“Warning Sign” – Kristen J.

The Leeches Sucked Me Dry.

Peeling their teeth from my skin took every bit of fight I had left.
I am just re-learning how to survive
Though bloodless, and worn
Snatched of energy,
Robbed of love, baby,
I am tired
and I have nothing left to give.

If you were expecting me to dance
And lick your ego; keep you warm on the cold days
Or celebrate your wins,
You came too late.
I am barren waste land
My trinkets, though visible, are all tarnished
There is no part of me that hasn’t been through a war.
Instead of helping me rebuild
They etched their name in the sand, as to claim me conquered
You can see their footprints in my pupils, if you look close enough.
I don’t mean for coldness to greet you at hello
But it is the only defense I have left since they tore down my fortress.

I want to let you know that
I am saving all the good parts for myself,
Once I reclaim them again.
So don’t stop, don’t unpack your bags;
Don’t look for a home here.

“Ayn’s Axiom” – Lee

An excerpt from my journaling. Text used is the “Journals of Ayn Rand”.

The moral law of man must be based on his nature as man” (251). We come back to morality, which is a set of principles on what is right and wrong. If this doctrine is based on man, then the question presented by Rand is “what is man’s nature? (251)”. If we examine the moral law, we find that good and evil are disproportionate; goodness is greatly overshadowed by evil. What does this say about our universal nature? All living creatures have an aspect of their nature that aids in them in survival. Rand believes that man’s attribute is reason. “His brain is his only weapon (251).” Just like any other weapon, one must use it to improve the level of proficiency. Man has tapped into his tool of survival and created a world. Sartre believed that a man must exist before his purpose, and Rand expresses something similar. We are given our mind, but without any instructions on its use. We must be the ones to discover how to use it and then shape ourselves with that tool. This is how we discover our being, by crafting it with what we have been given, a mind born as a tool from our nature. “Man’s life ultimately depends upon every conclusion within his brain (252).” We can assume that conclusion is the final step of discovery; also assuming that this is true we must then ask how does one reach a conclusion within their mind? I believe it is by placing an action towards a thought. It is simply not enough for the brain to think, it must do. In order to do we must choose an appropriate action that represents that conclusion, which leads us to, as Rand says, “the ultimatum of man’s existence (252).” We were created to choose, to utilize a force other than instinct, and primal logic in order to survive. Choice is defined as “to decide that a particular person or thing is the one you want (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)”. What, then, is the importance of the want? It is want that will ultimately define us, needs are arbitrary because they are necessary for basic survival; but man will become a being once a want is discovered. There is proof in all of us, and within our daily lives. We seek, we dream, we wish, we hope. All of these abstract beliefs have one common element, want, and want is the tool that will sculpt the self from the mass of marble known as humanity…

Black republican – Anonymous

Woke up this morning
Steady yawning
Black republican
Horribly ignorant
Tuned into some Facebook rants
And I laughed at my tight fitting pants

Seems I’m getting bigger
Cats in a world we still tryna figure
With these 9 lives
I figure that 8 years for blacks to hide
For it should come as no surprise
The media reports we are in for demise

My pops favorite channel CNN
keeps my dad from forgiving his own skin
A man who shares the color of skin
A god forsaken
Black Republican
Some how
I hope we can be
Better at being bi-partisan
Then listing off my cardinal sins
The first being
A Black republican
Just sayin…..
peace ✌️

The Spectrum of Self – Manny Amaya

The self is complicated and simple at the same time. In my eyes one’s self is a spectrum. On one end you have face value stats. Your looks, your environment, and what you don’t mind consistently sharing with the world. Call it your involuntary self. It’s simply who you are day in and day out without trying. But on the other end – that’s when it gets tricky.

Can that “simple” self also be who you’re not? Could this simple “you” actually be a persona you tirelessly try to keep up? That’s when it gets complicated. If a person dons a persona mask when they leave the safe comforts of their room, but no one meets the real them, does the mask become who they really are? Deep right?

As for me – I have two layers. My unapologetic self. The daily Manny. That’s the surface. That’s my face value. But my dreams, desires, my demons; those aren’t for everybody. Those are for the people I trust. It’s not a different me, just a more complete me. Make sense? You don’t show all your cards first. But again that’s just me. So I like to stay in the middle of this spectrum of the self. I like not worrying about who I look like to other people, because I know that they truly and honestly won’t know me unless I want them to – and I like it like that.


