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Jacqui Germain - “Drones” (Rustbelt 2014)

"There is an ocean below you that has been waiting to drown half your genome to death for years."

Performing during prelims at the 2014 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam.

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Keaton Henson // Grow Up With Me

never sober (freestyle)

I am not in love
I’ve just got a dopamine addiction
something sickening
need a couple of hits before bedtime
just to keep my attention
need to hit up a few women
just to feel like I’m living

I apologize for this
if you’re in my contact list
and you’ve been sending me pics
and sent me a kiss
for you, I wish for something better
than a red letter on your favorite sweater
scarlet letter sweating on your chest
you give the best head
for fifty miles
but I don’t like how you smile
while you do it, stupid
as if I’m giving you a gift
for letting you lick
when I really just want to take a sip
of this whiskey while you put up your feet
and we watch TV till we both fall asleep
that’s affection to me

it’s still not love but it’s closer
and when you come over
I’m never sober
are easier to find than my right mind
after midnight
but it’s all right

I shouldn’t drag you along
singing the same song
you want a relationship, I know it’s all wrong
you ignore my selfishness and take the blame
as if I’ll change one of these days
but I say I love you because I play the game
like a good girl should
because our lies give me lines
give me rhymes to write down

I pluck words from your mouth
like I’m pulling teeth
and all the women mean nothing to me
but you taste so sweet
and I’m self absorbed
always bored, can’t afford
to open up
and I swear I’d never smoke
so faking love is my choice drug

The Female Machine


She sleeps then she works she works than she sleeps.

Her passion and desires her long days make her tired.

Her life is complicated but can sometimes be simple.

She does not always have the time for special people.

Do not call but you can send a text her priority is what she has to do next.

She must win the race she must always be in the right place.

The tactical thinking can sometimes lead to drinking but she has to put in the time or else.

She spends most of her time by herself.

Yes she is fine but she does not have the time.

She glides through the streets into those hardworking doors.

Being on the way to work she already sees the flaws.

The dedication to her education carries her to the station.

Hard work pays off.

Stupid friends will get their names crossed off.

But she still remains soft.

Her stress will lead to success she will look her best when she is in that dress.

The real definition of real ambition

She is motivated but do not get her aggravated she is a machine that is why she is not frustrated.

Life is what you make it and there are many like her who will not fake it.


By Lloyd Adejubu

The Letter 'V'


V is for void - 

the days when all i did was plan the end,

the vigilant braids of leather and twine in my closet,

the vivid lurch of a tipping chair

Vicious, Zealous, Jealous, Hopeless, Lifeless, Dying.

V is for victory - 

motto of wars fought for the vulnerable future, or vows, or Vatican
(i always considered you holy, worshiped.)

Battles fought on plains where life and death meet

and every breath was sighed with a feeling

pills and healing words would not name

lest it came from the depths and swallow the life of their host.

V is for her voice - 

when she said “no, andrea” I remember that.

I remember how violently the door slammed behind my sister

My brother claimed he never even missed her.

I remember how valiantly my parents pledged life was still normal.

Vehement (it must have been her,) the luvox had nothing to do with it.

How little

value was placed on the first-born victim.

How easily shunned 

the virtue of her name, faith

has won wars and toppled great houses.


V is for your name - 

and the volume of the room

when you spilled a lifetime of wisdom on a crowd starving for validation

V is for the voltage that rang in your words

and in all of us

when they beat their way through the throngs

a hum of voices does inveigh against the powers that be

and each of us left illuminated, 

none more than me.

V is for the void - 

you left beside my right ventricle,

and my heart still murmurs your name sometimes.

It starts with a ‘V.’


Your love, however short-lived

remains my greatest victory, Victoria.

Andrea Medina 8/30/14 10:03 pm

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Ollie Renee Schminkey - “How to Love Your Body in Ten Easy Steps” (CUPSI 2014)

"Call it self-hate. Call it ‘I just need an alone day.’ Take an alone day every day."

Performing for Macalester College during prelims at the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.

You know, we can never hear
a true silence
because it only exists in the fragile emptiness
of a vacuum, and us with all our playing god
and our books of science and our history channel aliens,
we are incapable of hearing nothingness with working ears

this is what i know of silence: i know where
you are not.
i know when the funeral song ended it was the last thing i heard
for so long
except this tired old heart chugging like a freight train
and my breathing suddenly took up all this space so
even though around me i could see people sobbing into
their kleenex and even though that girl in the back was still
muttering comments to her giggling friend and even though
every eye on me was waiting for me to break into pieces
all i could hear was
the steady inhalation of my own body keeping time
and it was kind of ironic because if you’d asked anyone
we all thought that you’d be breathing and
i’d be the one in the coffin

and all i know of silence is that i’ve been looking for my emotions
under seat cushions and in my hair and in the lips
of people that mean nothing to me, i’ve held hands
with girls who deserve better and i’ve laughed with boys who wanted more and the whole time i’ve been waiting
for my sound to come back because
i’ve become a bird convinced that cement is the sky, i’ve
been slamming myself against the ground over and over and
over, waiting for the silence to finally fill with something
whether it’s sorrow or it’s bitterness or it’s just
some proof that my bones are not
a perfect vacuum
but nothing works not the pills not the booze i mean
i can’t even tell if i miss you
because nothing touches me nothing matters i have ripped open
my heart my skin my everything
i have done things that you would cry to hear
but you’re gone so why does it matter

and yesterday someone told me that if they died
nobody would care
and i don’t know how to tell them that
it’s completely true,
that the people around you stop caring about
that the silence you leave behind is so awful and
it will consume every nerve every cell every last
hope in their bodies

