i love the skin i wear

i love the skin i wear

melanin drops of the finest quality
natural bliss of tropical means
with African seams of fluidity

alive, beautiful, radiant

oh how I love the skin that I wear
warmer than a mink
more comfortable than any other
yes, it caresses me better than any brother

fierce, dangerous, courageous

that skin that I wear

oh that skin that I wear
this skin that I wear
it kills, it stuns, it feels
oh this skin, this skin is all mine
my prized possession, my love



i took this picture when i was riding down ashby. you see that billboard? that’s why…

i sit and watch the news, read blog posts, comments, etc. it’s the same damn thing. the same sickening verdict.

do you remember where you were when Trayvon Martin’s killer would be vindicated by the system? i cried my eyes out that night. i was 19. my grandma sat across from me in the house that i grew up in and said, “…this is the first one for you, the first real one. i remember that heartbreaking feeling.” i was disgusted and furious. earlier that day i went with one of my best friends to get her nose pierced. i wore all Black with a handwritten sign that i had made the night before with ‘Justice For Trayvon Benjamin Martin’ that I wore proudly across my chest with my black hoodie. the sky was gray like Trayvon’s hoodie that day. it drizzled a little. i was anxious. the streets were less crowded. it was a Saturday morning.

this just makes me think back to when i first glanced across Trayvon’s face on a computer screen in something that looked like an ad above a news story i was reading. i looked at the headline and clicked away. i kept seeing this child’s image for weeks until it blew up on the news. i was like ‘what the hell happened?’ that’s when i finally read up on it. i started listening to the 911 calls. i was mad as hell. i was scared as hell. i was ready to go tell some people how i really felt about it. then i had to remember that i was in high school in the middle of a room in the middle of a campus in Asheville, NC surrounded by white people. i would call my grandma & mama, just to talk it out.

next thing i know, i am sitting in front of the tv, watching the zimmerman trial everyday, taking notes, wondering why the prosecutors were giving this case away & why one of the defense attorneys would make a ‘knock-knock’ joke in his opening statement. i was wondering why news networks kept on playing those 911 tapes & why HLN showed Trayvon’s lifeless body so many times. Black bodies are the most disrespected ‘things’ on this planet. i still cannot get those images out of my head…

i’m protesting, marching, talking to people, sharing thoughts on social media, donating my little $3 i didn’t have. people in my hood wondering why i’m so concerned when  ‘Mike’ just got killed by ‘Tay’ in an abandoned home or when all this shit is happening around us. they just don’t understand how deeply rooted all of this madness is…

i was drained after that trial. i could not sleep after seeing all of the evil being thrown at Trayvon’s name and the praise given to his killer. i cried. i was angry. i was throwing that at racists left & right, all the while being told that i need to go back to Africa or that i am a worthless nigger or that i am a terrorist or that i am black supremacist or that racism is not a real thing or that slavery should still exist or…. you get it right?

i could not even begin to wrap my head around how i could EVER understand how his mother & father feel/felt or his brothers or friends.

i am a stranger, & this hurt me to my core.

Sybrina Fulton is a soldier. i have the utmost respect for her. the poise that she has displayed is admirable. she is so beautiful to me. she deserves justice. she deserves as much peace as possible even though i know that it will be tough to find it in this world.

i want to thank her and all of the Black mothers who have experienced something similar. thank you for your strength & courage to defend your babies in the face of evil.

i still want justice for our brother, Trayvon.

i won’t stop fighting.






“if you kill, you will die”

this is right around the corner from where one of my classmates was killed on Joseph E. Boone Boulevard. he didn’t kill anyone. I don’t know what happened. if I did, what would I do with that? place it into this collective memory that so many will never care to access even those around me? I hate that this is becoming an integral piece of our narrative.

I hate that killing has become a part of the backdrop of our community as we fall apart. I hate that if you continue down Boone you run into downtown Atlanta, you pass the Georgia Dome and the Georgia World Congress Center. you see all of the investments that are being made right outside of our community because no one cares about our side.

reporters aren’t even invested in telling this story.

the only ones who are invested are the ones that want to see us self-destruct.

so what happens when it all gets cleaned up after everyone sells their homes so that these people can just swoop in and help us to become forgotten?

what happens when all of these memorials are put up but destroyed by demolition and gentrification?

what happens when our children can’t even revisit the home of their parents because it can no longer be claimed by people that look like us?

but as the killing keeps on happening, less of us will be able to tell the tragic stories and joyful tales of the past of the westside.

if we aren’t here to tell our stories, who will?

they never knew me.

so many people made me feel like I left certain things behind,

like my home or my friends.

they would say I changed, or conformed.

but look at where I still call home.

the same place that I called home when I came into this world.

and some of those same people don’t want to claim home anymore.

what changed?


it’s clear to see.


they say I changed.

I used to feel bad or ashamed, as if they didn’t think I was different in the first place.

even to those I may have seen in the neighborhood on multiple occasions wonder

how I could be from such a place,

as if beauty doesn’t lie in the hood,

even in those that the world

doesn’t want to call beautiful.

the invisible.

the unloved.


i’ve always felt that i’ve been caught up in a blend of worlds.

i’ve always felt out of place when i’ve been at home

unless I was at grandma’s house on Jett Street.

since granddaddy died,

I realized that home could

never be that way again.

crack & sickness.

hospital visits.





I always felt like I was inauthentic to so many

but so real to myself.

then I realized that I had become

a scapegoat for others’ pain.

I began to wonder,

how could I have left home

or how could I be less Black

if I come from the same place that

you come from.

I was placed in a broken


with the perfect kind of love

the perfect kind of sacrifice.


villages raised me.


I was kept from some

of the horrors,

and I did not tell of

some of the horrors

that I had been through.


my story had been unauthenticated,

and once again I had to try to find which

shelf I fit on,

in between what books.


then I realized that I don’t

have to force myself to

place a label on

my freedom.






coming back home

coming back home to Atlanta is always different each time. I wonder who drew these. it separates two worlds, it seems. as I come to realize what is true, I see more death in living things. I see more lifelessness in lively people and places. abandonment comprises the whole of the other side. we are left to face that in the end. what can be done?

well I will make sure to keep our death ridden home alive even as some scream to die or flee it. it is our home nonetheless no matter how far away we move. no matter how close we are to forgetting it, it will stay with us, under our feet, between our eyes.

even after I graduated from college, I wondered what was there for me. I constantly said nothing, but there’s plenty. how much am I willing to invest in brokenness not just around me, but inside of me? how much am I will to ignore until I think it disappears and gentrification cleans up the mess that its family made in the first place.

but the Adinkra symbol on the far left reminds me that our past is not wallowing away. it is right here. when I look at that same symbol that is tattooed on my left side I see the past of me, the past of us.

it’s still present.

we just need to look around, feel, love and build.

but where do you start when you are in hell, entrapped by the flames of your reality? that’s what we all have in common. it’s that we don’t know where to start while we try to finish the job of pulling ourselves out of desolation. as we try to feed our babies and avoid a bullet.

which way is out when you want to be at home, but you can’t stay there?

is that really home?

no one said that home HAD to be comfortable.

but why does home have to be filled with memorial sites on every corner when I pass by and remember someone being stabbed in front of the Lunchbox or being thrown into kudzu filled space after being murdered? or seeing the home and hearing the shots that took the life of a 92-year-old woman at the hands of the police? or home of a woman who was just playing cards on her porch & fell to her death after being hit by a stray bullet?

a new generation in rotation for death at the hands of old friends or enemies. seeing their faces on WSB or remembering them when your family or neighbors tell you a first or last name or a nickname.

home is filled with much pain and grief.

boarded up homes.

women with their legs wide open on the corners in broad daylight.

men with death in their eyes.

friends that are now adults wondering why?

but it will always be home.