My Unborn Son

I shouldn’t have to be afraid to have a little boy. 

I shouldn’t fear the day that a male child

springs forth from my body. 

It should be a day full of joy, not dread or fear. 

I shouldn’t fear or worry about the hurt that will follow, 

The hurt that is preordained simply because 

he will be born with a birthmark that is target shaped. 

The police will try to have his name on file before his first steps, 

so that they can watch his every innocent movement, 

so they can make sure he travels through 

the school to prison pipeline on time. 

Barely moments after having left my womb 

the world will proclaim him to be at a deficit 

all because he sprung out with brown skin from a brown skin mother 

whose parents were brown as well. 

Every day of his life will be a fight for survival, 

not just because of black on black violence 

but primarily because his school will try to starve his brain, 

the police will try to rob him of his sense of safety, 

and media will try to destroy every bit of dignity and pride he has. 

And I will have to fight every day to get him to realize 

that he can be so much more, 

that 21 doesn’t have to mark the end of his life, 

and that that hallowed hall education is far sexier than street cred even 

if both are designed to leave him behind no matter how hard he tries. 

I fear the day I will have to try to mend his wounds when his kin 

calls him a sellout, simply because he fought for the advancement 

that was promised but never given. 

And I fear knowing that no matter how far he comes

a bag of skittles, new kicks, a wallet, a wrong look, 

the wrong place or even winning presidency 

could lead to his demise because that bullet finally found its target, 

like it was his birthright. 

I want a son because I believe in his potential 

to be anything, to be any one 

but I am terrified of the day he would arrive, 

knowing all too well the challenges he will face 

just because of his race.

  

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Infection

I’m sure you thought you escaped 

that by only taking a glance it was 

a missed chance and nothing more... 

you were wrong. I saw you peek 

over your shoulder for another view. 

I knew you would, see by that point 

you were mine, my helpless fool, a 

victim of my womanly charms, you 

didn’t choose for take two... I tagged 

you, worked my voodoo on you from 

the moment you reached my view... 

there was absolutely nothing to do, 

see I am infectious, with a stare your 

attention is captive here... Can’t you 

already feel me wrapping myself 

around your tongue so that you only 

speak words of me? Soon your body 

will be mine too, you’ll be needing 

my touch like it’s the only thing able 

to nurture your soul... The image of me 

is now encompassing a sphere of 

your dome and the only thought residing 

is taking me home. I’d release you if 

I wanted to but not yet, not now.

Just stand there paralyzed as that glance 

transforms to a stare, then a fixation, 

your imagination stuck on the thought of 

me straddling you, and you entering there... 

I know how it goes... but now is not 

the time, and in moments you will find 

that burning physical desire subside 

as your veins rush this infection to your 

beating heart... I know you can feel 

the steady beat grow rapidly and all 

you need is to know me, but all will come 

in due time. See, I’ve got plans for you 

ever since we crossed our views, and 

my dear, there’s nothing left for you to do.

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At 13

My world revolved around Red. 

Red was his favorite color and 

he was my favorite guy. I wrote 

middle school sized love letters 

to him placing my heart on page, 

And at the coaxing of others and with 

a three-wayed audience, I read 

it to him one night and his reply 

was to dedicate a tune to me. 

“I’d Die Without You” was our song. 

It was the song that confirmed 

that he held a torch for me even 

if it was dimmer than the light 

my heart exuded. I spent evenings

glued to the phone talking him off 

the newest ledge hoping he’d 

instead leap for little ole me. I 

loved me some Red like those 

with oral fixations love them some 

Wrigley’s Big Red chewing gum. 

I’d chew over thoughts of him day 

and night. He was skinny, scrawny

skinny but that bothered me none. 

He had perfect caramel skin, a 

smile that melted my heart and 

a bullet between his lovely lips. 

Never fully sure why he walked 

around with it but he always held 

it by his lips in class, and I’d stare 

at it and at him as time passed. I 

suppose it was his sense of security 

and his tie to the street. It was 

part of the stories he’d mention 

in passing during his tales about last 

night’s activities. But thug or not, I 

fully embraced Red and hoped he’d 

embrace me too...October came 

I scrounged up the nerve to ask

him to be my Halloween Party date. 

He replied that as long as his girl

didn’t go he’d be all mine. And 

with this I was totally fine, until life

sideswiped me and my plans. Party 

night was designated as the time that 

mom and I packed, making a quick 

exit from our hell...that was the night 

Red was finally going to be under my spell... 


...As I placed my life in boxes, I 

wondered about the might have,

could have and should have been’s... 


Red is grown and finally married and 

that crush I had has long been buried. 

We catch glimpses once in a blue. 

