Tag Archives: writing

When We Arrived presents: washing blood from your hands a poem by Conney Williams

she cheated on me
without my permission
committing violence in a way
Manson only imagined
when he visited the Lobianco’s
she even asked
for my assistance
wanted me to inflict my own wounds
cut myself deeper
with the sincerity of lies
no blinking
no change in facial expression
a polygraph couldn’t detect
her deception
lowering her body temperature
to Antarctica levels
she is Novocaine
compassion and mercy
escaping the prison of her  lips
like coup d’état refugees
she has done her grieving
worn her best black
it is me dumbfounded
that she has died on our Calvary
no more resurrections
she has a new disciple
hiding prayers
between her thighs
she wants to grant them
like she saved me in 2007
i am indigent (lover)
sleeping inside a love..decayed
because she is already gone
she has left the gravesite
poured the dirt and
buried what was once us
beneath the moans
of her new Messiah



Conney D. Williams is a Los Angeles based poet, actor and performance artist originally from Shreveport, Louisiana where he worked a radio personality. He has two collections of poetry “Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet (2002)” and his most recent, “Blues Red Soul Falsetto (2012).” His poetry has been published in various publications, newspapers, and anthologies (Voices From Leimert, At the End of the Day, Drumming Between Us). He is the Artistic Director at the World Stage Performance Gallery where he facilitates the Anansi Writers Workshop. He is a community activist and has worked with youth for over 25 years. He is formerly an ordained minister and Youth Pastor in the Church of God in Christ. He has hosted a weekly cable television show and also recorded a gospel rap cd called L.I.F.E (1985). He has been the Poet’s Stage Coordinator for the Leimert Park Village Book Fair since its inception; and also the Annual Leimert Park Village African Art & Music Festival for three years (2012-2014). He has performed his poetry on television, radio (KJLH, KPFK), universities (USC, UCLA, Claremont, CSLB, Antioch, CS-Northridge, and others), cultural events & organizations (Black Arts Festival, CAAM), for the City & County of Los Angeles, across the U.S., and he regularly curates poetry events in Los Angeles.



When We Arrived presents: Destroy in Order to Rebuild (Ferguson) a poem by Natalie Patterson

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

This is not about a single boy being shot and killed in the street
This is about black boys being shot and killed in
the streets by a white men who took a vows to protect and serve
And how too often for the comfort of other black bodies do the shooters go free

This is not about Michael Brown
Not about Darren Wilson
But I wish it could be 

This is about america and its broken promise for freedom
About children not growing into adulthood
This is about a community continually being asked to have grace in the face of our children being murdered
About life spans being cut short
This is about buried bodies and eulogies

This too is about Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Oscar Grant
About justice being elusive
About rage and war
About white people not owning their racism
About white guild and obliviousness
THIS is about an anger you can not comprehend from the luxury of your privilege
So be mindful of your mouth because the world is listening
Listening to the lack of compassion for a community in mourning
No, broken windows will not bring him back but it sure does drown out the sound of sobbing
Sure does distract from the confirmation that we live in a place that doesn’t give a fuck about my existence
Mutes the realization that people will call you an animal for expressing rage in the only way you have left
This is about race 
And how normal it is not to care about people that don’t look like you
Easy to speak to something you know nothing about

Have you ever seen life leave a body?
Ever felt wronged and had not a thing you could do about it?

This anger is about having to explain to white people on twitter and instagram why buildings are being burned
Because that is the only way to get your attention
Standing politely asking to have a conversation about race breeds discomfort and moans about playing the race card but
What do you know of being born black?
What do you know of the conversations black parents must have with their children about the way the world will treat them?
What do you know of a mourning like this?

I ask you these things because this is where healing begins
The second we get past political correctness and tell the truth
It is hard to wake up somedays knowing people that look like me are used as target practice
Knowing that my brother has not and may NEVER be safe
That I am safer because of the illusion my skin and eyes provide
The truth is, some days I want to hide from embarrassment because we are so disconnected from humanity
Value things over life itself
Choose to ignore the complication of rectifying inequality
and wonder why buildings are burning

Do not confuse the fire during a riot as misplaced rage
They are sending smoke signals to the ancestors
Begging for the justice our government fails to provide
Ferguson is performance art
Find the meaning in the broken glass
In the de-constructed police cars
Find the irony in how quickly the tear gas flies from hands meant to protect
Their voices have been ignored but these burning buildings cannot be

I pray we find our humanity
Find truth and justice
Learn to listen past our bigotry
and let this city destroy in order to rebuild.


When did you know you were a poet?

It took me a long time to believe that what I was writing in my room could fall under the same category as the greats. I really struggled with claiming that title but I remember asking Brutha Gimel, a fellow poet, when I first was beginning to take myself seriously how I would know when it was ok to call myself a poet. His answer was simple “You don’t have to tell a tree it’s a tree.” That has always stuck with me. I have always known I wanted to say important things, it took until I was 20 to know that poetry would be the way I would do it.

Do you have a favorite style of poetry? If so, what is it?

I really love free verse. There is a structure to my writing naturally so I don’t need rules. I started writing for the freedom of it, so free verse it is.

What can poetry teach us about life?

Everything has transferable truth. Every single thing. Therefore, poetry has the possibility of teaching us everything we want to know. It is the wise person who can learn from listening or reading and fully understand the experience without having to learn it by doing. I have learned so much about the world by listening to people sharing the way they see and experience life.


Natalie Patterson is a poet with the heart of a photographer, she is about capturing the moment. She started her journey with poetry at the age of 19, while in College at California State University, Los Angeles. She spent 10 years at the nation’s largest poetry venue and worked her way to being the first female host and producer in the 17 year history. Natalie has traveled the country on a college tour, has appeared in film, tv and documentaries. She has been Director of Poetry for Collective Voices Foundation and currently is Vice President of SisterSupport.org, a non-profit committed to the advancement of women. When she is not traveling for speaking engagements, consulting for Sephora or teaching her workshop Re-Connecting: Vulnerability & integrity, she is working on new ways to use her voice to inspire other to live fully self expressed. To find out more about Natalie or her work: www.natalieispoetry.com

When We Arrived presents: A God Spell a poem by Spencer Allen

I may be labeled just a poet
But, I do not write just poems or prose
These words write scriptures
Tried / Tested and proven to be truth
Facts written in the form of a conceptual
So… as to tap into your right cerebral
Cortex…. Creative memorization
In hopes that you / yourself can transfer the stories
Connect with the similarities
We are all of one… And one in all

I may be labeled just a poet
But, I write from a trinity that consist
Of math / science and spirituality
Through that portal, “My eyes have seen the glory”
Have watched as the gates opened up
I live of what’s within all of us
Have experienced… Experiences that are undeniable
Yes… In the past…
I have lied and been lied to
I have cheated and been cheated on
I have robbed and been stolen from
I have used women and have been used as a man
I have been loved and I have been in love also
I have made hell of money, while being spiritually broke
I have at times ran with the pack to now walking alone
I’ve crawled through the darkness
Only to walk out into the light
Brought out the God from within me
No need to believe in someone outside of me

I may be labeled just a poet
But, all that I conceive / want / speak / achieve
Aspire / dislike / put off or take on / struggle with
Or balance with ease / succeed
All… Everything resides within me
You see… Within the equation of space and time
I do not mind
Being labeled just a poet
Because I know every day I am walking closer
Towards becoming more and more
Like the God from within
A God/Man!


What is it about poetry that resonates with you? Continue reading When We Arrived presents: A God Spell a poem by Spencer Allen