Tag Archives: #spokenword

When We Arrived presents: broke is a fixed state a poem by Brad Walrond

i am broken reborn
broke is a fixed state

they tell me my wounds are lessons in healing

i cry because
it sure does not feel like it
i cry because
i am ever a wound in progress
a wound with a past tense
a slim jagged future in sight

this scar is a ruse
and i cry in ink because my tattoos
are all i have left to prove
i was here



“The voice is where the magic begins. It is with this sound that the spell is spoken and sent across the universe.” ~ Brad Walrond

Poet, writer, performer and activist Brad Walrond was born in Brooklyn New York to first generation Caribbean parents from Barbados. Brad began writing and performing at the age of 24 when he was asked to participate in a theatrical production curated by the legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte.

Shortly thereafter Brad discovered a thriving community of artists, writers and performers at the Sunday Tea Party at Frank’s Lounge in Brooklyn. The Tea Party was an instrumental incubator as Brad honed his craft soon becoming one of the foremost writers and performers of the Black Arts Movement of ‘90s. It was at the Tea Party and other venues like the Brooklyn Moon Café, the Nuyorican Poets Café and numerous venues in and around NYC that Brad had the pleasure of sharing the stage with renowned writers, poets and artists including Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets, legendary actress/writer Ruby Dee, Erykah Badu, Saul Williams, Jessica Care Moore, Mos Def, Liza Jesse Peterson, Universes (Then: Mildred Ruiz, Stephen Sapp, Flaco Navaja and Lemon Anderson) and Craig “muMs” Grant.

Brad’s creative voice is rooted in an activist tradition. While pursuing his creative path Brad also served as Assistant to the National Program Director of Pathways to Teaching Careers and as Director of Education at FACES—the historic non-profit in Harlem New York first to respond to the HIV pandemic targeting at-risk populations of color.

Brad received his BA at the City College of New York and received a full scholarship to pursue is doctoral studies in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. Brad’s battle with major depression upended his studies and he chose to pursue an alternate career in the culinary arts. Brad has had the privilege to cook at some of the finest world-class kitchens in New York City.

For nearly a decade, due to a demanding work schedule, and a persistent depression Brad became disconnected from his creative voice. Fortunately with what he attributes to much prayer, perseverance and professional medical care Brad has found his way back to the rich echoes of his creative voice.

The voice is to a poet what point of view is to a visual artist. It is your signature footprint on the creative landscape. Brad has returned with fervor to his prodigious creative terrain and is claiming his rightful place in it. He has been missed. He is more then just a poet or a speaker of words; he is a weaver of spells and bringer of passion and light.



after all

She said all it would take is $10
to sense the spirits around me
and read my future.


But I tried to tell her it wasn’t me I was worried about

my prayers are blown to the
sunset gray ridden waves
that have washed my wishes and haunts

my prayers are for the
street prophets freestylin’

thinking they showed me love and let me slide
ignorant to the active place of genocide
in his backyard and her bosom.

I pray for abandoned children with two parents

I pray so long sometimes I fall asleep
and dream of the ancestors

I dream of heaven

I pray for women with deep
uterine itches
that only her missing child can scratch.

I pray poets with purpose
plant potent seeds for
progression with poise

I pray the baroque docks
so other poets can simply stop.

I pray this teaches those that know
that they don’t
so we can hold each other.

The incense hypnotized the seconds
as she checked her clock

she ended up
giving me $20.

nikki skies for National Poetry Month

tiresome tuesday

applaud Her broken heart poetry
then pass Her a notepad and fresh ink

She dies when rape is spoken of so desensitized.

Like a chipped fingernail or
wrecked car She can call and get
a claim number for
It doesn’t get renewed!

She just let it get used and disown its’ power
so next time he wants to
punch it
or break her back
or dig in dem guts
It won’t hurt

She chose to be one of the “unreported” stats.
I confronted my homophobia.
I re-defined my definitions of rape.
15 years later, I wrote The Town Dance.


PURCHASE AT The Town Dance Paperback and Kindle

no rhyming tonite

hands holding

The rally in his mouth no longer
moves me
His ante dotes no longer describe / how I feel
the flavor in his analogies offend me
cause he’s naked and happy,
I’m fully clothed and ready for another love war

I no longer desire the rhythm of his walk,
the gutsy bass of his laughter.
Our relationship is no longer melodic.

