by Kaylyn Weddle


My sun kissed Love

a smooth golden brown

whose radiant beams bring life and laughter


My Love, washed by the waves

Cleansed of the world’s contaminants,

revitalized youth with its invigorating waters


My Love, softened by the sand

Leaves behind the sweetest heart,

the wisest mind, and the dearest soul


by Sean Reid


Another one

Another one down, another one gone.

People tapping away, expressing what’s wrong.

Hashtag this and hashtag that.

A man was shot today, and guess what?! He was black.

“How long must we suffer?”

“Until we lose a father, a sister, or brother?”

“We must stomp our feet and protest!”

“Maybe then that narcissist will hear us from the Oval Office!”

“We’re going to…’hashtag#BlackLivesMatter’ ”

… And what exactly is the result after?

Another murderer set loose on the streets?

Which will then lead to one of us slaughtered in their backseat?”

“No, let’s post our thoughts and they’ll see how we’re really feeling!”

“That will certainly stop all this killing!”

“Nah that ain’t it.  We have a hero who’s kneeling!”

“That’s smart, peaceful, and appealing!”

Another one down, another one gone.

People still expressing what’s wrong.

In the middle of this catastrophe,

There’s been a cracked door to end this agony.

Yet and still, we’re not going to change our mentality.

A man once said, “If you want to hide something from a black man…put it in a book.”

Unfortunately this is true because that’s the one place we do not want to look.

If we choose the path of self improvement,

Then our peers will look at us in confusion.

Because we’re selecting the path that’s the best solution.

We left slavery, but slavery hasn’t left us.

Viewing someone as better will weigh heavy on our conscious.

Another one down, another one gone.

Nothing’s going to change if we keep singing the same old song.



by Naomi Duron


You carried the weight of the world on your shoulders

Your back is heavily scarred, and deeply wounded.

With your burdens you easily held my world.

And from your wounds grew precious impervious flora.

and over time your spine grew crooked, after carrying each burden.

Despite the trauma the world and your burdens gave you, you graciously carried my world anyway.


by Brianna Mason


Somewhere someone’s uncle is telling another terrible joke

And everyone is pretending it’s the first time they’ve heard it.

Grandma’s in the kitchen turning potatoes into everything

making sure everyone stays away from the kitchen.

All the adults are arguing over a game of monopoly.

The kids are running around in bathing suits without shoes.

There are at least eight dogs playing in the house

and someone forgot to bring the sunblock.

There’s Disney theme music playing in the background

And everyone’s smile is so big it could fit yesterday inside

And still have enough room for today and tomorrow.

There’s laughter so loud that the neighbors are angry

And wonder why they weren’t invited to the party.

Today there is no crying. No bloodshed in the streets.

No news headlines, bills, or road rage in traffic

Today there are no broken doors or counter pieces

chipped off from one too many arguments over nothing.

Today cancer doesn’t exist and there are no late fees.

Speeding tickets are just reminders of how fast life fly’s.

And there is enough food for everyone and then some.

The lights stay on all day because the bills are paid.

You can feel the last eighty years of struggle in the room.

The last eighty years of yelling and crying and swearing.

But you can also hear the last eighty years of laughter.

The last eighty years of Christmas lights and cookouts.

Today there is potato salad, grilled corn, and fried okra.

The only tear shed today is when everyone goes home.


by Tony Rafalowski


The remnants of a hurricane blew through my yard

Late one September afternoon. You would think

West Tennessee and its cotton fields far enough away

From the tropical storm warnings of the gulf coast.


Not so much, as evidenced by the two juvenile squirrels

Tossed from the security of the large old sugar gum tree

Beside the driveway, abandoned by their parents, I guess,

Who heeded the forecast and found other shelter.


One died on the concrete and had to be carried away

By my son in law, laid to rest at the bottom of the creek

That runs behind our property, swollen in the morning light

With the run off from rains that flooded south Texas.


One survived, the stronger sibling, Cain or Romulus,

Crawled down the driveway and into the garage

Under the Toyota where we found him the next day,

Crying for justice in the dark light of the dawn.


