Straightened My Life, by Wesley Hesketh

I walked a crooked path in life, sinning every day.

Drugs my meal of fun. Hiding in them

to get away from all the pain and suffering. From birth

to fourteen I was physically and verbally abused. At

fourteen, I was left on a street corner.

I would eat out of garbage cans or steal from the stores

just to survive. I was arrested and put in juvenile hall,

where I was beat up and raped.

My mother can and got me out. She was living with

an ex boxer. He liked to knock me around like a

punching bag.

At eighteen I ran away and thinking it would get better,

I joined the Army. I was wrong. In boot camp the sergeant

pushed me around and verbally abused me. It was like that

for sixteen weeks.

Then I went to Korea. I was put on the

front line to help keep the South safe from the North. Stress

was a daily thing and fear of being shot went along with it.

That’s where I got hooked on drugs. When I can back stateside,

I fell in with a bad crowd. I become a garbage can junky,

that means I took any drug I was given.

While I was on drugs I went through four very abusive marriages.

Up until then the only God I knew was one that sit in heaven.

He judged everyone and if you sinned you went to Hell.

So I could not look to him for help.

The rest of my life was a blur of mental hospitals. Into the hospital

out on the street over and over again.

Then one day I was sitting on the street corner looking for drugs.

A man came and sit down next to me. I thought he was looking

for drugs too. I shouted at him to get away but he did not move.

“Son,” he said, “What are you looking for?” Drugs I said you got

some? “I got something better,” he said. “it is God.” Oh no you don’t

I know about your God and He is a bad God, judging people and

sending then to hell.

He laughed, “My God loves you.” How could He love me I am just

a sinner? “He sent His Son Jesus to take away your sins.” How could

He do that I asked?

“Jesus was hung on a cross to suffer for your sins. He died so you

will never be judged for your sins now and forever.”

Tears welled up in my eyes. How would He do that for me? “He did that

because He loves you. Three days later He was resurrected from the grave,,

now He is in Heaven at the right hand of God. He intercedes for you.”

I looked at him and he smiled at me. No buddy smiled like that ever.

“Come let me help you.”

He led me to a clinic and introduced ne to a counselor. We talked and

she said I had PTSD and was bipolar.

That was twenty years ago. I found a Bible based churched, and found

a home there. I read my bible every day, and pray to God, Jesus, and

the Holy Spirit, I am no longer on drugs and have a handle on my

problems. Today I no longer walk that crooked road. I know God loves

me and He loves you too.


My family doesn’t make photo albums anymore, by D’mani Thomas

My family doesn’t make photo albums anymore. Just dirty carpets, prayers and missing posters in every unsaved number. Just recipes of triumph in scar tissue, diabetes medicine splayed out next to a tower of peppermint candies. Like god is praying on the weakest of us with an alzheimered memory/ forgotten remorse/ what does not kill us makes us stronger, so thinning blood and darwin’s theory must be distant cousins.

Speaking of distance. I have not seen some people since the news coverage turned kardashian. Hurricane Katrina and my family are the same in that some government condoned a violence, and no one’s heard from them since. Tangent: believe all of this to be true. Last I heard, the boy that taught me to pop fireworks in the fragile of my palms, was living in a football stadium. Maybe? Maybe someone told me otherwise once .Maybe i’m choosing what to question mark. Maybe i’ll ask what happened to him when my grandmother wakes up.

I am a water baby. Salt water and some ligaments in the shape of bloat fish for stomach, minnow for rare organs, octopus tendrils for appendages i might scab and grow back. I know

What it means to swim in packs and try not to die. Survivor of two oceans trying to kill me. One atlantic /One I call a body . The killing joke

My kin is my kin, is your kin, heard that’s her kin too.

Fictiv in blood, but we can see it everywhere.

So when I found out Janis Joplin once said, “being black for a while, will make [you] a better white.”

I thought.

