top of page


If I did not fall in love with beauty,

wrote Amiri Baraka, I’d be cooler

Beauty took a vicious turn at a juncture

of love and self-loathing

Media-made caricatures salt wounds of ancestors

Cannons that render us invisible still

dominate history

If I had not fallen in love with autobiography

I’d be cooler—stone cold

Poem: J. OTIS POWELL?! (1955–2017) was an award-winning poet with aesthetics rooted in Afrocentric lore and culture. His work was informed by oral traditions in literature, music, and the Black Arts Movement. His words were recorded and released on several CDs. Powell?! worked as a co-mentor and performed with Amiri Baraka for the Givens Writer’s Retreat and Tru Ruts Endeavors.

Art: NI’KOL IMANI DOWLS is a multidisciplinary artist, storyteller, and teacher. She fell in love with the combination of writing and illustration. She combines her love of photography, body movement, and writing to express the world around her. Ni’Kol is a self-taught artist.


bottom of page