“I am” by Cortland Gilliam

I am

equal parts faith and fear,

Insecurity erected by skeleton,

Made mortal by flesh

immortalized in melanin.

I am

The quiet kid of open mind and ear,

Eager to hear,

Yet deaf to the volume of his own voice.

I am

The dreamer who reaches for stars but

can only seem to cling to regret

–The one with the throat swollen from truths unshared.

I am

The willfully ignorant one

blinded in the light of his own sun;

The impatient, wandering wonderer.

Worthy, yet waiting for his someday to begin.


Moonbeam (A Melodie) – Lee

Verse I

We dance alone at midnight

With skin flowing like fresh milk

I feel our wings have taken flight

To carry me to your silk

Pale lips with matching cheeks

My hand kisses your face

And as bits of the universe leaks

I offer my heart in its place


Mirror mirror in the clouds

I hope that you can see

All that is hidden within shrouds

And show her that this is me


Stargazer, note taker, poem maker

My future is brighter than it seems

Heart breaker, now or later

I give it all for these moonbeams

Verse II

I’m standing below with open arms

Scars upon fragile wrists

Waiting for you to strike a charm

And grant me a lunar kiss

Celestial Queen I miss you

Floating only in the shadows

I’m unable to taste your hue

Until released from your gallows



Verse III

Truth is I’m staying up late for you

Passing off on sleep to lay up with you

I’m not sure if this is love

But your rays keep shining from above

Keep me company in my dark days

Watch out for the occasional craze

Because your wisps of light

Can make me feral for the night

But there’s silver in your tongue

And Platinum in your soul

Royalty is what we’ll become

When we give away our whole

Not half or less than

See I’m not here to play

My goal is to be your moon man

A life with you is what’s at stake


Random interlude conversation.

Band coming 2018.

“Reverse System of Care” Written by Crystal Cruz

Interlude: I wish I knew how to love like we breathe.

Naturally inhaling for ourselves first.
Taking a breath to ready our bodies for the flight ahead, before spending energy on what or who lies ahead.
I seem to be doing this backwards.
Barely breathing before using all I have for loving what’s in front of me.
Releasing love, and readying myself with nothing to replenish what I’ve lost.
That’s okay, as long as you have someone breathing into you. As you are for them. But in the hollow, I must inhale on my own.  

I wish I could inhale..
Inhale the serenity of a fresh start when I open my eyes.
Breathe in the untouched version of today, untainted by any demise from yesterday.
Inhale the nutrients of my own entity,
Energizing myself with the codes of my own complexity
Inhale the resilience that comes with being pushed by the wind,
Synthesizing and feeding off of love that only comes from within.

But instead I only inhale..
Inhale to transform the toxins of pain into a purity of love no malice could contain
So I may, fill my lungs, with the endurance to speak a thousand lovely words for someone else’s strength to regain.
Exhale?..No I won’t complain..
About how tired I feel from spending so much energy
breathing out this love that’s not pouring back into me.
I didn’t notice how I wasn’t breathing on my own
until I look around and no one’s giving me the love I once known
And yet I still give, no hesitation – undoubtedly
Expecting nothing in return so I’m consumed with anything but me.
Releasing this gas, this fire..igniting, sparks…they’re flying
and me?
Out of breathe. Depleted. Nothing left.

When did I ever inhale to exhale?
Exhale..When do I get rid of what’s not good for me?
When do I know when to stop giving?
To decide that I need to love myself a little more to start living
Maybe not a little more, but more so what come first.
Default set to exhale love but that’s a little reversed.
Synthesizing from within to selflessly expend it forward, a skill not many can do.
Take my own advice: you gotta do this for you.
Cause at the end of day I can’t feed others with no food to make the soup with,
I could just,
take a little time to breathe and restock,
Shelves full of love made from yours truly don’t need to watch the clock.

So I will Inhale…
All my wants all my dreams.
I am my own sunshine and I’m bursting at the seams.
Breath in my own rays, let it prepel me
Tribulations may come but I am all I can be

The unknowns of how the other feels
About what’s fabricated or what’s real
The questioned motivates or the genuine care
About why the world feels like it’s ending and is any of it fair?

