Spence Junior Arielle B.’s Poetry Featured in Literary Journal

Spence student and poet Arielle B. ’21 was featured in a recent article published in Mom Egg Review.

The article, "Legacy: On Our Poetry Mothers," written by Spence English teacher Ana Silva, juxtaposes two poets: one, an acclaimed and established poetry “mother,” the other, an emerging poet that draws from and is inspired by their poetry mother’s legacy.  
“Every poet has a legacy she draws from, essential and overlapping with the poetry communities she frequents,” writes Silva. “I have the honor here to spotlight one such connection, between Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie and Arielle B., a junior at The Spence School in Manhattan, a proud woman from The Bronx, and a crucial part of Ekere’s legacy.”
Arielle’s poetry collection, titled Paper Bag Poems, explores her individual Black experience as well as the Black American experience. “For example,” says Arielle, “my poem ‘The Stomach of the Prison’ takes a look at the role that mass incarceration has on Black men in America through personification and sound.”
While reading Arielle's collection, Silva recognized there was something unique within the Spence student’s words. “Each gem-like poem, reverberating with political commentary, personal passion, and cultural pride, astounded me,” writes Silva. “I loved being able to show Arielle’s collection to Tallie.”
The article includes two poems – the title-inspiring piece from Tallie, “Paper Bag Poems,” and a poem from Arielle, included below, titled “summer in the concrete jungle,” which is filled with images, textures and experiences that create the richness of life in the city. “May we all read like Arielle, in a way that sparks our passions and sets us free,” concludes Silva. “May we honor our poetry mothers who need us as urgently as we need them.”
summer in the concrete jungle
is hot
a living, breathing, melting pot
where we spend three months
feeling the heat from the ground
and hoping the icee man is around
coco, mango, rainbow, cherry
¡dolla wata! ¡dolla wata!
surrounded by
pale pavement
dark roads
and brown buildings
we bring the color back to the block
we bring
that season, that spice
the juice, the sauce
barber shops, beauty salons, and
braiding stores
anyone can get a
buzz cut, blow out, or box braids
on the same block
no discrimination over hair
during the summer in the concrete
speakers sound salsa and soca
cars blast hip hop
this is where both bachata and r&b
get played at parties
neighbors speak Spanish
they taught me ay dios mio
and callate la boca
haitians taught me
sak pase and n’ap boule
and the block taught me
brick and beasty
the only place where
dumb smart and mad happy
are seen as sensible statements
when it’s summer in the concrete
the boys bring out their bikes
riding through the streets,
popping wheelies, rims revolving
or they break ankles on the blacktop,
bringing the heat with b-ball is their
way to the shade
free rides on the bx39
castle hill
hunts point
no bus? no bike?
it’s not deep, it’s alright
uptown’s trek up the road
barge in the bodega
buying some seeds and a soda
since its summer in the concrete
you’ll find parties in the projects
barbecues in the park
projecting smiles
that span miles and miles
no ac? no problem
we have hydrants for hydration
someone busts open its shell
releasing raging waters
and we all share it’s fruit
i’ll never forget summers in the
concrete jungle
lengthy urban nights
dotted with stars and fights
sirens and screams
of both joy and fright
tanned cheeks lit by the streetlights