Using garden gloves we laid him in a box

Pillowed on an old towel ragged but soft,

Stroked his gray fur with our fingertips,

Sought to pray away the hurts, his and our own.


We gave him to a friend who had done this

Before, nursed an injured squirrel back to life.

He died in the late afternoon, but not without

Love, the soft comfort of having mattered.


The rest of us could be so lucky.


by Tony Rafalowski


In a state park on Sunday afternoon,

the hill country of east Mississippi,

my dog and I stop to watch a young couple

flying kites in a vacant baseball field.


They’re not having much luck, the wind is

swirling, black clouds melting the sunshine,

raising a storm to usher in the fall;

their own dog dances on a leash at their feet.


Rabbie stops to watch the dog and the kites

while I naturally follow the girl with my eyes.

They’re married, I think, and too young altogether,

something out of a Hollywood montage.


She’s fighting to get her plastic kite aloft

on the trickster breeze that tosses her hair,

dodging the dog in cut offs, midriff bare,

eyes glowing brighter than four o’clock gold.


I look at him, wishing I could tell him

you will remember this day thirty or forty years

from now amidst the slow beeping of machines

and the whispering hush of a ventilator.


Rabbie looks up at me with head cocked aside:

he’s done watching and so am I. Turn away,

walk on down the lane where the storm waits.

I wonder if she ever got that kite to fly.


by Alexis D. Kerney


When Nightfall comes spare me the relentless taste of agony.

When Nightfall comes spare me this constant pain.

When Nightfall comes shield my ears from Her creature’s cries.

When Nightfall comes save me from Satan’s desirous lies.


As Nightfall approaches please let light shine upon this cold and broken heart.

As Nightfall approaches please bless this soul so her demons shall not tear me apart.

As Nightfall approaches protect me. Make me fearless. Make it fair.

As Nightfall approaches save me from my demons piercing glare.


O Windless Night! Spare me thy woe!

Splinters of ice carve out what is left of this stained soul.

Goddess of Destruction take what is left of me.

Shape, as Nightfall comes, the beast I have been cursed to be.

Howl beneath the bright glow of the Moon.

Fall captive to my golden stare.

Give me back my sanity.

Give me back those things you took, if you dare.


Take this as no challenge, this is war!

A war of courage and might.

Give me my battle cloths and we’ll fight until morning light.

Spare me thy mercy! Spare me thy pity!

This battle is not for peace!

Hark unto my words, I will not rest until this pain will cease!


This war is my choice,

A victory unannounced.

When Nightfall comes, your control ebbs away

Ounce by broken ounce.

Listen to my voice!

As you speak that curse, it is me you renounce!

Tell me the truth.

As Nightfall comes gain my trust

Ounce by golden ounce.



by Alexis Kerney


 As night swears us to secrecy, and we are who we dread the most;

 Who shall see our identities? Will you be the one to boast?

 When Mother Earth is angry, and her wrath is uncontrollable…..

 What shall we do, as beasts, monsters, and ghosts of what we wish to be?

 So she wove her anger into a box;

 Closed her crying eyelid locks,

 And bade the past goodbye.

 To hope the box never to be opened

 By curiosity and it’s dreadful lie.


by Jasmine Williams


Opinions matter but just not mine

Opinions matter but not at this time.

Opinions matter but just not yours

Opinions matter but only if its mine.

Opinions matter but only if its yours.


Opinions. Opinions. Opinions.


But when does opinions turn to facts

Then they are the least needed.

Because no one should be offended by being proven wrong.

Ignorance on a topic should be celebrated

A blank slate.

But pride should be feared. For it is a slate

full of things that are to prove wrong.

No matter how many agree.  No matter the numbers.  The facts.


Opinions are good.  But not to be mistaken.

Opinions should never be shared for change might happen.

For silence is envy.  Silence is key.


by Jasmine Williams


I see little clothes on a tree branch near a river

They look new barely worn but the but the sun had bleached them.

For they have been there since long before

I wonder sometimes how they got there

Swimming or did someone have something darker in mind