A new beginning each day to set me free
Only then can anyone have all of what is left of me.

Written by: Crystal Cruz

“I’m Me” Written by Crystal Cruz


People judge you by what they first see.

You ever find yourself sayin “bitch you don’t know me”?


They tell you what to think and how to act

but when you categorize me you limit yourself – and that’s a fact.

I am…you can fill in the blank,

cause I don’t really care what you started to think.

We all have flaws.  They make us who we are. But I’m not running from mine anymore.

I am Puerto Rican. No, I don’t know Spanish. I bet you’ll eat my rice and beans though.

I am from New York, yes I have an attitude – and it’s “attractive” unless directed at you though.  


I am hip hop, and not this new school yo gotti shit, I’m talkin Bone Thugs, Nas, and Cameron shit.

To everyone from past whose words left me shook:

You ain’t shit, but I’m glad my aura made you look

cause those words became a slave to a page in my rhyme book

See if I fucks with you its cause you relate to me

and not cause you’re someone I pretend to be

Don’t hate me for my ability

to chill with a culture that technically ain’t me

I call that empathy

-and I am Damn good at it…

And another thing- don’t hate on me because of my size

you’re just as beautiful with those hips and thighs

and if I had it my way we’d switch or even compromise –

Well, at LEAST that’s what I used to say,

but now I know better than to ever wish I was different than how God made me

this body, this mind, was given to me for a purpose and I wear it Proud on the Daily

I am who I am, and I’ll be who I’ll be, so let me tell you if you cannot see…

My name is Crystal Danielle Cruz..please do not get confused

it’s spelled C.R.U.Z. , no E at the end I’m not a Chevy –

I will LAST YOU, cause I’m a ride or die chick

and if you don’t know  that then baby you didn’t make the list.

I declare to not let my happiness be measured by an opinion that’s not mine

my kindness will lift you up and tear you down at the same time

So my beauty is not to be deceived.

I don’t care what you think – it’s about what I believe

Fuck the world and the standards of society…cause my soul is best served, when I’m Just Me.

~The Vocalist



basically, I’m the shit. and more – By: Kristen Johnson

[ode to Nikki Giovanni’s “Ego Trippin”]

I am the beginning of a sentence 
and the period that ends it.

I am the love, you yearn for,

the comfort you seek. 

I am the jolt in your cup of caffeine

the quench to your thirst.

I am your gift,

and I am your curse

I am the rhythm laced in this single verse.

I am the subject and the verb

I am the herb that heals you

I am the flame at the top of the candle mourners kneel to.
I am the sunshine and the rain.

A cloud of promise or pain,

depending on how you move me.

I am half woman, half amazing,

I am one of the stars you see when gazing and I am 

blazing like the sahara, 

    I am the equator’s heat.
I am made of magic and fairy dust, 

and a little sugar for taste.

I’m the song and the ballot, the poem and the prose,

the thorny stem of a rose,

    don’t fuck with me.

I am the one brings men to their knees. 
You still don’t see? 

Baby, I am the warmth in the breeze

I am the honey carried by busy bumble bees,

I nourish the earth. 

I am survival.

My smile is staining 

like the ink on this scrap of paper,

Making my mark, my voice lingering in the air like vapor,

long after I am gone.
I am gone, 
Past the days of uncertainty, and questioning my existence

Past the moments spent watering down my name,

my sunbaked skin,

my fire burning within. 

here is my disclaimer,

here is my resume.

I am giving you a glimpse 

of what it might be like 

to walk beside me,

or hold me in your arms.
I am letting you know 

there is no speculation in my love,

no assumption. 

there is only certainty, only this

only yes, only free.

and I can guarantee, 
I am the one that you’ll miss. 

Lost [by:Daisy Kaur]

I see life,

But I can’t figure out how to live.

In a world full of fists ready to fight.

A world with hearts holding hate.

A world of mindless mass murderers

who smile wide but secretly wish your rights rest in peace.

Six feet under, amid dirt as cold as their shoulders,

Alongside your hope for equality

and prayers for progression.

I see humans,

But I fail to see any humanity.

I suppose it must have gotten lost

Between the tears in the fabric of our society.

But I guess you can’t blame humanity;

Because after all this,

I feel lost too.

    – trying to make sense of the world.