An Introduction to Detroit + Cleveland Week

I am proud to present a close circle of phenomenal people who happen to be just as amazing writers. Representing the Detroit and Cleveland literary areas, we have grown into a group who challenges one another to seek growth and community support. Collectively, we are national performers, published writers, Journal/Magazine editors, educators, & organizers. In addition to these accolades, we do not turn a blind eye to our hood, our urban, our wish-a-nigga-would, our belief in God, or our struggles, but we highlight them instead. This collection of work shares a few crumbs of our larger selves. We break bread with you—invite you in for a drink and a prayer. Learn more about the work we do at

Justin Rogers

100 Black Pastors Walk into a Room with Donald Trump

100 pastors walk into a room with Donald Trump—and
pimping ain't easy
Money clips burst to Caesars faces
Babylon fronted the pastors
Said make sure I get this ten fold from the sheep
Pimps rejoiced
Crucifixion and capitalism
Religion business
Black package deal
Black packages deal
Church purchased
Black Church purchased
Dragon cast down to earth
Church cast down to a dragon with no denomination
Blank check
Blank checks Black Church
Black pastors lost flock
100 black pastors bursting money clips
deny God 3 times
1000 Caesars
Sky rained sulfur and fire
separation between the wheat and the weeds
Pastors politicians pyramid
Tithing baskets knew no different
The pimps and the other pimps
The overlord pimp
only the first lady with the blooming canopy crown,
rhinestone kaleidoscope dress, arthritis that acted up

whenever Lucifer made the clouds come round knew the difference
Money courting religion
A chivalry so dead it doesn't even hold doors open anymore.
Just waits for sheep with routing and account numbers

engraved upon their forehead
clamoring for bi weekly payments on Zion
100 pastors in a room with Donald Trump
Pimps around the world rejoiced

Pimpin ain't easy
Children of God wait outside
So did He

On my reverence of Black Women Or Look at God

Pastor Alton mopps the dew from his grey fading S-curl in the pulpit with described God as a white male whose likeness I'm supposedly formed in and I don't know what I dislike more

The black man preaching a colonized savior in mortgaged brick and mortar to a people weary enough to seek communion with any messiah that spills blood for them first or

That I saw God all the time and could tell you God isn’t the painted glass on the never been dusted windows of the church doors cut up into triangles or hovering over a bed of candles and rose petals

God is in a Black woman

The Testimony :

Only a black woman could hustle a couple pieces of fish and loaves into a thousand meals Only a black woman has had to forgive the denial of her apostles Whose sacrificed more sons in bouth foreshadow and on the trees than a black woman Only a black woman, can side eye her child and into a full submission when he strays from the mission, Get behind me Satan

The Gospel :

Puts me in the mind of my motha. Worked a job she hated but loved for the disciples crafted in the her womb, She and a follower that was enticed by other deities, thought he could kill her by starving

her of trips to the peak of northGlenn dr Left her to wear the mark of his sin as a crown of black man bones. Didn’t know that when she is buried she rises three days later in with a glow and a fridge and both are full

Mom bargains with the electric company every third friday of the month on the third step with her head against a banister that’s been loose in a way only the residence knew how to navigate The room illuminates as the phone disconnects. I recall this as the first of her miracles in the chronicle I write in the notebook she buys me with the last $1.20 she has till payday. I figure I'm the scribe because she said it
And even now it is good
More than once mom brought the wild lions of the neighborhood to a full tame on my trek

There's days when i figure I'm supposed to expire with the sun still high in the sky. My motha is out here not accepting my fate.
I couldn't tell you the amount of times I've made it home on account of a black womans will alone
Even if I were to die tonight, My moms would speak my soul back to my vessel. Be waiting outside the tomb like Jesus was Lazarus except she'd have her favorite belt in her business hand talking bout Now what have I told you about coming home late

The Sermon :

The black woman is the Grail unbroken mixed with the night that was good and the sea that was good
Kissed by the heavens
And this is the part when
The whole house is in agreement of the majesty and holy countenance of the the saviors of us all
And it goes
Look at God


The time I tried dying I was compacted into a locker in the ninth grade. Vertical in a steel coffin 12 feet to the left of Ms. Reznicki’s orchestra playing over the rainbow. I held my breath as the lights dimmed imagining it was my processional song. Every note vibrato

Spoiler Alert
I lived
Nobody knew what I tried to do until I wrote this poem
My brother attempted twice
succeeded once at the same thing
His coffin was an actual coffin
a baptist Pastor messages me via Facebook
says God called for another angel
He said God is love
then something about a selfish God
Both are true

There's any inkblot from a broken fountain pen on my desk
its either a black boy exhausted at the edge of his rope, or rooftop, or bullet, or journal, or serrated blade
or it's the night of the walking dead
Both are true

Fairborn Ohio police officer comments “love a happy ending” after a black boys demons win Either fairborn Ohio police officer worships demons or nobodies rooting for the black boy to survive themselves
Both are true

If a tree collapses in a woods and no one's around to notice
does it make a sound
Does it's shadow know to lay down with it
Do the roots disconnect clean
12 year old
writes for her English assignment
“I've thought about the Smooth of my wrist in a crimson way every night this week”

Teacher asks “who would notice”
Nobody hears her mother collapse at the edge of the bathtub
Her daughter disconnecting
crying for answers from Karyn Washington Goddess of Brown girls gone too soon
What is an average life span
What is gone
What is too soon

Last time I had a thought to end it all I didn't
My shadow held me counterweight my anxiety
it's just the things I change into are stronger than the things I change from
What happens next
Plot twist or resolution
Both are true
Spoiler alert
The black child lives at the end
Here I am
Whether you're rooting for it or not
breathing and stranding
Black child pantomime survivor
Chiming youth choir
Praising a God whose fine with angels right here
singing every note vibrato
Happy and alive and free and alive and black and and surviving and sustaining
and if you want me dead
you'll have to do it


Mathias has been on both teams that he’s slammed for with The Writers Block slam team in 2015 and The Writing Wrongs slam team in 2016. In addition to poetry, Mathias has hosted several events including, “Italian Food and poetry Night,” an annual event he co-created in Columbus, OH since 2013, “The Writer’s Block” poetry night twice, and serves as the official reserve MC for the Ness Open Mic Experience. He is currently doing work with The Harmony Project as the sole poet on a full stage performance alongside the Columbus Arts Choir which will be housed at both the Lincoln Theater as well the Ohio theater and is a staff member with, a magazine for colored artists.

Faith and preservation of identity play a large role in Mathias’s work. He’s the middle child of a single parent household that was always the awkward nerd of the group. These concepts are weaved into his pieces and play a large part in his stage identity as well. The most import things to his art are God and family and how each play a pivotal role in keep the person grounded.


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