Spoken word: “I’m Tired of Being the Tail ” by Jay’Onna Moore

This piece placed second for Spoken Word submissions in the 2024 Ánimo Voices WRITING, ART, & SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION 2024, which invited students to respond to an open prompt. The competition is an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing, spoken word, and art.

You ask me how I identify,
My identity
You want to test me and be surprised when you get the best of me
I’m tired of being the tail
I’ma get to the top,
I may have to fail
And when I’m done with the worst They waiting like “Well”
They won't look at me different
They’ll look at me the same
I’ve learned to live with it and say
It’s “okay”
You say I’m black
I’m not a chocolate bar
I’m not for your consumption
But I will admit I am scrumdiddlyumptious Wham Bam Yes Ma’am
I’m Deuteronomy 28
I’m destined and I’ve got faith
I’m so sick of being the tail
I’ma send you the message in the mail so you can finally get the picture
I’m tired of being ashamed
I’m me, wild, and cannot be tamed
Sorry this is me I was born this way
I’m outspoken
My voice cannot be broken
I’ve got too much to say
And you'll never stop me in any way
As I wander aimlessly with my head down Pondering why no one was ever proud I vowed and
promised to myself
I am something to be proud of
I got a weight on my shoulders
Family selling boulders
‘Cause that’s what they gave us
It’s in our melanin
We built America so you can call this a nation? A land of the free where you can just be But is that true?
You all came from us
So why am I the color
Word to my mother
We all slip further
Into dysfunction
And division


But what we need to do is stick together We’ve been divided for forever
They’ve won!
You want to say
“Black power we devour”
But we killing each other we’re cowards There’s no black power
You’ve got sons without fathers You’ve got daughters without mothers The sons
become murders
The daughters become worriers
This is Not a union
We’ve got to stick together
And stop being the tail
In order to be the head




Jay'Onna Moore

7th Grade, Ánimo Jefferson

Guiding Teacher: Samantha Burnell