It’s just so easy to be Black these days ya know’

Rachel and Danielle paved the way for them. Like it’s in their DNA now:

Fake Bantu notted Oakland tongue double helixes. weaves into over priced top ramen diet.

If you are what you eat, then to consume a body means you too are NWA, section 80, hurricane katrinas red line, the subject of Old Kanye’s “George Bush doesn’t give a fuck about black ppl speech”

In front of me,

Some silhouette watches the slave trade happen

And somewhere, a white girl says she can’t be racist, says she’s only 17 , but 1/8th Ida. B.

Says – she loves the NFL and streetball and if she could she would let pornhub’s entire BBC category start a daycare in her stomach

I laugh

Tell her I think she has my great grandmother’s mouth in her teeth

I say,

My country loved me blue

My country took my dust soaked skeleton and put me in a thrift shop my probable children can’t afford.

My country loved me once and never texted me back.

Unrequited love, by Elizabeth Kagai

I’m not so acquainted with the language of love,
So when you went off topic, you lost me

I fell,
Fell in love,
Fell for you

But worst off,
Lost my eyes in yours,
Not so sure yours in mine!

It’s like I gave myself,
Gave myself up,
Gave myself to you,
Not so sure what I wanted in return,
Not knowing it should be a mutual feeling,
That I was to get something in return

I became selfless,
Selfless to a point of losing self,
Losing self to the selflessness I had inflicted on self

Or maybe losing self to you,
You and the trust I gave,
Trust that you couldn’t let self go,
Trust that you’d hold on tight,
Trust that you’d know how to take care of self
Trust that I’d never thought you’d break

Countless times I had to convince,
Convince myself that I was on script,
Convince myself I had everything under control,
Convince myself that I deserved the cold
Convince myself that “the hand that giveth is the hand that receiveth”
And all for what?

Maybe all I need to do is get up,
Dust myself of the fall,
Teach myself that I am worth,
Worth fighting for,
Worth more

And that you went off,
Off topic,
Off script,
You should have stuck to the script,
Stuck to your own lane

And that I was just lost,
Yet to be found,
Found by anyone who accidentally passed by the lost and founds,
Anyone better than you,
Anyone but you!

Anyone would be better than you!

Read Poem: the perks of being real, by Karah Wilson

in high school
i wanted to feel like charlie did
in that tunnel
on a drive
with the people he loved most
in the world.

i wanted my life
to be like a coming-of-age film
where everything and nothing felt right
all at the same time.

i wanted to feel infinite.

but as we grow older
as our skin changes
as our hearts tire out
we learn that’s not real life.

real life is filled
with heartbreak
with madness
with death
with unfairness.

it’s filled with fights
with people
you hold close.

it’s filled with music
while you cry yourself to sleep
at 3 a.m.
because you’ve never felt so

it’s filled with the hardest
you never thought
would pass your lips.

it’s filled with watching your loved ones
wail out in pain
because they’ve lost someone they love.

real life is filled
with heartbreak
with madness
with death
with unfairness.

but one of the easiest parts
is realizing it’s also filled
with love
with happiness
with life
with fairness.

it’s filled with hugs
after fights
with people
you hold close.

it’s filled with music
playing at a party
with all your closest friends
at 3 a.m.

it’s filled with the easiest
of new friends
who were once

it’s filled with watching
your loved ones be
the happiest
they’ve ever been
because they deserve it.

while charlie had his friends
in that tunnel
on that drive,

i have so much more.

because what i have is in real life.

and that makes me feel
my own kind of

Read Poem: Hope To my Green Eyed Gems, by Abbigail Elijah

Another tear travels down my
face And soaks my pillow
Oh what tears must meander down
your cheeks too!. . .
Motherless children, I wish
I could explain,
I wish you knew.

I look at myself, deep beyond
the eyes reflecting in the
mirror, only to see your
green whirlpools, staring back
at me, what a dazzling view.
Emerald forests of splendour,
do they sparkle?
Or are they dull too?

