John Doe: A Tribute Poem to the 50 Homicide Victims in 2013


John DOE

Just another statistic

defining a culture of miscreants

venturing pointlessly throughout existence

some call it karmic

the fall from grace of a graceless kind

descendants of Faust soul sold for fame

the devil came to collect.

No respect for life

they now hand

new mothers of sons

toe tags I lieu of certificates

EBT cards in place of diplomas

Start em out right, they’re going in that direction anyway

And numbers show the same on the census.

Mouths filled with beaten metal

necks noosed with faux gem chains


vehicle titles,

clothing brands as given names

lacking definition and identities

inability to define themselves.

Living in concrete hell

Sell and smoke dope to cope

Going down destined road

Just another

John DOE…


Jane DOE

She’s just a hoe

Prepare her for future pole and street stroll

Teach her to twerk before speaking

Inject food with hormones

Develop her into puberty prematurely

Target of pedophiles

Miles of usage between thighs

Before she can learn to drive

Blackened eyed love lives

She will birth nations of lost ones

Toting wads of Washingtons and guns

Doing unspeakable things for attention

Because self-esteem was a subject not mentioned in home ec

Nor was self-respect

Value of body and mind more precious than gold

Yet sold for a smile and a few articles of knock-off clothes.

Heart turned cold she

Screams at little ones for being

Just like their daddies,

Never realizing they are a testament to her selection process

No mate testing litmus taught in Chemistry

Only chemistry that mattered was what’s in it for me

Spending nights with anyone

Just not to be lonely

Lost in the forest but too afraid to climb a tree for leverage

Vantage point limited view

Meaning her seed’s vision will be limited, too

Cant teach what you don’t know and

No one ever showed her

How to be anything other than

Jane DOE.


Our children



Birthed with expectation

Of early expiration

Feeding into propaganda

That this is ALL

This is ALL they are

Nothing more than numbers

Black and white inked headlines

Punch lines in rap rhymes

Such a thin line

Between poverty and power

Caged prowess

Will starve in the jungle

So they fight for scraps

Kill one another for morsels of

Nothingness and

Notoriety for being the best NOBODY

Only thing preventing them from being

True somebodies

Is an invisible boundary

Momma warned them of like crossing the street and talking to strangers.

Unfamiliarity of success leaves it marked dangerous.

But, what’s on the other side?



A future

Let’s hold their hands and take them cross that road

Take them to a place they have never known

Disintegrate these cycles…



Saying no more to labels of John and Jane DOE


50: They had names

Sister Gypsy, Sister Moon



as women

walk around

crescent moons

180 degrees

searching for completion of


Are taught as

half-moons to

wiggle our hips

bringing notice to our craters

paint our faces supernova colors

dab our pressure points

with ancient

frankincense and myrrh

drink only from the purest meteor showers

hide pain eclipsed in shadow.

Once finding wholeness

in self-indulgent star readings

descending to earth a simple task

and we take on the likeness

of our mate

once given his rib

ad-libbing through earthly existence

wearing revolution jewelry

jingling upon our bodies.

Singing peace songs

to babies born

from commitment conversations

gone wrong

teaching alien tactics

to infants diffused from

dreams we conceived alone.

Become full-mooned

swollen bellies from

fingered penetration

massaging away headaches

mental masturbation.

Impregnating our lonely

psyches with wishes

of the mating rituals

deceptive constellations

told us about

and now

laughing at us

they hold their legitimacy

close to heart.

Our descendants grow-up



blinded by sunspots

raping their eyes

while they searched the

sky for that silver lining


dreams misinterpreted only

lead to a denial of ancestry

and babies without the ability to

read tarot cards.

While we

without a true reflection of self

allow pain to

turn once firm parts flabby

and our legacy fades into the

abyss of history

new moon status foreign to us


and the only

crescent moons we can relate to

tuck themselves into the skin beneath our eyes.

© Joi Miner

Rare Women


For Qadira Neyomi


We were born

from presumptions

of what Adam

dreamed divinity

to be.

Opened oracle eyes

composed of crystal balls

reflecting destiny

into the face of the


We spoke with

tongues that inspired

epic poetry

of sirens.

Poetic creatures that

tuck metaphor beneath

crow’s feet to sweeten

our dreams when


We recur every

fourth generation

to set straight the

descendants who

chose the crooked

path and

leave our legacy

tacked into quilts

that remain indecipherable

until we return

once again.

© Joi Miner


Clothes Lines


We hang our

family business out to

be dried by the wind

and with just the right gust

it stirs up a gossip fuss

about who wears the pants

and the holes that were

seen when those

silky panties

were caught by a breeze


why she never got that degree

because she has to put food on the table

those barbecue stains

tell why your kids’ and your husband’s

last names aint the same

but we hang our business out to dry

outside because

we cannot afford to buy a

new washer and dryer with

those alimony checks

going out to his first wife

and with that washboard and Clorox

we thought we’d bled away

any sign of strife

within our life

but it seems we missed a spot

and by

hanging those clothes

out on those


we aired all our dirty laundry

© Joi Miner

Culture Shock


I have never known

Africa firsthand.

I only know that

my brown skin matches

one of her nation’s sands.

And that if I

travel back

through my DNA strand

timeline I will

find that I am the

direct descendant

of the Motherland


But I’ve never known


gentle hand

been cradled in

the nook of her arm

drinking her

warm milk heritage

burped over

her shoulder as

her culture settled

in my belly.

I’ve been away

from her naturality

so long,

I believe

I be

culture intolerant.

Now I must formularize




and add

American to the

tail end of my


© Joi Miner

First Friday Fix: Vincent Garvey


Counseling is for crazies and couples on their last leg. The only therapy I need is a black & mild, a glass of wine, and a good back breakin session. ~Bonnie Jones

With a last name like Garvey, it’s no wonder this man mind sexes Bonnie crazy. The first older man that she’s dealt with since her teen years, this tall, dark, ruggedly handsome man with salt and pepper locs to his knees, caught Bonnie’s attention at the book store one night. He was settled. Something she wasn’t used to. In town from Atlanta, visiting his sister and daughters, the divorcee never expected to be struck like he was by this woman. Watching her walk into Books-a-million close to closing time, like she was on a mission, and heading straight to the poetry section, he had to say something to her. He wasn’t ready for the ride that he was headed for next. But, being a man who knows what he wants, a woman as unsettled and with as many demons as Bonnie, may prove to be more than he signed on for. But, damn, she was so wonderful. Maybe, just maybe, she would be worth it.