Claim Your Space

In the Moment /The Breaking of Glass

FROM Workshop: You’re All Write!

Piece # 1

In the moments of their final breaths 

My minds eye try to envision what my eyes witness

An act so heinous and cruel

Like sharp and jagged edges of broken glass piecing my heart and cutting into every fiber of my being

The stench of rotten garbage permeate my nostrils 

I watch helplessly at the hatred oozing comfortably 

As you self-righteously cut off the air supply of another human being

With no sense of regret or remorse

Bitter gun flavored metallic gumdrops fill my throat 

I feel the life of my people draining from my soul

The deafening sound of shattering glass has once again drowned out the pleads to live, to breathe, to be.

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Carla Cherry and JP Howard, From Writer’s Bloom Poetry Workshop

Cotton Club.

Small’s Paradise on a Saturday night

but like Big Ma and Mamma said,

girl, get your butt moving

for church at

Abyssinian Baptist

Convent Avenue Baptist

St. James Presbyterian

Reverend Ike.

Minisink House

Harlem Writers Guild

The Negro Ensemble Company

Grace Giles Dance

Black Liberation Bookstore

Harlem School of the Arts



Sherman’s Barbecue

22 West

Copeland’s and Reliable’s.

Lenox Terrace

Esplanade Gardens

The Rucker

Mount Morris Park

Marcus Garvey Park

St. Nicholas Park

Double dutch

Jump ropes/sneakers/jellies smacking concrete

Old men sitting on stoops and benches

Young men on the corner

Played straight and box at the local numbers runner for Grandma

Mamas and grandmas looking out of the windows at their babies

Throwing down little bags of change for a run to the store and you better come right back

If you were good, you could use Mama’s change to buy yourself some

Green apple Jolly Ranchers

Pixie sticks

Bubble gum

Candy cigarettes with sugar smoke

Fun dip

Lemon heads


In the summer kids were running out front to Mr. Softee when he played his song.

On the dinner table there were collard greens

Rice and peas

Fried chicken

Macaroni and cheese and candied yams

Fried rice and chicken wing special from the Chinese take out on the corner

Sugar Hill Gang

Hip hop you don’t stop

We sang along with


The Jackson Five

Michael Jackson

Freddie Jackson

songs always on loop

Boom boxes

Eight tracks

Cassette tapes

A pencil in the middle when the tape fell out


Blowing dust off the needle before it hits the groove

Cardboard on the sidewalk

Spinning on your head

City College

Striver’s Row

Sugar Hill


Studio Museum of Harlem

The Schomburg

Red Rooster

Lenox Saphire

The Cecil

The 1/2/3/4/5/6/D/C/B/A train taking us uptown baby, uptown



Authored by L

As I breathe into wakefulness
my eyes open and slow walk 'round the room
seeking to answer the question
where am I?

Calming lavender scented relief washes over me
as I realize I'm home in my bed

Out the window I glimpse a sunny day
with puffy clouds dotted across a baby blue sky

I breathe thanks
stretch my hands towards the heavens 
and rise

Morning rituals aside
thoughts of a warm cup of green tea
and wheat toast slathered with mulberry jam and butter
make my stomach rumble
and propel my feet towards the kitchen

Enjoying my fast's break
with furrowed brow, a line from a tv show floods my mind
creating a new experience of wonder
"do thorns of a rose exist to draw blood from humans, 
because the nutrients in human blood benefit the rose"

"Creepy" was my thought 
when i first heard it said
Creepy is my thought 
when i think of it now

Creepiness aside
is it true?
and how different are the thorns of a rose
than the thorns of a human

like broken glass
used by humans to draw blood
to feed us in this existence.



By Francina Smith

And for soul, and the Blues, and the rhythms that trekked along the passage in order for me too
break the glass.
I’m breaking the glass loud enough to honor Harriet. Parting the Red Sea that tried to box me in
because I’m outside the Pyramids.
I’m breaking the glass bold like miss Angela tightening my fist but untwisting the bondage of my
eyes because knowledge was free all along,
I’m breaking the glass using anything by any means necessary like Miss Betty’s strength that
carried Malcom and the girls.
Uncovering Toni’s tales of truth with my bluest eyes, while the sweetest humming bird lulls me
with Miss Simone’s art that broke the glass, I will superseded them.
I’m painting on the broken glass without the mask, no longer hidden in the shadows, thank
Mother/Father GOD for Paul Lawerence Dunbar
And for soul, and the Blues, and the rhythms that trekked along the passage in order for me too
break the glass.
I’m bound to think it’s hereditary, magical in very sense that even the Ruby Dee Davis’ of the
world could get her pearls once she broke the glass.
Even Spike had Mo’ Betta blues, he couldn’t do the right thing by looking through the glass- He
broke it.
The glass was colored for Hattie McDaniels in white, Hollywood the existence of the Native Son
was more like Step’n Fetchit. She shattered the glass and came back with Oscar’s gold.
Audacious and ambitious.
Black Bold and Beautiful
Intelligent and limitless
Powerful beyond measure without the glass,
And while some may say the glass filters like.
Never forget that you are the light.
So break the got damn glass and shine beautiful NEGUS shine!