3 Poems — Rescued, Before They Are Lost

Aaminah Shakur
4 min readOct 22, 2017


Original Prince Tribute art by myself that eventually became the cover for the anthology referenced below. Acrylic on canvas board with glitter glue and photo paper.

The following are three poems previously published by Yellow Chair Review, who has since erased all of the poetry from their site and otherwise disbanded without any communication with its poets and reviewers. Because they are previously published, finding new homes for them would be quite difficult so I am self-publishing them. The first two, “To the ‘Bad’ Mothers” and “You Say You Want a Revolution” were published on the website. The third, “A Final Kiss” is published in their print anthology A Prince Tribute: Only Wanted One Time to See You Laughing, which is still available for purchase and which features cover art by me as well.

Poem “To the ‘Bad’ Mothers,” published for Mother’s Day in May 2016. Plain text below.

To the “Bad” Mothers

By Aaminah Shakur

To the “bad” mothers

Mothers who are told plenty often

all the ways they ruined

everyone’s lives

To the mamas

who kept their kids

worked double shifts

set boundaries

couldn’t buy name brands

didn’t get an X-box

to be told they are bitches

To the moms who had

their kids taken from them

maybe it was the best thing

maybe it was a racist system

set up against them

maybe they were taken away

by drugs or prison

but they tried, they really tried

and every day they think

of what they lost

and hope their child is

better off

To the mothers who gave up

sent their kids away

at birth or after they tried

their very best

either way worried they

would fuck their kids up

more than abandoning them would

who believed someone better

would pick up the pieces

and give everything they

could not

To the “evil” stepmothers

and adoptive mothers

and foster mothers

who will never be enough

because they aren’t

and can’t explain why the real ones

can’t be there instead

To all the bad mothers out there

who ruin lives

by trying to love

the only way they know how

who save lives without credit

by loving what others

couldn’t be bothered to try

who are just trying to live


who never get a Mother’s Day card

Today is your day too

everyday you are still

a mother

and there are no

perfect mothers

Poem “You Say You Want a Revolution” published November 2016. Plain text below.

You Say You Want A Revolution

By Aaminah Shakur

“It’s gonna be


You know it’s

Gonna be


It will get better

It will be okay

Get your boots

On the ground

We will fight for you!

But where have you


This isn’t news

Didn’t just happen

Out of the blue

Mama Octavia warned us

And we reminded


We have been

Sounding the alarm

It will not be okay

I am not okay

We are not okay

It’s not


And you come too late

Offering too little

*Revolution, The Beatles

Poem “A Final Kiss” published in A Prince Tribute anthology in June 2016. Plain text below.

A Final Kiss

By Aaminah Shakur

I loved you secretly

Wore purple because my dad

wouldn’t notice

since it was his favorite color too

When I was a tiny adopted child

I dreamed of who my real parents were

thought I must belong

to a star

maybe a DeBarge

But didn’t see you as father material

you were something else

I couldn’t even name

I didn’t have the words yet

Before I understood what sex was

but not before I’d been sexualized

You were banned from our house

because you sang about it

moved in a way

they were sure would make

us kids think about it

I was mesmerized by you

your pretty face to rival Madonna

(who was also banned)

Your high-pitched voice made me

feel things no boy made me feel

before I understood I liked girls
“that way”

My introduction to it all was Freddie Mercury

Madonna trailed right behind

But you were


something darker-deeper than they sang

you were crushed deep purple velvet


I wore a raspberry beret even when I

refused to wear pink

Rebelled whatever way I knew how

Liked pretty men in full make-up

and women in suits

Wanted to be a drummer like Sheila E.

You wrote not only

the sexiest song ever

(take your pick, don’t try to guess

which one I mean

it could be any)

But all my favorite others too

You set the standard

no one has ever lived up to

And now all I can say

for as many as I’ve loved

over a lifetime

It is still entirely true

Nothing compares 2 U