TOREY BOVIE, 17
Torey Bovie is a New Orleans native who loves writing poetry and fiction and serves as a member of the 826 New Orleans Young Writers Council. He attends Benjamin Franklin High School and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).
Toni Morrison once wrote: “Black people are victims of an enormous amount of violence. None of those things can take place without the complicity of the people who run the schools and the city.” These words resonate with Bovie and pushed him to realize that there will be no progress without action. It encourages him to break boundaries and push barriers with his writing, even to the point where he makes himself uncomfortable.
Bovie believes that he is extremely blessed to be able to write. He realizes that his ancestors were not given the opportunity to write, so his ability to exercise his rights and skills feel like a personal form of protest. He takes inspiration from the colloquialism of his family, his favorite authors, and many other innovative people of color. The preservation of culture is very important to him, especially in writing.
Bovie’s writing will be published in NOCCA’s upcoming 40th edition of Umbra and in 826 NOLA’s This Is My Happy Face. He received the 2018-19 Silver Key Scholastic Award and an honorable mention in 2017-2018. One of the main highlights of last year for Bovie was having his poem debut as a short film at Luna Fest 2018.
Bovie plans to attend college and major in bio-medical engineering with a minor in journalism.
An excerpt from “Cicada”
by Torey Bovie
At some point I expected Jimmy to start acting like Jimmy. He could never do anything by himself. Three glass jars and a gallon of milk didn't seem like much to carry to me. Jimmy had on a button-up with no shirt underneath, and a pair of jean shorts momma made.
“It’s hot Shan, it’s hot,” he exaggerated. He wore a pair of my old flip-flops that momma made me give him. Apparently, it was my job as a big brother to give him everything I love. Momma made me give Jimmy everything. Everything I didn't “need” anymore: my cap with the number five stitched on the side, my favorite pair of striped socks, my-
“Shan! You hold the bag, I’m tired!”
“I got four bags already,” I screamed. The sun stood tall above our heads and I watched the heat waves wiggle off in the distance. I had on jeans and a beater. My thighs were so wet it felt like I had peed myself. Jimmy started to walk with the same fake limp he always faked when he didn’t feel like doing something.
I heard the clank of mason jars against the concrete behind me. He stood there with his arms crossed and his face scrunched tight into a scowl. His crossed arms and the bags on the ground were enough for me to knock him dead. Dead right where he stood. He stomped his foot twice, making the few dimes in his pocket jump around and play a tune.
“Pick them goddamn bags up, now!” I said, swatting whatever was buzzing around my ear. I looked past Jimmy’s head and noticed the nest of cicada killers on the ground. I remembered getting stung by two of those once. Those things hurt bad. I was running in our yard one afternoon holding a jar of cicada shells. I used to collect them so that at night, when it was too quiet, all I had to do was give the jar a little shake. While holding the shells, I realized that there was one spot in the grass that wasn't cut like the rest. It was bushy and ugly, yet pretty. It looked like a little green castle on the ground. I went to go play with it and two of them flew out and stung me. One on my finger and the other on my neck. I was crying for hours while momma rubbed my forehead and told me how stupid I was for going over there.
“Jimmy, come on here before those things get angry,” I said, backing away slowly.
“No, make me! I'm not carrying no bags! I’m hot and tired! You carry it, or I’m telling momma.”
“Tell her what?! That you want to be a big ass brat so you let the milk spoil in this damn sun?! Now, move away from those things before you get stung!” A bead of sweat dripped down the side of my face as my heart began to race. I don't know if it was from anger or from fear, but all I wanted was for Jimmy to get away from that nest
Jimmy did a pivot and picked up a stone from the ground. He tossed it in the air a couple times and then said, “Carry the bags or I’ll throw it right at the nest.”
“Like hell you would,” I say. “You’re too scary anyway, you ain't gonna do it.” I had to admit, the thought of Jimmy getting stung by wasps did excite me a little. He wasn't going to listen to me, so what better way to show him then a couple wasp stings?