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Gerren Liles

Gerren Liles photo

Gerren Liles is a Morgan State University graduate who attacked the hardships of life with selfless compassion, fulfilling his desire to uncover the beauty and strength that lies within all of us. In a world where the spirit compromises itself for the sake of conformity, he is a firm believer in the power of unconditional love and acceptance.

An upbringing of community service, manhood development, and a discovery of his talent for expression shaped his goal of using poetry as a means of promoting literacy and self-empowerment to black youth. In following his own advice, he shifted his focus from the performance aspect of his poetry to become a better writer. He began reading the likes of Sonia Sanchez, Ai, Nikki Giovanni, and Saul Williams.

Gerren was a finalist for MTV's Real World: Hawaii in 1998. He has opened for the likes of Haki Madhubuti, Na'im Akbar, and Jawanza Kunjufu. His work has been featured in Mosaic magazine. He was selected to participate in the coveted Cave Canem Poetry Workshop in New York during the fall of 2000. Gerren has performed at numerous colleges, universities, expos, cultural events, poetry slams, graduations, and has made a number of radio and television appearances. He speaks to youth regularly and currently serves as a group leader at a children's center. His first collection of poems, On The Road To Damascus, has developed a readership throughout the US and Europe.

shoebox by Gerren Liles

an elderly woman sits at her window
bearing witness to the daily events
of the neighbor
          hood      lums
                       or
                       slum

but I call it home.

my halls are not marked
          with friendly greetings.
some of my friends
greeted their Maker
before making
something
          of themselves.
each day you live
has become a special occasion.

she watches a woman
pull her baggage closer
          when sincerity walks by.
you can’t trust anyone these days.
especially yourself.

a few feet ahead     six fourth-graders
are running away with the jacket
of another boy.
they dis     card
any notion of sympathy
believing that
what they don’t have
must define what another should have.

some of us look at them with disdain.

have you ever
watched the sun rise
from a project window?
it’s rays are broken by iron bars
but the shadows cast over
a people’s desire to redefine
                         their reality
                              could be
                                   yours.

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Printed: December 14, 2017, 6:49 pm
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