspora. She has just published her debut book of poetry, Blk Grl Sick, which can be purchased at . Her work centers on blackness, queerness, trans womanhood, sadness, and joy. You can follow her on twitter @GoddessX23

Alayzah Wilson

Things I Must Teach

my son.  in the world in which I bring

my son there are things I must show him at dinner I’ll pass him survival

tips like mom please  pass me        the salt

giving him strategy

as if I was sending him off

to war. I will be

sending him off to a world

at war. A world that didn’t deem him

worthy. And though I would treat him

as a king .The world would deem him

as peasant .Lower than them .Unworthy

of justice He’ll find that gun barrels are always shorter

than alley ways .And gun barrels always lead

to shorter endings than alley ways. In the world

in which I bring


my son into there are things

I must teach him. Keep your head

down. Keep your voice low. Don’t

draw too much attention to yourself

I don’t want to see your outline drawn

on a sidewalk. Please be respectful. Avoid

any confusion with the police . Always

be respectful to the police, Pull your pants up. Keep


your hands out of your pockets. It is better

to be silent than to be silenced. Oh please dear

son of mine understand that I didn’t want you to come

into a world of war your skin it seems is fighting

a losing war. I don’t want to see you shot

down . I just want to lift you up. But they’ll shoot

you even with your hands raised

people can never tell me it’s not

about race . The race between running feet and a bullet

with my future son’s name on it. I never want

to see a grave with his name carved on it .I won’t ever be ready

to bury a child .Not anyone’s. Not my own. I’ve know his name

since the third grade lately it seems his name will be mine to know


I’m 16 years old and I started writing poetry in the 8th grade, I know that isn’t that long but it seems like forever for me. I’ve found that poetry is the outlet I’ve always been searching for. It allows for creative expression and helps me to have unfiltered thoughts and just put them down and make them seem real.

Nicole White

_______Black Lesbian Navigates Internet Porn: A Sestina


black ebony big breas bo tits lesbian click

Ghetto Dykes really? POPUP Melissa (1.1 miles away)

just sent you a fuck request girlbye click scroll

Two Hot Scissor Sistas Grinding wonder who

came up with that title It’s All Pink Inside Scene

6 is this the porn version of #AllLivesMatter


Burning Hot Ebony Sluts sounds like a medical matter

ooo actual names Skin Diamond feels problematic but click

skip the chit chat wait was she reading a book this scene

cute yaaas you betta make that gas station romance novel look away

from the camera please ugh no she ain’t even eating it right who

moans like that I can’t with this weird yawn giggling scroll


pregnantpuss: you can see the chemistry between these two scroll

makeme_leak2: black bitches don’t do it for me no matter

how big their tits and asses POPUP Kaitlyn (300m away) who’s

going to suck your dick tonight I actually hadn’t thought about it Kaitlyn click

fat big onion booty Latina lesbian pov click scroll hover over hover away

mmmm reverse cowgirl I wonder if she talks dirty in Spanish in this scene


Gloria Anzaldúa is shaking her head down on me right now Scene

2 Sophia Castello click dayum gurl is he really wearing timb boots scroll

lngrthnurs: what’s the name of that song? aww community a home away

from phones bonerbabe: Nate Turnher = AIDS kush_squirt: doesn’t matter

I’d still take black cock yaaas to AIDS advocacy but… click

white people love saying cock open they mouth just like a rooster who


likes and shares porn videos 1,245,178 views I wonder if I know anyone who

has a porn profile this is taking forever I feel like I’ve seen

let’s try categories anal|bukkake|cartoon|feet|forwomen click

scroll Halle Berry Bares It All in Monster’s Ball ya’ll got jokes scroll

POPUP Busty milf is on live chat want to accept her invitation? aw consent matters

but I’ll pass click scroll Hot Asian Dominates While Her Wife is Away


click she bad yaaas to the bush wait what who is this dude why can’t I look away

I wish I knew what they were saying what type of what is he doing who

censors a dick in a porno wait no she actually looks scared shit what’s the matter

with the wifi reload fast forward I wonder if my roommate can hear this scene

through my headphones omg no this is not what I scroll

Hot Asian Whore Dominated While His Wife is Away ugh click

I Know His Understanding of Cis-Male Privilege Shouldn’t Make My Nipples Hard


but I’ve got two neon gumdrops


he recites bell hooks &

the frosting between my legs

a finger licking spread


when I won’t let my hands applaud

his intersectional feminism

my labia becomes a tambourine


he curses slut shaming &

my thighs can’t choke the rattle

my eyes beg him to pull & smack


he asks & I struggle to make

my consent sound like an artifact

I know he doesn’t deserve this


poem all he did was write his name

on somebody else’s homework

he is standing on the shoulders


of trash bags tomorrow he will trip

on a hefty drawstring  

but tonight justice is a baton


of flesh & I cum in fists

find every pore to cup this

salivation rush to thrust & mold

melt before the clock strikes


hindsight & my vagina is fired for


charging human decency as foreplay


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.