Black In America Is...

Black in America is a poem written in blood,
pain filled stanzas of people reduced to mud
on a plantation of snow.

It is living with anxiety that goes undiagnosed,
silent conversations with ancestral ghost
while Marvin’s Make Me Wanna Holler plays
in the background.

It is being fearful of traffic stops
by agenda having cops
who are eager to turn us into hashtags.

It is a worldstar video full of wide hips and tatted backs
playing against the echo of cotton field whip cracks
which dominate legislative voting floors.

It is watching hipsters discover your neighborhood;
appropriation of our culture into consumer goods
because wanting to be black is an American pastime.

It is standing in line for $300 J’s;
fire from religious pulpits condemning all gays
while pastors baptize their side chicks.

It is being more comfortable with the people living in your phone
rather than with the people living in your home
because sometimes illusions are kinder than reality.

It is Grandma’s hands and Pop-pop’s storytelling,
family get togethers full of food, laughing and yelling;
matriarchs and griots mimicking the sun.

It is remembering black love unafraid and intense;
velvet paintings and nag champa incenses
inspiring many raised fist romances.

It is kids who love STEM writing algorithms and code,
blerds, anime watches and gamers who dream bold;
silent architects of future rebellions.

It is the night feared by those only loving the moon,
scared that darkness will ultimately consume
their precious alabaster shine.

Black in America is a poem written in blood,
pain filled stanzas of people reduced to mud
on a plantation of snow.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly



The Day After The Apocalypse

The day after
the apocalypse,
I’ll secretly be happy
because I won’t have to
go to work anymore;

I’ll wonder which
celebrities survived
and if they are able
to snap from their
survival bunkers;

I’ll have a grin
on my face when
I stare down at
my smartphone
and it reads...


I’ll get mad because
I didn’t go to the
grocery store the day
before or wonder why
I didn’t put five dollars
more on pump seven.

I’ll be worried about
family and friends
but hope they can feel
my telepathic messages
to get out of the city
and to the boats
like we planned.

I’ll daydream
about meeting a
Michonne or Sasha
and wonder if my
hair will be as perfect
as the apocalypse
survivors on tv and
in movies.

I’ll probably go commando
because doing laundry
won’t be high on my
survival list;

I’ll think about all the moments
I wasted and all the people I
never told I loved;

I’ll fight hard
not to let my mind
become a grave.

I’ll paint my skin with
all the autumns, sunrises
and sunsets I’ve ever
witnessed, open my
front door and let the
chaos teach me how
to breathe.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly



world tried
to turn her skin into a coffin
but art, love and words
were her melanin.

She was a palette of divinity.

A high priestess of the color spectrum.

A visual representation of Coltrane’s

A Love Supreme.

The sound of blood rushing

through my veins.

My breathing.

I watched from afar
as she observed life,
turning every second
into a muse;

jealous at how light
was greeting her skin;

shadows and rainbows
arguing over who would
accompany her throughout
the day.

She bathed in creativity
and smelled like a spring
sunrise in Zamunda.

When she stared at me,
all I could think of was
a lazy Sunday where want
becomes a canvas and our
bodies the paint;

fingertip brushstrokes
and tongues dabbling
in each other's details;

Basquiat & Kahlo on purpose.

She made me remember why I couldn’t keep my hands off Crayolas.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly

Spectral Figure 2


(30/30) Year Twenty-Nine: HIGHER LEARNING

The most important

lesson learned in college;

question everything.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly



(29/30) Year Twenty-Eight: REMEMBERING LOVE

My parents taught me about
blissful commitment;
the way they embraced happiness
and shared it with the world
was infectious.

Their energy made me feel safe;

I lived in their sanctuary
and vowed if I ever found
someone to spend my life with,
I would mimic the lessons they
imparted in every way.

Remembering their love
helped me from becoming
jaded when those around me
abused what I had to offer.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(28/30) Year Twenty-Seven: ROAD RAGE

I couldn’t stay calm while driving to work,
congested roadways made me tense;
especially when I was cut off by a jerk,
whose actions caused teeth to clench.

