• Spoken Word Poetry
Sarah Kay – Brother
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Brother, you jaywalked your way out of the womb. I could recognise you anywhere from the hiccup in your swagger. Tell me, where in the world did you find all that thunder? There have never been any seat-belts on your side of the car. You have always known the better magic tricks. You told me once that I was just the first draft, and I’m inclined to believe you but you came with a lot more pieces to assemble than … Read More

Sarah Kay – Peacocks
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Lately… lately I’ve been living with spiders, but as roommates go they haven’t been too bad. The one in the bathroom keeps to his side of the tile, and the one in the bedroom… well he can get a little bit grabby but for the most part he keeps his hands to himself. I guess all those car engines and hairsprays finally caught up with us, because the pollution here is so bad it makes the sky glow orange from … Read More

Sarah Kay – Jakarta January
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After Hanif Abdurraqib & Frank O’Hara It is the last class of the day and I am teaching a classroom of sixth graders about poetry and across town a man has walked into a Starbucks and blown himself up while some other men throw grenades in the street and shoot into the crowd of civilians and I am 27 years old which means I am the only person in this room who was alive when this happened in New York … Read More

Sarah Kay – Providence
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  Look at this, look at all this snow. Does anyone in town know how to use a shovel? Well I guess the answer is no. Shit I fumbled my gloves, oh no I dropped my keys. Now they’re probably buried at the bottom of the snow bank and I bet that they’re gonna freeze. Cos Providence is miserable in winter. Providence won’t let me go on walks. Providence might ruin my semester, I might have to change my locks. … Read More

Sarah Kay – Montauk
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I am a city girl to my core. The first time my parents took me outside of New York City to visit my uncle in New Jersey, I was standing on the front porch of their lovely suburban home when a fast-moving shadow caused my three-year-old heart to damn near beat out of my chest, and I shouted, That’s the biggest rat I’ve ever seen. My uncle calmly responded, That’s a cat, sweetie. And I shot back, Oh yeah? Well what’s it doing outside? My … Read More

Sarah Kay – Not Just Another Math Problem
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How did we get stuck in this empty v-generation? In this brand-spanking new games stagnation? Where rash regurgitation of hip-hop leads to celebration- that intelligence constipation, where kids are losing all concentration in trying to suppress their hard-earned education, and planting instead a language mutation of slang words and curse words to give the sensation of pure teenage anger and social frustration. With the stipulation that articulation is a dying form of communication, so leading to the misconstrued idea that … Read More

Jeanann Verlee – 40 Love Letters
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Dear Dennis, I still think of you. Dear Andre, I saw you kiss her. I haven’t looked back. Dear Patrick, You’re just too young. Dear Eric, I said horrible things about you. Your teeth are fine, it’s the rest of you I don’t like. Dear Greg, Thank you for the poem for every single scar. Dear William, I loved you simple. I liked that we would never be “we.” Dear Jay, The bruises fell off eventually. Dear Michael, I’ll never … Read More

Sarah Kay – The Ghost Ship
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In the second grade, every song was a handful of orange Tic Tacs rolling around my tongue: I knew all the words, could feel them tangy, round, and smooth, but didn’t care which one was which. I could sing back the Beatles perfectly with the words all smashed together. I was the first one to memorize any song the music teacher sang us. My favorite was The Ghost Ship. The words meant nothing to me, but the melody was full … Read More

Sarah Kay – Useless Bay
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Once in Puerto Rico, I held on to a rock ledge for fourty five minutes, refusing to jump into the lagoon below. My friends shouted encouragement and strangers offered kind advice, until finally the man I loved crawled up the rock face and stood behind me coaxing, “This is not a metaphor!” He said this because he knew that I had already found a way to equate this failure with all other failures, knew that my mind prison is a … Read More

Sarah Kay – Dreaming Boy
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In most of the dreams I remember from childhood, I am a boy. Rescuing a maiden from a tower, or not rescuing anyone in particular, but definitely a boy. For years, when the only language I had were the scraps tossed from the popular kids table, “lesbian” seemed as likely an explanation as anything. What does it mean to dream myself a gender? What does it mean to hold that secret beneath my tongue? The first time I kissed a … Read More

Sarah Kay – What we Build
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When I am inside writing, all I can think about is how I should be outside living. When I am outside living, all I can do is notice all there is to write about. When I read about love, I think I should be out loving. When I love, I think I need to read more. I am stumbling in pursuit of grace, I hunt patience with a vengeance. On the mornings when my brother’s tired muscles held to the … Read More

Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye – When Love Arrives
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I knew exactly what love looked like – in seventh grade Even though I hadn’t met love yet, if love had wandered into my homeroom, I would’ve recognized him at first glance. Love wore a hemp necklace. I would’ve recognized her at first glance, love wore a tight french braid. Love played acoustic guitar and knew all my favorite Beatles songs. Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me. And I knew, I just must be searching the wrong … Read More

Sarah Kay – Hands
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People used to tell me that I had beautiful hands. Told me so often in fact that one day I started to believe them, until I asked my photographer father, ‘Hey daddy, could I be a hand model?’ To which he said ‘No way!’. I don’t remember the reason he gave me, and I would’ve been upset but there were far too many stuffed animals to hold, too many homework assignments to write, too many boys to wave at to, … Read More

Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye – An Origin Story
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Sarah Kay: It started with a sweater. Phil Kaye: I was looking fly. First day of college orientation as a freshman… plus, I’m the type of guy who’s always trying to make a good impression. Sarah: He looked like a tool. And it’s the first week of school, so I’ve got people to meet and things to try. I don’t have time to waste on this guy loitering backstage at a talent show. Phil: It started with a freshman talent show, a chance to … Read More

Sarah Kay – B. If I should have a daughter
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If I should have a daughter instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” She’s gonna learn that this life will hit … Read More

Sarah Kay – TEDx East
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I see the moon. The moon sees me. The moon sees somebody that I don’t see. God bless the moon, and god bless me, and God bless that somebody that I don’t see. If I get to heaven, before you do, I’ll make a hole and pull you through. And I’ll write your name, on every star, and that way the world, won’t seem so far. The astronaut will not be at work today. He is cold and sick. He … Read More

Sarah Kay – Jellyfish
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It was somewhere in between the last day of school and the first. Somewhere between morning and nightfall, somewhere between New York City and the very tip of long island, there was a nine-year-old girl standing somewhere between the shoreline and the sand dunes scanning the horizon like a hawk, like an amazon warrior like a great cavalry captain like char la man on the morning before he took his final enemy – jellyfish. There were jellyfish on my beach, … Read More

Sarah Kay – Postcards
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I had already fallen in love with far too many postage stamps when you appeared in my doorstep wearing nothing but a postcard promise. No, appear is the wrong word. Is there a word for sucker-punching someone in the heart? Is there a word for when you’re sitting at the bottom of a roller coaster and you realize that the climb is coming, that you know what the climb means, that you can already feel the flip in your stomach … Read More

Sarah Kay – Hand Me Downs
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I know you’ve taken to wearing around your father’s hand-me-down anger. But I wish that you wouldn’t.  It’s a few  sizes too big and everyone can see it doesn’t fit you, makes you look silly, hangs loose at all the wrong places, even if it does match your skin colour. I know you think you’ll grow into it, that your arms will beef up after all the fighting and it will sit on your shoulders if you pin it on … Read More

Sarah Kay – Scaffolding
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You would hate this song. There’s not enough guitar and the words go on too long. You would say I don’t do words, I don’t do colours, I just do naps. I just know numbers. The picture I gave you didn’t make it on your wall, and did you your roommates ever tell you just how many times I’ve called? I learned things don’t happen and then disappear. Once they happen, they still are here. And you can move on … Read More

Sarah Kay – Love Letter
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They told me that I was meant for the cleaner life, that you would drag me through the mud. They said that you would tread all over me, that they could see right through you, that you were full of hot air, that I would always be chasing, always watching you disappear after sleeker models, that it would be a vicious cycle. But I know better. I know about your rough edges and I have seen your perfect curves, and … Read More

Sarah Kay – Still Here
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My grandmother’s awakened bed A language I don’t understand runs circles round her head Her words get jumbled on her lips and brought her out to play I press my head against her chest her heartbeat seems to say: Still here, still here You can miss me when I’m gone But I’ll keep on holding on as long as I’m still here I’ve seen the fire I’ve seen the storm I took a stranger by the hand and tried to … Read More

Sarah Kay – The Type
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Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else. –Richard Siken If you grow up the type of woman men want to look at You can let them look at you But do not mistakes eyes for hands Or windows, or mirrors Let them see what a woman looks like They may not have ever seen one before If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch You can let them touch you Sometimes it … Read More

Sarah Kay – Worst Poetry
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Without question, you are the worst thing that ever happened to my poetry. And I’m serious, I’ve herd about writer’s block but this- is ridiculous. My poetic fluidity has dried up faster than a woman hitting menopause to the point where this dry spells got me praying for some inspirational discharge to leak from the folds of grey matter in my brain and…shit! See what I mean? I’ve been thinking for far too long with my heart instead of my … Read More