Friends share updates on what is new

but at 13, Red was my complete world 

and I was oh so close to being his girl. 

by Arthur A. Marsh
by Arthur A. Marsh

Black Man, Black Woman, Black Child

Black Man


Overworked, underpaid

Working hard to make minimum wage

He struggles to put food on table and clothes on child’s back

And no one seems to give the man any slack

Carries the world on his shoulders and doesn’t know how to share his pain

And soon all the pressure will drive him insane


Black Woman


Works hard to fulfill the strong black woman image

But more often than not her spirit gets damaged

While taking care of child, man and self

She forgets to nurture her mental health

No one but Woman can understand the pain she feels

It’s not possible for anyone else to walk in her heels


Black Child


Miseducated in so many ways

And they can’t understand the price their parents pay

They see all and know all but are not heard

So they go and obey someone else’s word

Only they can see how badly they are frustrated

But in their parents’ head their story they never registrated


Black Man, Black Woman, Black Child


Why are they the way they are?

Why does the future for them seem so far?

Why must they all wear lonely scars?


They all have goals which they wish to achieve

But they need each other to succeed

And without the support they need

Their dreams, they will never achieve.

by Arthur A. Marsh
by Arthur A. Marsh

The American Drain

I step into the shower hopeful that my perfect 

petite porcelain American image will restore 

itself. But right now, right now my rotund bloated 

body is filthy, covered in hate, blood, and guilt. From 

split ends to hammer toes, I reek of rancid deeds. 


But it’s morning now, all mourning must be washed 

away with dawn. Wrong doings do not exist today. 

We are American. We do no wrong, commit no 

harm; we are perfection. Our history books are 

testimonies to our greatness. Slaves were willing 

workers, the natives happily donated their land for 

the manifestly designed plan. Never is it mentioned 

that the US established the 1900’s campaign for 

purity. That was solely Germany’s fault. The stealing of 

people, the raping of lands, the destruction of culture, 

the sterilization of its citizens were all acts washed 

down the drain. So why shouldn’t I be able to I wash the 

blood off of today? Why can’t I scrub his name 

off my lips? Why can’t I rinse this night from my brain? 


I curse the day I gave my heart to a stranger only 

to have it broken moments later. I hate my mentor 

for mentioning his name. Troy. Anthony. Davis. 

His story: Wrong choice with wrong people at 

wrong time doing wrong things caught in wrong 

situations with blue blood spilled permanently. 


It was the ambiguity of guilt and the price to be paid 

that tugged at my heart. It was a cost too high. A 

penalty too stiff for testimonies that changed. Even 

his compadre, his partner in crime turned prosecution’s 

star witness, the blue man’s golden boy was overheard 

confessing to the deed. A case built on lies, coercion 

and circumstantial evidence would cost a life. A life 

must not be spared! Justice must prevail! The cop killer 

has to die!! Someone has to pay! Who it was and 

proof of guilt didn’t matter, but they must be black.


Blue fingers pointed in black directions... fingers 

pointed indiscriminately discriminately. A familiar

story...Was Troy a Scottsboro Boy? 80 years later 

was the South still trying the same case? Had we 

learned nothing from the 9 hijacked lives? Or was 

it the lesson that black blood must be shed! Eye 

for eye, life for life! And the justices were blind and 

deaf to the reasonable and resounding pleas. 


We screamed, shouted, marched, signed, wrote, 

begged and with fists raised and baited breath 

we waited. “Don’t do this” were the pleas and 

prayers of the day. Blood spilled anyway. 

Hearts broke worldwide. Tears poured from eyes. 

Lynchings were once again legalized. 


And while the weight of the night slowed time 

and heavy hearts struggled against breathing easy’s 

impossibility, dawn still came. Day 

demanded its place in time and space even if 

Troy remains in yesterday, free of bleak tomorrows. 

The blood lust satisfied revealing us as bloated and 

disgusting/disgusted Americans. The carcass 

on our shoulders, blood smeared on our hands 

and on our faces, with salt burning our eyes. 

But none of this will stay, it will be washed away, 

this is America’s way. The drain will provide freedom. 


So I stand in the shower, I turn on the water, reach 

for my loofah, grab my soap and begin the ritual. I 

will try to wash away the grotesque image of self. 

I will scrub ‘til squeaky, ‘til porcelain, ‘til the scent 

of the bewitching hours’ stench is gone. The deeds 

done at night under flags, we will not speak of. 

I scrub. I scrub. And I scrub trying to remove his 

blood from my skin, his name from my lips, this 

regret filled night from my brain though knowing 

this lynching cannot afford be washed away. This 

cannot be status quo, cannot be the American way!

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