Retaliation would fill my head,
thoughts on the day’s chores done,
the focus was to see that motorist dead.
Road rage sprung, so I reached for a gun,

was today the day I make the news?
Shots fired, we’re live on the scene;
an idiot magnified Monday morning blues,
destroying a disposition that was serene.

To expel this insanity from my brain,
I started to commute by train.

© 2012, 2017 abruvanamedsly



(27/30) Year Twenty-Six: ROAD TRIPS

I’d rent a van and pack it tight,
taking my nieces to visit down south,
we’d usually leave after midnight,
so I wouldn’t have to hear no mouth.

They were angels while sleeping,
making trips run fairly smooth,
but my ears would start weeping
once their lips began to move.

Are we there yet? This trip is long…
we’re hungry, thirsty and gotta pee.
Turn the radio up, that’s our song.
Look!!! A McDonald’s on route three!!!

They’d be in the back crying the blues,
Uncle Junebug why’d you turn to the news??!!!

© 2017 abruvanamedsly



(26/30) Year Twenty-Five: REJOICE

To make it to twenty-five – a milestone indeed,
especially in environments were not many succeed,
except at self-inflicted genocide,
random gunshots becoming so normalized,
King Herod’s curse attempting to wipe us out;

I made it to twenty five.

A quarter of a century down, how many years to go?
With the specter of ostracization, I don’t know.
Hope I can evolve, reproduce, and become aware,

that until I love myself, no one else will care;
I stand in a quiet place to hear myself shout;

I made it to twenty-five.

© 2011, 2017 abruvanamedsly


(25/30) Year Twenty-Four: NEW YEAR'S EVE

Times Square, New York City;

seeing the ball drop in person

isn’t as warm as watching

it from home.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly



(24/30) Year Twenty-Three: CHASING A DREAM

3AM voices inside my head would scream,
their echo dancing with the ceiling;
never stop trying to chase a dream.

Purpose eluding me it would seem,
passion still an uncharted feeling;
3AM voices inside my head would scream.

Life: film noir with no planned scene;
sanity, everyday existence was stealing;
never stop trying to chase a dream.

To be what I wanted? almost obscene.
The thought had heart and mind reeling;
3AM voices inside my head would scream.

Prayer and patience this wander's theme,
nightly to god I stayed keeling;
never stop trying to chase a dream.

Doing what I love now part of my genes,
no longer with complacency was I dealing;
3AM voices inside my head would scream,
never stop trying to chase a dream.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly



(23/30) Year Twenty-Two: PHILADELPHIA

The city of Brotherly Love
had me at what up ock?

Yung boys, yung jawns and
ol’ heads all hugging the block.

Chinese Carry outs,
after hour spots,
check cashing, gun flashing,
blunt guts spilling
out on piss stained concrete

Cheese Steaks and grape crush,
trying to duck that
52nd street bum rush;

Fox Valley or Piccadilly
before I go home to rest;

tightly packed row house 
streets stayed putting
driving skills to the test in

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(22/30) Year Twenty-One: CELEBRATION

Twenty-one felt like turning sixty-five
so, I threw a retirement party
for the hurt and pain
nestled into my bones.

I was drunk for two days after
my birthday as if being inebriated
would lift the veil of uncertainty and
fear secretly smothering my heart.

The morning after all that celebrating,
I took a deep breath, pulled open the blinds
and stared at the sun rising as
if seeing it for the first time.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly



(21/30) Year Twenty: THE DIPLOMAT

Living in a town of snow
was a shock to the system
for someone raised in a chocolate city,
especially when looking and talking
like one of those hip-hop guys on TV.

Interactions with folks often started with questions;

Why do y'all roll one pants leg up?
Why do y'all get symbols and names cut into y'alls heads?
Why do y'all wear cornrows and braids?
Or high top fades?
Can I touch your hair?
Are y'all really that big down there?
Do you sell weed and crack?
Would you ever date a girl that wasn't black?

Every answer tended to be blunt yet diplomatic.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly



(20/30) Year Nineteen: ALLENTOWN

Moved to Allentown

to work and attend college;

the streets taught me more.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(19/30) Year Eighteen: PRISONER

To keep from going insane,

I sentenced myself to life in

between the space of headphones.

Music took away all the hurt

and pain abducting my mind;

kidnapping my spirit,

while holding hostage

space and time.


© 2017 abruvanamedsly



(18/30) Year Seventeen: GONE

When my mom passed,
I was already
a veteran of grieving;
any tears I had left in me
had long turned to stone.

At her funeral, folks
asked me and my sisters
over and over were we
going to be okay;
my lips said yes,
my heart knew I was a liar.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(17/30) Year Sixteen: GRADUATION

High school graduates

eager to challenge a world

which devours the young;

ego and bullets make meals

out of dreams and potential.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(16/30) Year Fifteen: MURDER

Sudden and unexpected death
is like a hurricane wrapped
inside of a Tsunami.

The gambit of emotions a spirit
goes through dealing with that
type of loss can stretch one
thinner than vellum.

The day I learned of your murder,
I played back the conversation
we had the day before as to
rewind time and make
the news untrue.

The next day,
I sat in class staring
at an empty desk
like you were about
to come in and sit
down at any moment;

it took some time
for the feeling of
slightness to dissipate.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(15/30) Year Fourteen: CHANGE OF PLAN

My neighbor loved my cooking,
she wanted to be my wife.
Although she was good-looking,
I wasn’t ready for the married life.

She vowed to wear me down like Urkel;
I laughed and thought it was funny.
Drawing our names in a heart and circle,
saying her kisses were better than honey.

The summer came, she went away,
I missed her coming around daily.
On my mind her words did stay,
repeating like an old ukulele.

When she returned from vacation,
I was set to accept her plan;
I had to pump my brakes on elation,
she was kissing and holding another boy’s hand.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(14/30) Year Thirteen: SELF DISCOVERY

Everything I learnt about sex
up to this point came from
encyclopedias, older cousins
and Playboy;

when I had my first wet dream,
I thought my penis was broken
and I was about to die from cancer.

I didn’t even know how masturbation
worked until I saw it being done
on a woman’s backside in a porn video.

The first time I tried it,
I faked like a was taking a shower.

From that day forward,
my mom said,

with as much as you’re
in the bathroom, you have
to be the cleanest boy
in the city

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(13/30) Year Twelve: ELECTROCUTION

My father was a
when it came to
home repair.
After years of being
his apprentice, filling
his shoes wasn’t going to be
a problem; so I thought.

Lesson number one:

NEVER try clearing years
of caked up paint from an
electrical socket with a
flat head screw driver
and hammer while the
power is still on.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(12/30) Year Eleven: MANHOOD (A REPOST)

the phone call came,
my uncle looked at me
and said,

You're the
man of the house now,
you have to be strong
for your mother and sisters

So, at eleven years old,

I didn't shed a tear
when I saw my mom, eyes
leaking with pain,
calmly make arrangements
for my father's burial.

I didn't shed a tear
when my sisters
sobbed on my shoulders,
even though I could feel
their sorrow vibrating
through me.

I didn't shed a tear
at the wake or the funeral;

I just stood stoic
trying to map out
in my mind what exactly
does it mean to be a man?

That night, I remember going into the bathroom 
and crying uncontrollably into a towel, 
so no one would hear me.

© 2013, 2017 abruvanamedsly


(11/30) Year Ten: THE FALLING DREAM

I was standing on the edge
of a cliff in another dimension;
I could feel searing winds
fighting to smother my skin
as ash and glowing embers
choked the air.

I lost my footing and started free falling,

picking up speed towards an inevitable
 rendezvous with heated terrain;
the erratic beating of my heart serving
as a death spiral soundtrack.

Just before hitting charred earth,
my soul smashed back into my body
causing me to tumble out of bed
onto the hardwood floor.

I still feel the memory of that impact.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(10/30) Year Nine: FIVE STRIPED SHOES

Adidas don’t make five striped shoes,
them bobo’s had me singing the blues;
getting laughed at by friends and foes,
sporting bootleg K-Swiss slash fake shell-toes.

