#BackseatPoetry January 2016: Kiyya K [Part One]

kiyyakKiyya K. Writer. Activist. Passionate. Received a B.A. in Journalism from Georgia State University. You may remember her from being the first guest blogger to ever touch BSPZ, but now she’s back as the first feature for #BackseatPoetry. Today I’ll only be sharing one piece from her, but you will see more throughout the month of January. 

Before we get to her first piece of the month, “Who Taught You To Forgive,” check out our interview.

What would you say motivates you the most to write?

“My biggest motivation to write would be releasing emotions, getting things off my chest. I write because it’s my best form of expression, and the only way I can feel free. What inspires me most though, is the ability to share with other people who feel the same way I do. Getting that out there with people is what I love the most.”

When did you realize that writing poetry was something that you loved to do?

“It was 4th grade when I first realized that I loved to write. I was copying an older girl who I thought was like the bees knees, so I copied her haha. And that was also a tough time for me emotionally, so when I found out that writing could help me feel better, it became my favorite thing to do.”

Would you say that you have a certain topic that you express more frequently than others? If so, what is it?

“I think now I write a lot about social issues in the Black community. It’s what’s always been important to me, but even more now it’s very relevant. With everything going on within the Black Liberation Movement it only feels right to express the way our community is feeling right now. We always use art to express our pain, our joy- so that’s what I’m doing now – writing that rage.”

 You’ve done some spoken word before.. Do you prefer to just write poetry over spoken word? Explain.

“As far as my preference writing poetry is definitely easier, but spoken word offers up a different high. It gives me a sense of pride and confidence that you really don’t get by just writing poetry.”

Where can readers find more of your writing?

“I do a lot of writing randomly in journals that I have at my house, but I also am keeping a blog now. It doesn’t have much poetry, but it does have links to other recent writings that I’ve done, and of course I have a piece on BSPZ too!”

Take a minute to bookmark her blog, https://kiyyakforever.wordpress.com/. You can also find the mentioned BSPZ piece here.


“Who Taught You To Forgive”

who taught you to forgive?

to forgive the men who took my father and showed him his ugliest side

the man who told my father to stand down as he stood up against his wife

the man who looked my father in the eye and watched him as he cried

my mother rested, tears hidden, dying on the inside

who taught you to forgive

a world of men who take pride in the hurt of a child

who look at the death of a Black boy with a Coke and a smile

a world of men who would restrict love from a man

force his soul into captivity his labor in high demand

walk him down a road of shame, regret, and defeat

then do the same thing tomorrow

whip, repeat

whip, repeat

who taught you to forgive

because I can still see the scars, yes even from this far

I can still hear them cry

and I even know who they are

they have my hips- shaped like they are prepared for a war

she has my hair- tough, just like her skin

he has my nose- cooling him as he plows

they laugh like me- attempting to be carefree

she has my name- given to her as a replacement

he has my hands- tired, tired, tired

who taught you to forgive?

the night men

riding into the dark to capture another darkie

I guess your expression shouldn’t shock me

I am not supposed to still talk about the way I watched my brother hung from a tree like a lifeless, worthless fruit

I am supposed forget his eyes- the way they bulged out of his body

I am not supposed to remind American of the smell of a burning Black body

or the sounds of joy coming from the crowd

I am not supposed to remind the world that while my brother walked home he was beat to a pulp, hung to a tree, and burned in the morning

and children watched…

watched their fathers kill a man


the oppressor

placing the hose on my back, dogs, at my neck, and taking my children from my arms

you have got to be insane

I didn’t have time to forgive

because I was raising her children, as mine sat at home suffering from starvation and neglect

I was too busy trying to learn how to read and write

and then I got to college and I had to learn how to read it right

I was trying to figure out ways to avoid getting shot at by men who didn’t even know my name

I had to tell my brother be careful before he went to the grocery store

who knows what’s in store?

who has time to forgive when I have

to perm my hair, straighten my talk, ace all my classes, work two jobs, not have any kids, never have a drink, never smoke weed, accept that I don’t know my daddy, call my cousin from jail, bury my best friend, forget about slavery, demonize Africa, die my hair blonde, stop eating chicken, bleach my skin

and BY GAWD I’m still a nigga.

Who taught you to forgive?

I bet you it’s the same person who told you to forget.


Powerful piece!! Stay tuned for Part 2.



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