Spring 17 Poetry Contest Winner – Aaron Lee Pharoah Taliaferro

Facebook: Aaron Lee Pharoah Taliaferro

Embrace Ya Self

I say embrace yourself

you gotta face yourself

Why you tryin to so hard

To erase ya self?

I was property stricken

On health care restriction

So poor i couldn’t afford to pay attention

But listen…

That was life to me, Thought thats how life was suppose to be

Sure We had state funded healthcare

When moms was on welfare

But most times..

Just home care , Those rare times she showed care

So the fact that I never smiled

Is directly connected

to the 34 years my smile never connect

I was never insured enough for it to be corrected

So check it,

I held laugher in with cupped hands,

Concealed excitement with tight lips,

Cause all the while,

I couldn’t face my crooked smile

So instead of embracing me, I just braced my teeth,

So listen to me…

Embrace ya self

You should Have faith in self

Just a little bit,

I’m proof

it helps

See my hair was my crown

Not jet black

not quite brown

More like a beauty supply 1b

Good hair is what they called it

Butters, draping

I had a White folks cowlick

As a boy I Was called pretty so much

I was made a Nupe

Cuban? Puerro rifa? Indian? What are you?

What you mixed it?

Like I’m Bisqik

But now I miss it

At 25 it started to thin quick

So to get out of the thick of it


I got rid of it

Only to reveal

A pale, shiny, cone head

Lookin like

“You gone eat yo corn bread”

And I hated it so hatted it

59-50 I batted it

So uncommon but a kango hat it is

At one point I had more hats then Lids

But slowly it grew on me

Wether I took the blue or the red pill

Morpheus looked good on me

Now I’m shining see,

so listen to me

embrace yourself

Dont misplace your self

This life is real

You gotta brace yourself

Sissy and fag were my adolescent nicknames

Barely knowing what they meant

The words synonymous with flames

Never endearing or empowering

I just felt shame

And as I grew older I withheld pain

Putting on a shelf


the reparations Of molestation

Was frustration

And confusion,

But all that coercion and touching left bruisin

And wasn’t he like family?

But his acts were handed down through his family tree

So I forgave him

was there something in me that drew him in?

Or was it something he harbored with in?

Nature versus nurture

But God created nature, and he would never hurt ya

So no matter if I adopted this or its in my imprint, I’m the culprit

I’m persecuted by self, my people and the pulpit

Truth be told my sexuality is stimulated by emotional connections

And I seek intellectual intimacy and spiritual affection

So the restriction of gender, sex or race for me don’t exist

So I won’t check boxes, wave flags or pump fists

Unless it’s for humanity, cause I’m a man you see,

And even that for me…

Is defined by my anatomy

So listen to me…

Embrace ya self



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