I was mad and couldn’t take no more,
of sneakers bought from a grocery store.
Them bobo’s had me singing the blues;
Adidas don’t make five striped shoes.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(9/30) Year Eight: FIRE

Playing with matches,

I scorched kitchen curtains;

mom lit me on fire.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(8/30) Year Seven: PEOPLE INSIDE THE TV

Before the movie Poltergeist,

I put my hand on the television

and wondered how the people

got inside the TV.

Instead of waiting for a ghost

to show up and kidnap me,

I grabbed my dad’s tools

and took the back cover

off the set;

I was disappointed

with the results.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(7/30) Year Six: BEING SIX (A REPOST)

and mischief oozed
from every pore when I was six;
playing in dirt was heaven,
touching fire was a temptation
and hearing no was a dare.

Being naked was comfortable,
gross body sounds an orchestra
and my belly button,
a secret treasure trove.

There was wonder
in most things around me,
especially girls;
some boys this age
thought of them as icky,
not me.

I stayed throwing mud
and my heart at this one girl
I liked because I couldn't
find the words to tell her

how she made the
butterflies in my stomach sigh
as I looked at her and believed,
I was gonna stay six

© 2014, 2017 abruvanamedsly



(6/30) Year Five: SHOE BANDIT

Hungover, my cousin stood no chance;
his head, his dress shoe, fated to dance.

I snuck up on him, sizing up my prey,
eager and excited to start swinging away,

I raised his size 12 shoe with all my might,
not caring about retaliation, or even a fight.

The first blow was glorious, echoing the room,
he fell from the couch, making a loud boom.

I smacked him again with a great thud,
he yelled, he screamed, I think I feel blood!

Mad as a bull, he charged my way,
I slid under a coffee table getting away.


© 2017 abruvanamedsly



(5/30) Year Four: OPEN WINDOW

Sleeping parents and siblings; CHECK.

Overactive imagination; CHECK.

Superman footie pajamas; CHECK.

Red bath towel doubling as cape; CHECK.

Open window; CHECK.

Launch pad chair; CHECK.

Maximum takeoff flight stance; CHECK.

Arms raised in soaring position; CHECK.

Eyes fixated to the sky; CHECK.

God brother outside yelling at me to

get out of the window now;


© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(4/30) Year Three: ATLAS

My dad had a dog that only liked him.
He barked at me like I was a stranger.
I wanted to pet his hair and give it a trim;
that wound up putting my life in danger.

He barked at me like I was a stranger,
all I tried to do was ride on his back.
That wound up putting my life in danger,
he growled loudly ready to attack.

All I tried to do was ride on his back,
in my mind, he was big like a dinosaur.
He growled loudly ready to attack,
my mom showed Atlas the front door.

In my mind, he was big like a dinosaur;
My dad had a dog that only liked him.
My mom showed Atlas the front door,
I wanted to pet his hair and give it a trim.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(3/30) Year Two: TEETHING

I bit everything in sight,
my mom called me a baby beaver;
sneaking around the house at night,
using furniture as a teether.

My dad would put me in my crib,
like that was going to abate,
the craving to gnaw at a chair rib;
all I would do is escape.

Junior!!! he would scream and shout,
stop nibbling the table wood!
I'd make a sad face and pout,
but he knew I was up to no good.

To teach me a lesson about who was boss,
I chomped his finger; it was covered in hot sauce.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly


(2/30) Year One: CURIOUS

My mama always
talked about how
I couldn’t wait 
to explorer my 

she said I almost walked
before I could crawl

With this new found
curiosity, I probably 
would have scurried 
to the sun if
she let me.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly



(1/30) Year Zero: FORM

Poetry month has begun and I'm dusting off my blog to participate. Hopeful I'll go (30/30). This year instead of following and attempting NaPoWriMo prompts, I thought I'd do a lil' something different ---> A poem from each year of my life until I get to 30; I'm starting at the very beginning. Happy Writing!  

God fearing
christian woman
and a streetwise
sinner got together
breathing love
and hope into
one another;

my conception
was the air they
promised each other.

© 2017 abruvanamedsly