“Eden” by Tariq Thomas won the Youth Poetry, Prose and Pizza Slam hosted by the Brattleboro Literary Festival.

Here is Tariq on his work, his background, and what makes him a poet:

“I am Tariq Thomas. Refuge is a strong word which is the reason I use it in this context. I seek refuge within my beliefs. I believe in the beauty, artistry, and history of language. History adds texture, people add triviality and depth; and that makes her shine in all her glory, nappy bald headed, rough, flesh killer, language. I started writing poetry when at the age of ten I found out my mom was a poet. She was cleaning and had found her old journals. She read to me her pieces she was most proud of. Smiling and looking down into the bookworm filled books she jotted in, she said, “I remember these days”. An image is worth a thousand words but my mother’s few words created images and bios out of paper that couldn’t breathe and fecal matter. I appreciated every inch of her art and the complexity that came along with it because of our Jamaican dialect most of her work was written in. My first poem was assisted by her and I loved it! Poetry, prose, and the drama needed to perform the Jamaican form “Dub-Poetry” was now who I was, I had found it in my blood. Lying belly down on the puzzled white tiled floor starring at my pregnant mother and her fat ankles she compressed to create beat for her still born son, I said Yes! I had finished my first one. Writing has created homes for me, through it I lead multiple double lives and find umbilical connections that will cut after giving birth to new within me.”

Green Mountains Review is proud to publish this poem. Congrats, Tariq!



I am so emotional today, I cried three times

I never saw tears
But I felt my heart bleed through the tears, cracks and open crevices in my soul
I tasted it
It was like bitter sugar, but sweet

I am so emotional today, I cried three times

I felt the pull of catholicism on my jagged religious soul
Is this what you want from me
How do you, after all of society’s pills keep my dwindling faith in tact
Claque after claque
I bow to you
Holy mother of me
I live for you, but

I feel so emotional today, I cried three times

It’s hard here
It’s very hard here
To Stop in my shoes and feel the ground
The foundation
Of the mound of my actions and movements
The propeller to my unfaithfulness
And godly sin
In angrily hushed tones she said to me make sure you pray cause God does not accept your nonchalant christianity
I repent mom what do you want from me

I am so emotional today, I cried three times

It’s heavy it’s loaded
It’s mighty it’s targeted but is it Mary, is it you mom, dad is it you
Is it god who perplexes my soul
And provide my “worship” with pulchritude

I just don’t feel like now is the time for me so give me the harp, some symphony cause as I bow to you I see Clock Tower
Time is of the essence and devil please don’t devour

At least, that’s what they say do you when it comes down to us
The Impious Barbaric Sacrilegious.
She Said,
Put your gentleman on
Socks make your foot slide in better
venus, boiling water
When she gives me her ass and shits through her ribs, why
When she births me through her back and with her spine, why
When his hands were submerged in her to keep her spinal cord from suiciding me in her belly, why.
Her blood, my skin, communion
Oppression, and abortion fluids almost killed me
The witch, behind door number 8
Shaked an 8 ball and it said yes to my execution
Little did she know she was birthing for him to put his wooden sculpture inside of me
My tears are toilet water, flushed away
When they watered cotton and fit the land
He was begging, I was the one always on my knees
Will you marry me I said, with the formation of my spit
He liked my gag reflex
He said maintain
Sermon of deliverance
Forgive him god, he knows not what he has done
Whole notes on the inside of my soul
Singing forgiveness
An angry black woman
With her
Woven tears
Woven basket
Woven here’s
He said
He will never be sorry for indulging
But instead, the apples, they killed me.