I know the Lord hears me when we
talk heart to heart . . . . .
Creator of those eyes we share,
wiping the tears, whispering
peace to each part.

Healer of souls, Redeemer,
He’ll replenish our days apart
Our future awaits,
a new journey,
our past will become blurred

Clinging to His Garment is MY
way forward,
please come back to me,
Lets build a new future,
a fresh start?
I long for you both,
like me,
I long for you to be freed.

A.E. 14-06-19

Read Poem: CONFIDENCE REMINDER, by Ingrid Gilbert

Allow me to remind you a little something about confidence, now can I:

Confidence starts by action making;
Then evolves in a deep rooted feeling;
And eventually becomes a part of your entire being.

Hence you start taking action,
You witness the confidence slowly but surely fulfilling your entire being,
And then not only will you feel confident, you will be confident.

And through it all, keep reminding yourself that you got this.
You know why?
Cuz you fucking got this!

Coach Ingrid
Confidence Queen
Success Coach, Goal Setting Specialist
❣️ Dare to be U, in order to do U
🗣️ #screamyastoyoursuccess


Read Poem: THE END, by Sobaby Onwane

The end, like this;
Red colours and sirens
Handcuffs as I walk in
Moving to my cell
I heave a sigh of deep relief
Today my demons won
Tonight my exorcism will be complete
Officers and Wardens
Still unaware of my motive
Yet no rebuke, no chide…
May 11th I let it happen
Tears clogging my throat
That monstrous pain again
Dear Mom and Dad,
I did it.

I pull the trigger,
My Dog is dead!


Read Poem: When I’ll meet him, by Damini Mudholkar

When I’ll meet him,
My heart will beat 100 times faster
Like getting close to a rollercoaster.

That time will froze too,
In this world like, it was made
Only for me and you.

And then I’ll hear it.
My breath in and out,
Eyes wide and shout.

The rush of adrenaline,
when I’ll approach you as mine
Rest assured.

Read Poem: The Apostrophe Catastrophe, by Richard Havenga

Some people’s
use of the
is a catastrophe,

but you’re not
among those writers,
because your skills
are more refined.

It’s not that hard,
really, to remember
when and where
to hang this
little hook:

dangling up there
joining friendly letters;

taking the place
of i in it’s,
it is especially

or shyly
possessing things,
like the poet’s words
on New Year’s Eve;

or humbly
substituting itself
as a contractor
in word construction,
when other punctuations
can’t, or don’t,
or simply won’t
accept responsibility.

The apostrophe
has no feelings of
superiority to its
lower cousin
the comma,
it’s merely
doing its job,
in the place it belongs,
overseeing things,
bringing meaning
to this lovely language
that’s ours.

It is always eager
to help its letter friends
become words.
That’s why it’s there,
to be useful
to you and yours.

It has always,
always loved
s the best,
don’t you agree?

Now that we’re
in agreement,
we are able
to move on,
are we not ?


Because the Oklahoma sky also stretches
Stippled with wind-bruised stars.

Because a Pakistani-American doctor came in
shuffling paperwork and ultrasounds.

Because the ocean dipped
as bodies were being pulled out of water.

Because I wake to feel you squirming,
like a fish drifting in the ocean of my body.

Because I learn of you every day, son,
whom I know nothing about,

while the woman across the street loses hers
to border detention, now coated in forged half-light.

Because of these elections and the last ones,
and the ones in which I wasn’t allowed to vote.

Because your mother is an immigrant
Who saw the iron curtain fall with a bang,

and your father, another immigrant, cannot fit
the word “steak” in his mouth without an accent.

Because it’s still unclear whether you’ll wear
their history of bones caving in,

as if the man you will likely become
can apostrophe the pain of home-county

instead of passing for someone who can
quietly swim in, practice folding this country’s damp

bed sheet like someone who understands,
standing somewhere under a sky stippled with bruised stars.