that in all that space there is somehow no room
for warmth or happiness, that i have
become so inhuman in these past months
i am struggling to remember why i bother functioning,
that your mother has taken to biting her nails until they bleed
and your father’s cabinet is full of liquor he
never used to drink and yesterday i saw your sister
and she and i exchanged glances and both of us
saw how the empty bell of our bodies rang out
with nothing
i mean you died i didn’t even cry because
you buried yourself with my life clutched between your fingers
and i swear to god some days i picture you just
punching your way out of that wooden box because
i can’t even miss you when every line of music and every
word that can express this
is just completely

and all i know of silence is
that this earth sometimes seems loud and
awful and filled with gunshots and arguments and
constant sinning but if you wait long enough
you also hear laughter and weddings and
elated singing

you left while the concert
was just

and all i know of silence is that
when people go, they leave these great cold
and all i know of space is that
humans can’t survive in it.

—  "I didn’t cry when my brother died" // "Stopping someone from suicide" // "Her funeral is today." (r.i.d)

This is the kind of love poem
that cleans my name from between your thighs—
only to lay it back into your mouth gentle and inviting so that I might hear the sound of me from you again soon. Maybe broken, maybe croaked and vulnerable in the quiver of your descent but if I didn’t crack something inside of you between these sheets tonight then clearly I’m not finished yet. I’d like to say that this – this is all rust, all familiar, all been there before and stained-worn over time; but tell me, does it scare you as much as me to say that all I see when I see you is rain? All fresh; all foundation, nothing but tender against my cheek despite the cold. This, this isn’t the love poem that gets dirty, but stands with bare feet in the clinging mud after your dark, lust storm and says I’d love you so hard you’d grow from it. I am transparent for you, all sweaty palms and unlocked knees.

This isn’t the kind of love poem that knows temporary, this isn’t the type of love poem that takes you once and dresses itself up again; this is take me home to your parents and make love to me from across the room over childhood pictures, this is set our past, our broken on fire and slow-dance upon the ashes, this is: if my heart’s more resistant than my core when it comes to letting you in, knock the door down, break the glass in—I dare you, make a mess of me.

—  "This is the Only Love Poem I Know" -valentina thompson
I Will Never Stop Loving H.E.R.

a poem for Hip-Hop

Kendrick Lamar splits open monsters
and fights on the virtue that to get stronger, 
you only go to battle with armies
that are capable of stampede.
Those who tread lightly are not worthy 
of your warpath.

Lupe Fiasco ties his tongue into a
cat’s cradle and whispers sweet everythings
into the ears of middle schoolers who
by the end of the night will know
the brutality of the Audubon Ballroom

Talib Kweli lectures behind a podium with
Howard Zinn to college-somethings
about the nature of history:
everyone is a writer
but the best authors do not pen the past:
only the victorious do.

A columnist in the New York Daily said that Hip Hop emphasizes
"the crudest materialism in which the ultimate goal
is money and it did not matter how one got it.”

Jay-Z sits on the steps of his former housing project with Oprah Winfrey,
then shakes the hand of the most powerful man of the free world.
He and Beyonce are American royalty
and their bloodlines are unconcerned with its
humble origins.

50 Cent demonstrates a contrasting irony
as his money grows up to be worth
his namesake tenfold and then some.

Sean Combs drapes the resting place
of The Notorious B.I.G. in jewels as
he whispers to his best friend,
Don’t worry, I made us enough money
that it’ll follow me into the afterlife.
We’ll be more than taken care of when we meet again.

Republican senate member Chris McDaniel
was quoted to say that Hip-Hop is a culture that
"values rap and destruction of community values
more than it does poetry.”

Kanye West and Nina Simone
swing dance in an orchard
as the farmers around them
peddle their strange fruit.

Tupac Shakur figures out the equation for immortality.
It is 6 albums, 8 movies,
and an understanding that
power moves create fame;
influential motion crafts legacy.

Andre 3000 writes a song about the
devastating separation between himself and his love.
The world cannot help but pulse to it.
Andre knowing this, before the second chorus
in Hey Ya!, laments:
"y’all don’t wanna hear me.
You just wanna dance.”

Across the internet, Hip Hop is not regarded as a musical genre.
Criticized for lack of originality, vapid lyrics, and a monotonous sound,
the overwhelming statement is that Hip-Hop has nothing to do with music.

The RZA and Just Blaze 
sit behind monitors and soundboards
as they begin to summon the spirits of 
Bill Withers, Gladys Knight and Curtis Mayfield
into the studio.

Hip-Hop has nothing to do with music.

Nicki Minaj simpers and then ferociously
spits at kings as they watch the queen conquer.
Female named hurricanes kill more
than their male counterparts.

Hip-Hop has nothing to do with music.

The beat slam rumbles the speakers of your
'98 Toyota Camry and transforms these
3 minutes and 32 seconds
into a parade etched into a dream that grips your shoulders
and the only way to release the tension that rides on top of you
is to take these songs as an instruction,
it was written like a manual.

Hip-Hop has everything to do with everything.

She doesn’t need to be defended,
        doesn’t need to explain herself,
        doesn’t need your permission.

Hip-Hop walks with the hypocrisies and the benedictions
of every great art form in our existence.

You only notice her because of
how fresh her hips swing,
how zealous her disciples are,
how scared you get when she uses those big words in conversation,
and you beg her, 

talk to me in a way that I can understand.

And you turn up the radio and feel safe.

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Sierra DeMulder - “Seven Layers of Hell”

"In this room, every person I have ever regretted fucking and the sound of their orgasm."

Performing at the book release party for Michael Mlekoday’s debut collection, The Dead Eat Everything.