ZADREN HILL, 17
Zadren Hill is a growing poet and activist in the urban area of Birmingham, Alabama. He lives to be a presence of peace and comfort to those in need by spreading the beauty of the fine arts. His writing mainly takes the form of free-verse poetry and focuses on his experiences as a queer black male in the United States. He enjoys allowing his words to come together spontaneously to convey the most raw authenticity, and invite his audience to relate to the subject matter.
Education inequality is one of the most angering issues for Hill. As a black male from a low-income family, Hill has experienced the entrenched obstructions of the American education system first-hand. One of the biggest things Hill has noticed is that he and the rest of the students are being deprived of CREATIVITY. Young black students are restricted to poor conditions and narrow curricula. He feels that in the one place that hope is supposed to flourish, it is killed.
Hill is the current host of a podcast collaboration with the Dessert Island Supply Co. and NPR's 90.3 WBHM station where he interviews students in the community about their writing and their authors of choice. He hopes for this project to grow over time and create a space where young people (hopefully more than just writers!) can safely express their individuality. Hill’s hope for the future is that we continue to grow from our mistakes and use our narratives to create harmony. He believes we can't face the unknown of our future unless we are willing to confront what we discover.
Hill hopes to pursue his BFA in Creative Writing at a notable liberal arts college after graduation.
You Gave Birth to a Poet and I’m Sorry for that
by Zadren Hill
I never meant to make you feel like
I don’t want you
Like you didn’t make me in love,
to be the oldest of your pride and joys.
It's a big responsibility, momma.
I’m always going on to others about
how much of a caretaker I am to your younger boys
and I believe I am, but I know I have a shitty way of showing it.
Momma, this poem is for you.
If there's one thing I give you,
Let it be my anger
Let it be my love
Let it be my sorrow
Let it be me
I’m pushing you away because I’m too afraid to
admit that you give a damn.
I’m too afraid to be honest with myself
because it's better to lie through the pain
when you know the truth will always hurt right?
Don’t say anything.
I know you know I know that's wrong.
Your pain never allows you to lie.
At least through your lips
It angers me to see your tears
because they look so similar to mine.
I sometimes cry at night, momma,
With sharp intakes of breath
Eyes as red as the lines on my left shoulder
Sometimes my left leg…
Never the right side of my body
cause I know it ain’t right momma
but when I feel the pain I praise God
the thoughts left for a split second momma
I’m sorry momma
For forcing myself to be angry with you.
Sometimes you love me too hard, momma
Like that night you found out
and called me a faggot momma.
I still heard your love in that anger. I just denied it,
As crazy as that sounds.
I don’t say this to degrade you.
We were going through a tough time,
and at the same time
It took me a long time to forgive you,
but I called you a bitch, too,
Not to your face but neither slur was okay.
That goes to show that it’s hard for us, momma.
Hard for us to be so strong-willed
So here I am, momma.
The son you made to tell a story.
With a hardback cover and soft pages.
I love you
cause you gave birth to a poet
and neither of us should be sorry for that.