Poems by Ronaye Anderson

Content Warning: blood, self-harm, death, suicide


My friends are characters from my favorite T.V. show. 
They can be as brilliant as they want to be.
They pull punchlines from my ears like a shiny coin.
Most times I can read along from the script.

We laugh and laugh and laugh 
and laugh

but sometimes, I have no lines.

Those days, I hope that my onscreen presence goes unnoticed.
My want to be the Regina King of the set dissipates and I relax
into my new role as the extra that passes by the vending machine.

Not unlike the cast of a show about really good friends, my homies never leave me out.
When eyes turn towards me, probing me for the next line-

my tongue searches
for the right
is an alphabet
of my mouth
hidden deep within
sometimes the search is
get worried and my face
something rotting and
concerns but my eyes
to understand
ners of my
a forced

around my mouth
words as if there
stuck to the roof
and a dictionary
my teeth I search.
so intense that my friends
screws up like I smell
they feed me their
plead for them
even as the cor-
lips curl into


Teetering in those murky waters again 

The vapors expel musings of morning 

Only thoughts of the moon, never a friend

So you bear that cross, aware that fog is forming

The eels and sharks lurk the waters for meat

Drew blood by razor so they would attack

But they kept swimming, my tears met defeat

Must be a ghost to be veiled is a knack

Plead for forgiveness or wallow in stench

The water is stained red, not much time now

The air is colder, my blood loss avenged 

Deeper in these waters my body will plow 

Maybe this is freedom

A night cap in a Colosseum.


Seasons change on instinct

Singed winter grounds 


a spring like fall


a frosty April and May. 

Summer only shows up in waves

mostly from a firm grasp

on the neck of number 



The floor has broken again.

This makes for the umpteenth time this week.

Splinters stick

my ass 


debris stings my 

eyes, but the film 

 never runs out 


 the trees still shake.


I never stay down too long.

I really only have two choices after all.


 dust off and sing

     till its all


or gather the debris,

the wood,

 a match

                                              and a


Willing for it to be as tall as the forthcoming smoke.   


Today I wanted to drown

I wanted to succumb to the currents 

And let the silent pull of the Monongahela 

Surround me

It’d been so long since I’ve felt something so intimate 


Limp arms and legs

Swallowing dirt from the once flooded waters

A Freedom that I’ve never felt before

I wonder if my mother felt the same way when she woke back up

Like she was drowning 

Reborn into a life she didn’t understand 


My entire life has been full of shattered ceilings 

Fragile from each time it’s been rebuilt

My mother was the adhesive

Hardened and stuck in place

My sister and I the shards

Shattered but

Forced back into the same place we’d always been in

My father always broke our communal gathering 

Screams loosened my mothers hold on us

And we all fell

But each night she picked us back up

And held us tight

Whispering empty affirmations

Awaiting our next tumble


When humans are balancing 

on their last strand of hope, 

they reach aimlessly into the air for a hand to grasp. 

Reaching for someone, 

anything more powerful than the average man. 

As the strand begins to wear further

 they begin to beg for this person to show their face,

 a sign, 

anything to help them go on. 

If they were just given a chance,

 they could rebuild,

 start anew.

So they cower,

 and sink to the ground

to kiss the feet 

of a person they cannot see.


Before you, 

I couldn’t 

comprehend these words. 

Digesting them was hard,

they dried my tongue, and

cut my throat like

they were tiny shards of 

glass and 

sat in my tummy like a pile of dirt.


The words feel like silk

dancing around me, 

like an expensive nightie.

And I dance

everyday to a new song.

The one you sing, 

about love

making sure I never forget the meaning of it.

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Ronaye Anderson
My name is Ronaye Anderson, and I am a junior here at PPU. My major is in Political science and I have a minor in screenwriting. My dream is to write an award-winning screenplay for an adult animation. As a queer black woman, it is my dream to portray black people on television. Not as victims or stereotypes but as real people.