Today our #WordCrushWednesday winner is Xavier Cunningham. Xavier is recent graduate of flanagan highschool and also participanted in LTABFLA. Xavier has recently has been striving to be more free in who he is and not be afraid to be judged. He attributes much of his recent growth to his girlfriend who helped him conquer his fears and push him closer to self love. Xavier will soon compete in the second annual Broward College Poetry Slam for a chance to compete in the LTABFLA Collegiate Slam.

Today we spot light Xavier’s Poem, He Loves a lot of things, like flowers. Mr.Cunningham says his poem was written to illustrate the ideals of a man that was being forced upon him, his breakthrough, and the self acceptance that he found.


He loves a lot of things, Like flowers
11:27 PMHe loves alot of things, like flowers

My parents have always seen me as the weird child
With a heart too big
What man likes the color pink?
Men don’t like flowers
Why are you crying?
Men dont cry

Taught to see emotion as weakness,disposable
Toss away what makes you human
They are burden

I can tell you now
I cannot cry
I do not know how to

Attempts to fit in
With a fitted plastic mask
Never reveal, who you keep hidden beneath layers of insecurity

I was told im too young to know love
Taught to call her nicknames
Call her slurs
Call her anything you deem less of her
Treat her like object
Look down upon as if you are god
For your satisfaction

Taught the only solution is violence
Pummel whatever you find undesirable
I’ve been fighting with myself for 18 years
Exchanging blows in reflection
Trying to reflect what this image of man meant
I’ve faced my dad with a head full of curls
“MEN,do not keep long hair”
Trying to be free from shackles I told him no
But as i uttered my sins the doors of hell flung open
My lips began to sow themselves together like ribbons
My dad only knew to fix his problems through violence
So he set out to fix me

I sacrificed identity for acceptance
Shoved to live in skin too big of expectation
Except i was the one who didnt fit

When you carve love and emotion out of living
Snatch the name of human

People begin to look more like
Long forgotten, feeling, phantom limbs
Each tear shed is a step backwards

We should be teaching our boys

Love yourself

Woman is not label, it is title
I’ve seen strength in face of impossibility

You are not entitled
This world is for you to earn
Through your own two hands
Speaking of them
They are to protect, not to harm

Words are just as powerful
The mind isn’t as tough as bones
Sticks and stones bare no threat
But the blades of your tounge is a loaded gun so fire away

I’ll admit
It is difficult, stumbling backwards from beast
But at least
I’ve found a young woman who accepts me
She loves Sun Flowers as much as i do

And to my parents,
I am not the “weird child”

I am

I will be whole again

There is still room in this empty ribcage of mine, for a garden
I have no place in this abyss of manhood
With a sunshine heart
So smile
And show them you can still love


Twitter: @NativeDOOM