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I sit silent; the only noise uttered coming from my frustration laden breath

How can I repress the feelings of another death;

Another black body slain in our midst

The tears well up in my eyes; but my pride won’t let them fall

I swallow the hot coal in my throat and push on

Just another day being black

How can anybody fathom our pain?

We are killed everyday.

Another black body. Another black man. Another black child. Another black friend.

Another lost child.

I sit and the pain oozes from every stroke of my pen.

We really out here dying man, how can I pretend….

That this shit isn’t killing me.

That this burden isn’t heavy on my shoulders.

I turn on my television and quickly turn it off.

How can the value of my life be political?

How can a person my color being killed be a joke?

We form communities for ourselves; they burn them down.

We form groups to protect ourselves. We’re labeled terrorist.

We call them out and speak truth. They assassinate us.

We turn the other cheek and march for freedom. They assassinate us.

We protest on a bus. They arrest us.

We raise our hands to comply. They kill us.

We scream we can’t breathe. The squeeze harder. And still kill us.

We wear a hoodie in the dark. They kill us.

We scream out with fear wrapped in the instinct to survive. They kill us.

We fight back. They kill us.

We protest. They imprison us.

We rise up and speak. They blackball and take away our right to work.

What the hell can we do to survive!!!!!

How can I be happy in my black skin?

You want me to be distracted with social media, with bullshit rap, with celebrities whose lives don’t affect me?

I’M PISSED. My blood boils, with clenched fist, I pound and pound against the pavement.


We deserve to live.

Week 12 Topic: Self-Care Routine

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  1. Were their signs of your self-care routine lacking before you were officially diagnosed with a mental illness/disorders?
    1. I just didn’t care about myself in general. Never bought myself new clothes, never put on lotion, never even used a towel to dry off. I just had a low self-esteem, and an apathy for who I was beyond how I did in school, or the friends that I had. I didn’t attribute much worth to myself before I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
  2. Did you (or) do you suffer from low self-esteem?
    1. I did very much so as a young adolescent and through my college years. As I embark on this journey into my 30’s I definitely have focused more on self-care, self-love, healing and being more having a focused present attempt to keep my thoughts positive.
  3. Is there (or) have there been stages of guilt when not properly taking care of your self-care routine?
    1. Not for me, I focus so much on others that I always notice myself or my needs last. I’m working on that though.
  4. (You can refrain from answering the next question if you wish to).  What was the longest period of time between taking a shower, and/or brushing your teeth?
    1. Never really went without a shower because it made me feel better. Days were I have showered 4 or 5 times, just because the warmth of the water made me feel something. Brushing my teeth, maybe a day.
  5. If you are supposed to be going out for whatever occasion, are you concerned with your over-all appearance?  (Or) Do you take care of your self-care needs before leaving the house?
    1. I do now, before getting with my fiance’ I never really cared. Now I do. Not to the point where it affects my mood, but I try to give an effort to look nice.
  6. What advice can you give to someone who is having difficulty with their self-care routine?  (Note: If someone was to ask for your advice, what would you share with them?)
    1. To be able to take care of others or truly give your best to others, you have to give it to yourself. You begin to feel better when you love you first, when you wake up and start simple, take a shower, put on lotion, brush your teeth, put on deodorant. It sounds simple, but just taking life a moment at a time, makes all the various worries seem mundane. Loving yourself, enables you to love others healthy.
  7. Topic

Brown Sugar

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Image found: Sugar Shack

Dear hip-hop, thank you for always being my peace

I am broken, shards of my fragmented being lay deposited with people who never deserved that access to me

I lay naked while fully dressed with people that can never grasp the sacrifices I’m willing to make for success

I allow my mind to be peeled, and for the deep dark crevices to be explored


Dear hip-hop, thank you for providing solace

I look around hoping to be comforted by gentle smiles, and kind words

To no avail, those thing never resonate with my inner place

They knock, but my pride swells, and I cannot open the door

As the sculptor pounds into his creation, chiseling away at the imperfections; I am penetrated despite my heavily guarded skin

Fight or flight, the mechanism designed to protect me is always on auto-pilot

I wanna remove it from the drivers seat, so that I can finally feel and not just survive

Dear hip-hop, thank you for being a rock

You are my stabilizing force

You are the guide challenging my judgments and preconceived notions

You are my strength

You are my reflection into the minds of my ancestors before me

You are my example

Dear hip-hop , I love you

~Jay Smoove~


Image by: Henry Battle


The caterpillar lays silently within it’s cocoon

Bravely, it embraces the day that it can finally break free

It squirms around in nervous anticipation, suddenly it’s happiness turns to dread

The walls began to enclose, darkness swallows

It pants for air, clutching, grasping to feel alive again


A seed planted begins to embark on it’s journey of reaching earth’s surface

It’s roots are firm and snug within the rich soil

It squeezes with great expectation, rising higher and higher

It’s delicate petals began to unfold

No longer buried; it blooms


Children burst with excitement, running, playing, dreaming

Water them, as the petals of the flower grow, let the children’s imagination take them to uncharted waters

Don’t treat them as the caterpillar, trapping them with fear and doubt

Don’t weigh them down with frivolous expectations

Let them break free from the cocoon to find their own dreams

Allow them to become beautiful butterflies; give them their wings

So they can soar, and feel no more

The heavy burden of societies confines

Let the children breathe


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Image by: Jimmy Law

The pain dwells deep inside, buried underneath the layers of self -preservation encoded in me since birth

I desperately seek to be tender, to be vulnerable, to allow my feelings to pour as easy as water flows from a busted pipe

I’m hurt though.

I tried ample times to truly be me.

“I talk too much. I’m weird. I’m too quiet, too serious, soooo smart.”

I’m never quite enough to blend in with the group.

I look back, sifting through the copious amounts of pictures that I have and I realize just how much I have never belonged.

Not athletic enough for the jocks. Not black enough for the blacks. Not man enough for the guys.

Enough. That phrase tends to haunt me.


It’s the word that has caused me to loss sleep. To walk away from countless job opportunities. To walk away from nursing school in my last semester.

Enough. Like art tattooed upon skin, this word is transfixed upon my brain

I hate it. I wanna go inside my mind, and shout to myself.

Be kind.

Be gentle.

Love yourself.

I whisper those words over and over. But there seems to be this barrier between my conscious and unconscious mind.

I filter every encounter through this this dirty word. Enough

Why can’t it just go away? Why can’t I just completely love myself?

Why can’t I simply sleep and feel rested?

Why can’t I turn my brain off?

Enough? Please? Enough

I’m so tired of being misunderstood….

~Jay Smoove~


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Image by: Salaam Muhammad

A black man slain, lays lifeless across the street.

I open my screen door, but somehow I’m not in disbelief.

I start my trek to school, a junkie approaches asking for money for food.

I sigh, grabbing a couple of dollars definitely not in the mood

Knowing good well, that the money will be used for drugs.

I shrug. Life in the projects.

I continue forward, up the long winding hill.

I finally make it to the place meant to fulfill.

School. My peace. The only place where I can thrive…

Here, I can ignore my natural inclination to fight to survive

How can death, drugs, gangs be the only thing I see

The color of my skin determined this fuc*ed up reality

If I learn and thrive, I’ll be able to leave

I’ll finally achieve all I ever wanted

Not black enough for the blacks, not white enough to truly belong

I’ll always be an anomaly, the outkast…

Where do I truly belong?

This is turning more into a sad song.

PTSD. Depression. Anxiety.

Why don’t blacks get this label?

Gangster. Thug. Murderer…

Black skin. Black skin. Why does my black skin offend?

~Jay Smoove~