Round for the Road

Dr. L. Teresa Church

Talon-words claw flesh,

flail against windows

rolled tight.


Their ‘chine chortles

beneath red light.

Temper refuses pause.


More than twice her size,

petite brown fire ball

blazes his back.


He knuckles wheel,

glances over shoulder

into back seat now and then.


Middle of the afternoon,

summer day, no breeze,

wire-thin woman stirs.


He tries to ig’ her

come undone, until

she whips her right foot bare,


shoe-leathers his scalp,

whaps, slaps.

He dips, dodges her limber hand.


Light turns green,

they go left, I follow the fight

west on Highway 55.


I trail this everyday affair,

watch her climb over seat.

The rusty blue car accelerates.


Suddenly, without signal,

they cut down a dirt road,

arms no longer flailing.


Derrick Brown

Paul D’s Haiku

From The Sweet Home Men Series

(For Toni Morrison)

I always loved trees

Long thick limbs swaying brown boughs

Sethe be my Oak.


Chanell Harris

The intrigue of witnessing

someone attempt to kill

captures even the most

rational of people.


79th and Stony Island

July 4, 2005




I was fascinated

to see them fight

on the sidewalk

almost in front of



I guess barbecues

and firecrackers

didn’t suite them


They wrestled

in a concrete

match one struggling

to overpower the other


cotton, blue jean

brown skin formed

a ball scrawling for

possession of pointed steel


As they scuffled

in a entranceway

of a storefront

they forced

themselves to

their feet


Just as we turned down

78th street I saw them

get loose of one another

and start to throw punches

I caught a glimpse of each

get in one good lick


10:00 p.m.


sirens of police cars

a fire truck and ambulance

glow the streets

somebody’s dead


back at the corner under

neon light that illuminates

nine corners

we watched life

twitch and bleed

before us


one, once a predator

lay face down

in the jungle



leaking from the back


rescue lights glow

the phosphorous

in the blood

on the pavement

bounce off the yellow

police tape

created a ghetto



closed eyes see

and invisible God

I say a prayer too


Pink shirts they both wore

now tainted

with organic spills

that never come clean


There is nothing

gorgeous about these ladies

Cante Jondo

Ashaki Jackson

There is only evening, here. The heavy eyes of children who

dread the dark. The tartness and senility of wine.


Men retreat into safe places – behind women's knees,

upon the smooth pomegranate abdomens,


beneath the many napes. Here is a slow walk, a siguirilla

into the night. Men who dream of flying fall deftly from trees


with sobering cadence. At dusk, women collect the fallen figs,

smell their heft, press thumbs into the scrotums.


I am from

Marta Maria Miranda


I am from a place where chickens wake you up and feed you breakfast

I am from where pigs are slaughtered with skill and grace and every inch is used for something

I am from water gazing, despojos and spirit calling

I am from Bembes where our african ancestors wet their tongues

with rum, speak the old words, and dance to the beat

of the conga drums

I am from punto guajiro, guantanamera and story telling circles

I am from the vile of my mother’s hatred of her wifely duties

I am from a toxic womb where my twin sister died and I survived

I am from kneeling on pebbles, staring at the bathroom

wall and dreaming that I could fly

I am from the love of dulce leche, flan and rice pudding for breakfast

I am from a daily feast of black beans, white rice, aguacates and mojito

I am from coffee beans growing outside my kitchen window

I am from a red tile kitchen where abuelita rolled her choquitos

and starched the bed sheets

I am from the ever present Pepito jokes,

I am from a place where papaya, guayabas and mango trees gently carry orchids on their trunks

I am from the mountains and in them I will be buried

I am Cubalachian, Cuban by Birth

and Appalachian by the Grace of God

I am from the ocean and to her I will return

I am the daughter of Yemaya and for her I will write


As I Burn Sage Trees

Jurina Hill

God what happens tomorrow? As I burn sage trees
Sick inside as the sage scent burns inside of me
Scared to breathe, scared to BE
'Leave me alone,' I cry, but her spirit tackles me
I picked a strange spirit that doesn't want to leave me

God what happens tomorrow? As I burn sage trees
'Leave me alone,' I cry, but her Spirit tackles me
Scared to breathe, scared to BE
Her strange spirit rather I live a lie
Here it comes again to tackle me
Scared to breathe, scared to BE
No one there, no one here to protect me
Afraid to BE, afraid to BE

God what happens tomorrow? As I burn sage trees
Sage trees protect me I beg of thee
Scared to breathe, scared to BE, as I cling to sage trees
God protect me as I cling to sage trees
LET ME BREATHE LET ME BE give me tomorrow in thee
I've learnt the hard way from Strange Spirit
PLEASE GOD PROTECT ME—Bless me with the power of sage trees
Please God let me breathe—Please God let me BE
As I burn sage trees

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