The Xaverian Weekly gets second rights to publish from The Antigonish Review Poet Grow-Op

Some parents will tell you

it takes a village to raise a child. 

To teach her how to say please 

and thank you

how to apologize when

she’s done something wrong

and mean it

how to apologize when she hasn’t 

and sound like she means it.

They’ll tell you it takes a village 

to teach her how to add.

One plus one is two,

two plus two is four,

Girl plus life is beautiful,

and don’t you ever forget that.

They’ll tell you it takes a village 

to teach her to subtract  —

the bad from a good day, 

herself from a bad day,

the lies from the things 

they will try and tell her.

It takes a village to raise a child 

they say.

To teach her that good things 

come in threes,

but not to believe in superstitions 

and that her thoughts

are only worth a penny

if she doesn’t market them for more.

To teach her that the sky is blue, 

except sometimes it’s not  — 

and maybe not knowing is okay 

but she’ll ask anyway,

because it takes a village

to raise a child who asks questions, 

just like it takes a village

to raise a child who won’t.

But sometimes,

a village will fall apart  —

rooftops turning to dust

as walls fall down around her

and so sometimes

she’ll have to build her own. 

She’ll build lopsided skyscrapers 

with no stairs

out of the lego bricks she’s saved, 

then fill them with women

who bend themselves into ladders 

to help each other up.

Or, she’ll build long, low houses

with no roofs

so that she can imagine she’s flying 

when she lies down to sleep each night.

She will collect people 

like postage stamps 

and fill her lego houses 

with the ones that stick.

The red house on the corner

will be for the first boy

to ever take her out for coffee.

Next door, her first best friend,

and in her village you will find teachers  — 

the good ones

who taught her how to love herself

and how to make 5’2” look tall  —

but also those who told her not to speak, 

that her voice wasn’t worthy  —

because it was through rebellion

that she learned to shout.

Some parents will tell you

it takes a village to raise a child, 

but sometimes

the village you’re given

isn’t the one that you need.

Innocence and Experience


Collected Poems

“I to E”

When did I become afraid of acting differently?    

When did I want the attention you had?

When did my childhood freedom stain?

When did I change?

My voice changed from conformity to maturity.

Self serving and energetic, I was just dying loudly. 

Now I keep my peace.

I acted as if cool, but truthfully, my deep chasm I hoped to fill.


Change did occur for me, 

from place I to E.

Yet, I’m still growing;

I’m living quietly on this journey.


The beat of the soul thumping again and again.

Seeking to burst out of today’s oppression. 

The freedom song. 

The story breathes until the novel is shut. 

But for now, the narrator’s voice speaks loudly, softly, quietly.

Still developing its plot line: intro, climax.

Lastly, resolution.

“The Bridge”

Between us is a gap

made by myself

forming a vast space between you                          and I.

Yet, the bridge we build is in fact pulling our two continents closer

closing that man-made hole.

And when I look down from up here, seeing the pit incre



retract, I realize this gap helped me understand we are different.

And that’s alright.


Hold Me Brother


Collected poems


Everywhere I go

I want you to be

not just to simply be with me

come on man, I’m not that needy

but check it

I want you to see what I saw

You might like to smell

what I smelled

touch what I touched 

feel what I felt 

it’s just a thought

just an idea

that’s how we 1st appeared


All around me were iron bars 

till I found freedom 

untapped, untouched 

I had barely scrapped the surface of love

till deep down, you dug me out

How can I owe a debt 

to the one I love?

Can I be 


of the way you inspired me?

I’m greatly moved 

I fly free

“Black Artist Boy”

You have subtitles that come across so strong

your imagination and sense of feeling 

Is it with you I belong? 

Your world I long to enter 

yet I am 


to be surrounded by your strength 

My, my, my

you could swallow me 

Would you dare use it on me?

You are everything 

I want 

Black artist boy 





Can I be myself before it’s too late?

Will I see what is in front of my face? 

Black artist girl

don’t be foolish

be with him 


build a world 

Black artist boy 


My Hair is Not Your Playground


“Oh, I love your hair!” You say, as you reach out to touch it.

I wince and half-smile as your fingers tangle up in my Afro like an intruder,

an unwanted invasion on a Monday afternoon.


Not too long after, come the questions.

A flood I did not sign up for when I walked into the gym,

nor when I walked into the X-ray room at the dentist’s

or even when I walked into our shared workspace.


“I swear it was long last week, did you get a haircut?” You ask.

Like on many other occasions, I try to explain the concept of hair extensions

and protective styling, but your face scrunches up in confusion,

and only more questions come.


You don’t understand how I could possibly sit for 8 hours to get my hair braided,

and how on earth do I use a needle and thread to attach a weave on?

You can’t fathom how my hair could shrink when it comes in contact with water,

“Where did all of your hair go today?”


I wish you knew your questions were exhausting.

That, although asked innocently (I presume), 

I’ve already answered those same questions five times earlier today.

I wish you knew that sometimes, I just want to sink into the crowd unnoticed,

but your loud compliments and exclamations over my new hairstyle quash my


If you only knew also, your claims that I look exactly like your friend Theresa,

because we have the same braids, are neither flattering nor rational,

perhaps you would consider my peace before you spoke.


It’s okay to be confused when I go from long, blonde hair to a shorter Afro next week.

It’s okay to ask because you do not understand the complexities of my crown.

I too, have had my own questions about it.

Questions for God about why He did not bless some of us with straighter, looser curl


or why life couldn’t be a little simpler than it is with this kinky mess?


But this kinky mess is my kinky mess.

To have, and to hold, and to love till death do us part.

I no longer question the tight, sometimes frustratingly undefined nappy curl of my


because I’ve come to understand that my hair sets its own boundaries,

its own standards of beauty.

It defies gravity and stands up for what it believes.

(If you don’t believe me, look for me on a windy Nova Scotian day).


So, the next time you feel the strong urge to run your hands through my hair without


or when you suddenly feel the irresistible itch to play a game of 21 questions with me,

stop, take in a deep breath, remain calm and repeat after me: