Small Press Traffic

a semicolon with a green bottom and a yellow top, made to look like a dandelion.

Traffic Report

Tending to the Garden: Janae Newsom

And Alive, And Living

If you can read this I found an agent

A good one

But even if I didn’t I was going to self publish

I wrote many books, and am still writing.

I am in high schools and middle schools and elementary schools talking to youth

I am in love with myself

I am so in love.

I am in awe of my children

who never cease to amaze me

by simply being themselves

I am not so called, crazy.

All of the things I imagined to be, are.

I no longer live with anxiety

of me or my kid being snatched from a public place,

Or that the air will cause cancer and once the shoe drops

it has a choke hold on me or someone I love.

And guns no longer exist,

And are replaced with more houses for the houseless

No more bodies dropping,

succumbing to the weight threatening to crush them

and force them to seek solace in something that might feel good for the moment,

but slowly deteriorates them.

And that the sun does not come down and send us all to the afterlife

The ocean life is loved and respected

Road rage doesn’t kill or exist

Wages are not dependent on labor

8 hour work days no longer exist,

and napping is a habit,

love is abundant,

stress is far from our view,

this life right here is free of capitalism lies

and colonized systems,

all my brothers and sisters are free

and alive

and living

Just so I don’t Have to

Just so I didn't have to

Be the one to hold it all

Though I made it look easy

My back was growing splinters long enough to choke me into breaking

Had I known I was bending

Or could break

These kids can't feed themselves

I've starved for them

Just so they didn't have to be the ones to hold it all

I've starved for me

Because faking satisfaction was better than admitting that I was famished

Breathing actually became more important even if only for a second

A moment where I didn't have to hold it all

But what's a moment to a mommy?

Janae Newsom

Janae Newsom is a writer, Mama, poet, and educator from East Oakland California. Her work seeks to raise the voices of black women and girls. She received her MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College, and in 2021 was named the Voyage YA book pitch contest winner. An excerpt from her novel, June Nova, is published on the Voyage YA website. Her written work can also be found in the Anthology Essential Truths: The Bay Area in color, and her think piece, These Bullets Have All of Our Names can be found on Medium.

Traffic Report