Three Poems|Jovan Shadd


Not that you are an almond
but I would eat you whole
with the passion of Neruda.

I am starving, I am thirsting –
you are rain and crop,
let me harvest you in every season,
let our union feed a village.

I would lick the sun from your skin
as the bee does nectar
I’ve been hunting for you
dancing for you
buzzing for you

I would be a fool
to do this all for a simple nut.


Black Bodies in Need of Revolution


Strange fruit
hanging from the weaponized bough

Stranger still
the tree that reeks of death and profit
, grown for lynching,
still stands tall

Blood on the leaves
almost convinces us the season’s changing.
Pendulum of Black bodies keeping time
with the breeze.

Black bodies
breathless by the bloodied root
, reminds us it’s a cycle…


The Bogeyman’s a nigger –

Tell your pale children the fable
of every Emmett asking for it.
Defend your culture of oppression
with legends of the savage –
train your child to think in proper aryan terms.

The Bogeyman’s a broke nigger:

Origin of poverty & crime in the city
Maligning cops & judges in the city
Drudges of junkies & thugs in the city

Scapegoat for their own martyrdom:

shouldn’t have worn a hoodie
shouldn’t have walked away
shouldn’t have been born black…

The Bogeyman’s a broke abolitionist nigger –

Who will protect you from the nigger
if they abolish the police?
Who will protect your fortune
should they abolish exploitation?
How will you sustain this façade
of democracy when the agents
of your oppression are dissolved
and your coffers are distributed?
Whatever will you do when the niggers get money,
don’t have to labour on the cheap.

The Bogeyman                                                                                                           is Black –

Black and proud
Proud and revolutionary
Revolutionary and prepared
(i am not prepared;

It takes more than poetics and rhetoric
to dig a grave
[for ideologies].)

The Racist fears our righteous love
The Capitalist fears our righteous work
The Fascist fears our righteous spirit


The pen is only mightier than
the blade that’s sheathed –
we’ve all seen the proverbs
written in blood.
these adages, these axioms –
these aphorisms have a history of synonymity
and what rhymes with claret red
sanguine instead of just our enemy’s
our enemy, with their gore filled and gaping maw
our enemy, of blood and clean licked boots
of the blood-stained dollar.
our enemy who we politely deny the title:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible.


Fear of a Black Planet

Fear of a Black planet means
there aint no space program for niggas.

Afro-headed silhouette of an astronaut moon-walking;
one small step –
one giant leap from the free throw line –
two points:
1 – never run afoul of an astronigga
2 – consider space our reparations

40 acres wouldn’t cut it
even if there was still 40 acres left to give –
consequence of capitalism on the livelihood of a planet –
maybe there’d still be trees if we didn’t love Big Macs so much…

… digressions.

The neon retrofuture comes
with a soundtrack full of revolutionary jazz;
the first thing we’ll teach E.T.s
is how to dance

The next thing
is how to chase a dream
that deprives you of your senses,
and what to do
when such a dream inevitably explodes
as like so often dreams of freedom do.
So I beseech the cosmos:
be more welcoming than Earth.
Be kind.
Be loving.

Here on Earth we were born in the dirt
raised in the dirt
kept in the dirt until we forced ourselves
to flower something beautiful in the dirt –
will another world back to life:
black magic and necromancy –
dead planets breathe again –
the wind through my afro
makes me feel pretty.
feel alive.

Steampunk pyramids and cyberpunk sphynxes
landmark our planet,
the planet of the old space pharaohs.
And not to be on some Hotep shit
but we reclaim that same greatness of bygone kingdoms –
not that it ever left us,
just that it went unactualized for quite some time.

No kings nor queens,
we’re much too woke for that monarchy shit –

This is that mountaintop:
Olympus Mons
from where we witness the realms of human godhood
and we still follow stars to freedom,
though our sojourn now exists
for the sake of boundless curiosity.

We need no martyrs
and ask for no leaders.
We are fully autonomous cosmonauts
star trekking without fear of fighting
as a support character in another cracker’s Star Wars.


We call our tribe Quest
and pick at stars,
choose from infinities.

Our instinctive travels highlight
our need for a place of reprieve:
I don’t want to toil like my father,
I’d prefer to live
but there aint no space program for niggas who want to live
only for those made to die
in the imperialistic conquest of yet another territory
in need of a McDonald’s on Mars
to extend capitalisms reach into the stars.

So we stuck here, nigga.


Photo by Clarke Sanders on Unsplash


My name is Jovan Shadd and I identify as a queer poet based in Toronto, Canada. The poems enclosed are primarily about Black concerns, futures, and freedoms in the current climate, as well as one dealing with love and sex.

Thus far, I’ve only been featured in the publication Open Minds Quarterly, in volume 21, issue 2.


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