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  • Writer's pictureRAG

Catch These Hands!

Catch These Hands was the first zine I created. I put it together in May of 2018, following the advice of a friend. I'd shared a few of the small things I'd written with her and she suggested I make a zine. At the time, whenever I felt the need to get something out of my head or express a strong emotion, or I just needed to record a couple of words that echoed in my mind, I would add it to a notes page in my phone labeled "short stories." At first I didn't see it as poetry, just written expressions of emotion. They were formless and needed a place to rest outside of the confines of my mind. As I began to record more of these expressions, I began to view them as rudimentary poems. The same friend that suggested I make a zine, gave me her copy of Salt by Nayyirah Waheed and I was enchanted. Whenever I need inspiration or just need to surround myself with beauty, this is one of my go-tos. Anyway, reading Salt made me want to keep writing. When I finally did ready myself to make the zine, I gathered all of the poems I'd written that year and picked through them to see which ones really stood out to me. I ended up using 21 poems and an excerpt from Beloved, by Toni Morrison, which I was reading at the time. The excerpt felt very much in line with what I was trying to say with my poetry. Toni Morrison is one of my favorite authors. Once I had the writing together, I chose the images. Nearly all of the images included are drawings that no longer exist. Erasure is a major part of my visual art process, and I wanted to include drawings that I had erased or destroyed. Boxing is also a major part of my practice, so most of the drawings have a boxing theme.

As I share a few of the poems here, I hope you will connect with them. Please message me if you're interested in getting a copy.


Because she was afraid

She missed her chance

To shoot her shot

To take that leap

To fall

To fail

To grow

To share

To learn to care

To open herself up

To make room for

Her life to begin.

Was it because she was afraid?


Was it that she let fear take over her

Bully her.

Her life was her own

And yet.

She gave it away

To fear.


When did I decide that I wasn't enough?

Not good enough.

Was too much.

When did I decide that was my truth?

When did I decide?

That I was too big.

Too small.

Too round.

Too flat.

When did I decide?

When did less become enough?

Mediocre become standard.

Confusion reality...

Settling acceptable?

When did I decide?

To refuse to believe

The best was possible

For me?

When did I

Make up my mind

To refuse

To love



Trying to find my breath...

Catch up to it...

Catch it...

Make it part of me again...

Something that was lost...

Part stolen...

Part given...


Healing Truth

This body is a gift.

Given to me by


I am thankful for this body.

I will no longer apologize for this body.

I will no longer curse this body.

I will care for this body.

I will love this body.

Because I am



Growth is difficult

It requires pain

Which is unpleasant

Yet we must be vigilant

Lest we become gluttons for our pain

Pack rats...tenderly storing it away.

To hold to tight to pain is as reckless

As it is to fear and run from it

Pain is necessary

But it must also be released once it is felt

It is something we must learn from.

But the tighter you hold on

The longer you keep it

Pain turns to bitterness

Bitterness blocks truth

Stunts growth

And keeps you stagnant.

If pain is weakness leaving the body

Bitterness is weakness

Taking up permanent residence.

So pain must be felt

But only for its allotted time.

In order to grow stronger

We must learn:

Breathe through the pain...


And let go.


I am here

And therefore

I belong.

I will not apologize

For the space I require

For the space I inhabit

For the space I take up.

I am here.


I belong.

#poetry #ragart #catchthesehands #zine #blackartist #blackart

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