No more poetry.
We need to talk.

from the book, “Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips” – nikki skies

Becoming Water for New Seeds

2014-10-28 14.02.07

You are
the idea the African saw through the cracked wood of
the Henrietta Marie
You are
the seed of the new woman
the ecstasy in the fire
the gospel after poetry venues
praised on sidewalks and parking lots
you are now a prophet amongst preachers
burdened with the beauty of the entire rose
pick the thorns or keep them
just stay in tact / you came prickly and prissy
with a rampant river under your feet
your commitment will be constantly tested
through people using revolution to work our personal
they’ll say you don’t fit the role / don’t look natural / ain’t ready to fight
you’re not committed to the destruction of the system
and they’re right
because you are a Creator / never forget that
You are a Creator
and you destroy the idea of death in order to live.

A Poem


It’s a poem if the words can live without you.

If the allegory can make blinding light shine from tombs
awaken memories
breathe them back to – reality.

It’s a poem if,
there are possibilities for similies linking people
from fallen walls to picket signs
drawing scents of lemons
shake hands of farm girls to vegetarians
likening poetry to biblical days
with your comrades
logging different chapters
forcing the community for just one night
to look
directly into the sun
That’s a poem.

from the poetry book, Pocket Honey, Wind & Hips

a story in haiku

After the fall storm
comes a rainbow and the smiles
stay / don’t hide from us

Laugh at what they taught
hear my verbs and protect us
be father to all.

Stop gambling your seeds
for a night to feel human
let divineness shine.

Open / not enter
love your womb and its’ future
don’t be forgotten.

I preserve my world
in journals so my children
can eat without me.

nikki skies

single white woman raising a little black boy

Actually, I think they both already left
but still there for the little black boy
with fair skin.
Whose hair and lips tell the world who his daddy is

I hope someone is there to hold her
when her sons eyes go to a place she won’t be able to reach.
a depth she can’t fathom one humanly possible to survive
cause, she’s gonna’ leave the father.
he works sporadically
nothing reminiscent of her father
who bought home the steak and potatoes
he says / it kills his spirit
and she don’t understand that.
call him lazy.
they yell through the walls
she’s gonna’ leave
and live life as a single white woman raising a little black boy

he’ll / only believe the world stares at him
cause he looks exotic for so long
then he’ll feel cornered
and she’ll beat at the walls and tell him he’s free
until she’s blue in the face,
with coruscate eyes
he’ll look at her and tell her
something is killing his spirit
…she just don’t understand that
but she’ll dare not call him lazy or leave his side
so she yell at the walls

I hope someone is there to hold her
when her sons eyes go to a place she won’t be able to reach.


We need passion for life
We need passion like ancestral sweat on jungle spring African violets
We need passion like the quieting of an infant’s cries for his mother’s nipples
like the drying desire to drink
let us do what we do best
detach from the world and all it has to offer
like the fall of sky tall pine trees
like a Muslim nauseous at the smell of swine
let us get away from here!
Like we did the first time
let us hungrily read Genesis to Revelation
and discover one another
let me be imperfect
not what the music and magazine say
but who I am this very second
the extent of me and you in divine disguise
the scent of me in heat for some passion
Like a 4th of July dog scratching against the screen door
We need passion for life.
We need passion like surrendering in a rain shower,
like the uncontrollable moans of a multiple orgasm
let me get this out!
let me get this out!
like the vulgar urges of bulimia
let me get this out!
I yearn this
I yearn this like Thursday evening paychecks
want me
want me like the smell of your mother’s kitchen on Sunday
protect me
protect me like a father holding his child’s hand
let us discover God together
We need passion
Like the heaving chest of a woman giving birth
Like the finger sore of BB strumming the blues
Like a poem with a thousand metaphors
Let us make love over and over and again
We need passion like, like, like…right now.

nothing to manage


Saturday afternoon truth
told by thick brown hands,
stories of survival and struggle until both
sound like all the names of the black mamas in the neighborhood

Hymns and laughter
imparted in between sections of greased scalps
that smell like coconut or yesterday’s frying oil

Here, little girls get to disappear
feel their mother’s heart beat
as her fingertips massage away her little girl worries
not turning the jump rope fast enough
getting picked last during recess for dodge ball

on the floor between her mother’s legs
the little girl’s father appears in a new light
fresh and foul
like discounted gizzards
she learns why to save
why the pulled out back seat of her grandfather’s Cadillac is a
treasure in the garage

safe Saturday rituals become
sanctified Sunday religion
and all this from sitting in between her mother’s legs
getting her hair