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Joseph Soto

This Moment

the sun directly over my house

kisses my already brown skin

mistaking me for the soil that grows life

living things sonder

a radio booming with trap drums

the smell of what we call the outside coming from porches

laughter heaving along with it joy and carelessness

runners onward with collarbones rising out of every breath

i wanna tell jewel that i found someone to save my soul

and that it is funny but the guy i sang ‘you

were meant for me’ ended up not being meant for me at all

my yellow lighter must be what’s attracting this bee

staring at it i sit writing lyrics ive been writing since 2003

is june 25th that far off for people to hear these words finally

collecting memories for a soundcloud project

is not unlike digging for quarters in the couch to buy something good

this moment a lifetime ahead of me and i am already here


An Obituary for Queen Twiggs

She reigned her whole life until years had grown on her body

and was compelled to rule from her throne

when her lungs had grown too weak and her legs too frail

to support the weight of the diaspora on her shoulders

Sandra Twiggs died in Broward County

while on the warfield against emphysema

and a broken heart

her regal hair kept short and stressed

unbrushed and unperfumed before her presentation

She was taken from her throne and wheeled out

by an anonymous worker in seafoam scrubs and baby

blue powdered latex gloves

made small by a table that blocked her body from view

and a judge who blocked her voice from speaking

Stripped of her royal robes and dressed in a brown shirt

betrayed skin the deep color of rich earth

she cried out for help and for air in her lungs

she was given was a small white cup of water

too shallow to quench her soul’s thirst

Her fist balled up as a stand for her aching forehead

forced into a quietude of tragic permanence

Two days later, the Queen died.


For 2020

I want everyone in my neighborhood who went to prison on drug charges freed for president

Fresh vegetables and fruits within walking distance of our government housing for president

Clean needles and free rehab to manage addiction for president

The absence of black bodies in the street for president

Our friends never grappling with deportation for president

People with disabilities not being legally employed on less than minimum wage for president

Diabetics not forced to fundraise insulin money for president

Predatory lenders compelled to pay back every dime they robbed from the hood for president

Ethnic people commanding as much respect as ethnic food in America for president

Poor folks being able to take their medicine without rationing for president

The Truth about power and powerlessness for president

Libraries and ball courts on every block for president

Parks in every community so we can have kickbacks and cookouts for president

Welfare offices treating people as dignified humans for president

Homeless people living in all these empty homes in town for president

Mindsets that keep our children safe in movie theatres for president

Training for every public employee on how to handle mental health crises for president

Mountains and hills my children can one day explore for president

Air still crisp enough to breathe and water still pure enough to drink for president

An answer to what the value of our 40 acres and a mule is today for president

Not having to eat brick noodles to afford heat in the winter for president


Joseph Soto is currently wrapping up his studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. His poetic interests are in expressions of daily life and the Black experience through freeform poetry and uniquely marginalized artistic mediums such as hip hop, and he views himself as a student and poet in the lineage of artists such as Tupac Shakur and James Baldwin. From Aurora, Colorado, he spends his free time writing music and enjoying as much sunlight as possible.

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