Tyree Jackson:

 tyree Jackson

Black Body, Queer Spirit

(See also his website!)

(Tyree I. Jackson was born and raised in the Williams Bridge section of Bronx, New York. He enjoys writing poetry themed around Immigration, human rights, and LGBT issues. In November 2011, his poem The First Thirteen was awarded a Citation of Excellence at an event commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides of 1961 at Sarah Lawrence College. He currently attends Sarah Lawrence College where he is studying Social Psychology and Ethnic and Diaspora Studies, and Writing. When he is not writing poetry, he loves exercising, listening to music of all genres, and watching movies.)

Half A Man

Intolerance is thrown at his body in the shape of daggers.
He wouldn’t dare shed a tear if a blade penetrates his skin.
Instead, his body cradles her words as a mother would to her newborn child.
But he is no child to his mother—for he is only half a man.

Her shame for him casts tears in his eyes, and strikes fear in her heart.
She would mold his body into shapes that eventually fell apart.
“My child” she cries “What’s wrong with my child?”
She couldn’t believe he was her son—her only one.



Where should a boy go to hide? 
To retreat from the battles his sexual
identity has to face?
And to pray that tomorrow will be a better day?
Who can he talk to concerning his problems? 
When it is clear that his parents gave birth to a
boy he’s not?
And when its plain as day, his older siblings disown
him for not being able to take physical pain?
His cries of “Mommy, Mommy!” shriek from his swollen lungs.
And after the ordeal is done, he is told to “Be a man and grow some.”
So tell me, where should a boy go to scream? 
Or, where should he go to cry?
Tell me, where should a boy go to dream?
Because tomorrow, he may not survive.


Black Body, Queer Spirit

Silence: noun, “Refusal or failure to speak out.
My body, covered with the majestic colors of the rainbow.
The decisions I’ve made, engraved on stone—this is who I want to be.
My identity, concealed within cobble-stoned walls of my insecurities.
Unlaced from the very fabric I considered to be my home.
My mouth, filled with tar—I can’t tell my family the truth.
I can’t speak of it. 
I faced the glare of those who disapprove of my existence.
Assorted taboos are thrown at my very difference like stones.
I am labeled derogatory words—words profoundly tattooed on my brain tissue.
The tears I’ve cried would spill over in cups.
The bruises’ I’ve endured would make healing impossible.
I can’t speak of it. 
Torn between two worlds— however, forced to adapt to both.
My emotions drained; my hopes of liberation depleted; my dreams of existence, misplaced in the sands of time.
I can’t speak of it. 
Acceptance is what I desire most from people.
Love me for who I am.
Let me show my true colors like an art exhibit.
Let me voice my opinion as spoken word.
Let me break the very shackles that render my voice useless.
Let me break the silence.


I Kept On Walking

One day, I gave it all up.
And boy oh boy, when I tell you.
My sight, weakened.
I fell into a hollow crack of failure.
The pit was black as the depths of a mysterious ocean.
And the walls cold as an ex-boyfriend’s defiant stare.

My feet, dried in cement blocks.
And believe me, when I tell you.
I tried to walk.
And yes, the task was a difficult one.
This hollow prison echoed my cries of pain.
But I’ll tell you.
I lifted my legs with all my might; until I fell on the floor.

But still, I kept on moving.
No matter the obstacle I faced along the way.
And oh yes! When I tell you, as I continued to crawl.
Those cement blocks began to break.
Oh yes they did.
So I kept on crawling.
Crawling until I saw the light from the crack I fell into.

I heard the cement blocks crumble to the floor and echo.
I felt my feet regaining strength.
I saw the light intensifying.
I emerged from the hollow crack of failure; liberated.
My eyes, blinded as if first opened.
And believe me, when I tell you.
Once my sight became clear, I kept on walking.


Act Like A Man!

I’ve bitten my tongue one too many times.
Tasting my blood of defeat.
But above all else, I wish I would just speak.
To tell him to shut the fuck up already.
And show him that I’ve tolerated his degrading uses
of the words, queer, gay, and fag long enough.
But every time I protest, it is I who tastes blood of defeat.
And locks myself in my room, to scream and cry
about being too weak.
He wants me to “act like a man.”
And to “grow a set of balls.”
Shit, why doesn’t he just clone me to be six feet tall?
And be a man without a job and no morals at all?
And brag to my homeboys about my sex life and refer to women as bitches.
Or to pick on boys like me—who he wouldn’t mind giving stitches.
And yet, he wants me to “act like a man.”
No, he wants me to be more like him.


Loving Me First

Stand in front of the mirror. 
And you look into your eyes.
Eyes, brown honeyed from a bee’s nest.
You tell that person—you love him.
You stare at your body. The body God made for you.
And you say, no matter what, you’ll cherish his thick size.
And his soft silk skin, stained with colorful open paths of beauty.
You tell yourself you’re beautiful.
You scream it!  Tell yourself that you’re strong. Say it!

Because it is his voice that whispers to you nightly: 
“I’ll always be there for you.”
Open the doors to your mind and let the confusion flutter away because:
Your pain shall not spill from self-inflicted cuts any longer.
And your pain shall not be filled within your stomach to be
flushed countless times down toilets.
It should blossom from your poetic voice.

Close your eyes child and say you’re independent.
Say you’re strong.
Breathe those words—let them flow from your mouth. 
Let them paint colors on your walls. Let them hug you.
That man in the mirror has stitched up your broken heart, time after time,
because you felt weak, because you believed you needed that somebody.
Well the needles and thread are all gone.

You toss and turn every night, shouting the names of souls that once tainted yours.
You scream, “Come back, come back.” With your tears and cold sweats containing 
“Pleases, I’m sorry, I’ll change” within them.
But why do you need to change? Why should you’ve to please somebody? 
You don’t need to change for anybody.

You need to love yourself first, before anything else
in the world; otherwise, you’ll never feel happy.
And your mind will forever be tainted by the perceptions
of those who want to hurt you and use you.

So you stand in front of that mirror and you love what
you see, because if you want to continue on living in this
world of pain and suffering, the first person you need to
start loving is me.