The Closest of Kin

September, 2016.

Written in part for my wife’s Aunt Janice, please check out my poem…The Closest of Kin.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”
–Proverbs 18:21


Arrives, adorning
Our door in the mourning time
Like closest of kin
Weathered by tears of weary
Blues, until the seraphim


This is my story, this is my song
Echoed — to & through me — so
Unapologetically who I am, as I
Speak in spirits, breathing verses

Bleeding streams of consciousness
Becoming what I say when I say it…

Always remembering the details
From within the poetry of its arms
Tapping into the tapestry of time

Verbatim, sound

For word for line–as though all
The endeavors of forever were
There, anthologized in the ebb

& flow of our bodies & souls

Till death
do them
Part. {fin
…begin again.}


In Remembrance of the Bard of Harlem

“Hey! Black soul being told…”
(with “permanence, perseverance & persistence”)
–The Last Poets
(& Thomas Carlyle)

I am the progeny of your
Jazzical folk lore, Mr. Hughes —
Your presence is the essence
Speaking life
Into why I
Even write

Words are my warriors
Fighting off
The censors & critics
Of freedom for all

Who’d take pride in
Killing the messenger
For they are unrealizing

Of the extent
That the message
Has been sown

Which is exactly
Why I continue
In the name of truth
& let it be known
Because that’s where
Wisdom is found.

Ā©2018, 21stcenturygrio

Strange Celestial Road

The jungle is a skyscraper

With its balconies bursting
With fate in a pleasant mood

By flora and fauna
In the form of ebony
Moonbeams, the zodiac
& lunar sunrises sown in the skyline

Of a constellated canopy

As we speak in tones of time

Like the Nile & the Niger, in
& out of streams
Of consciousness

Telling history
Along the way, from Eden
To where we’re inscribed today

On the wings of dreams
At the speed of night’s
Curious conjures about the cosmos

& its strange celestial road.

Ā©2018, 21stcenturygrio

The Beautiful Ones Not Yet Born

I’m so pleased to announce the publication of my poem, “The Beautiful Ones Not Yet Born, ” in the latest edition of the Pangolin Review,



Eulogy for the Queen of Soul

To hear

& bear witness
The fervent stir of her
Immutable soul

With every moan & tone
Of this woman’s work
Is like being baptized

In the current
Of the river’s

Eternal invitation
To salvation
Knowing before you

Even come back up
For air
That without a doubt
Hers is
The voice of God

Or, at least, the lead
Of leads & queen
Of queens that brought

The church to the ears
Of the world
Carrying its weight
In such a way
Only she could enunciate

Spirit into flesh
…& grace into fate.

Ā©2018, 21stcenturygrio

StillDiggin Vol1.2: Love is a MixtapE

Ars Pictura: Basquiat

Ars Pictura: Keith Haring