Southern Seed

Southern Seed by Tierney Malone. Gouache on metal, 6’x3′, 2012.




C Train


Sweltering heat. nearly empty car. red laces on blue Nikes lean against a pole. pooled on the red and black flooring is rainwater (I hope). A young woman is peering at the subway map. Her long golden brown locks trail down her neck onto her neon green shirt. I almost touch them.

Next stop. Hoyt-Schermerhorn. It is ten-fifteen a.m. An AM New York is lying on the cold gray seat.







Tierney’s playlist

Listen to Child of the 808 by Reggie Quinerly.     

You can also read more about Tierney’s art and Reggie Quinerly.

From Invictus, Reggie Quinerly (2015).


*  *  *


Not an Elegy for Bell, Martin, or Brown


This is just anotha motherfuckin’ poet

using signal words

like Black Lives Matter

Talkin’ ’bout just another body


with bloody Nikes.

It was just the night before a wedding,


or some shit.

It was just a regular day,

going to get a pack of Skittles.

I am tired of writing this shit.

Brown bodies litter

the streets and

Pac’s words

still ring true:

Nobody gives a fuck about us.

I’m just trippin’ right now

just buying another T-shirt with

the newest name or face on it,

tweeting about it.

This is just anotha motherfuckin’

rant, or blog post.

Wha’d’you care?


*  *  *


Godzilla in the Ghetto


Listen carefully, my son: Police drones

are flying over East New York

but no one ever noticed.

Bullets make their way into the house

one burrows itself into

your shoulder.

I fly to you

wanting to unregister you from

death’s program.

I was having cereal

when I realized we were

going to die.

We didn’t hug.

I reached past you

to load my nine

told you we were going on a trip.


*  *  *


Black Magic


There must be something

in the Kool-Aid


magically we

shoot ourselves

and sever our

own spines


in police custody


There must be something

in the chicken wings

because our voices

lifted in unison

is called


and curfews

are enforced

against organizing


There must be something

in the air

called oppression

to make us

rise so hard

and fast against it

that even

rival gangs unite

in the face of

a common enemy

the oppressor

whoever he is…


*  *  *




He fit the description. Fit the description. Always fit the description. Vagabonds in hoodies. Hoodies become vagabond. Signify. Signifying. He fit the description. He was buying Skittles while fitting the description. Beautiful black boy. Brown boys fit the description. Fit the description. Just a boy. Fitting the description. Iced tea and Skittles in hand, fitting the description. Gray hoodies fit the description. Bullets pierce. Piece flesh. Flesh burrowed through. Death becoming the description in blue jeans. Arizona in hand. He fit the description. Skittles in his bulging pocket. Threatening. He fit the description. Brown boys always fit the description.


About the Illustrator

Tierney was born in Los Angeles, but has long called Houston his home. He is a modern-day storyteller who creates works on paper and mixed media constructions. He uses the canon of African-American history and pop culture to help him create contemporary tales about life. By invoking colorful and emotionally charged figures from jazz, sports and literature, Tierney makes powerful and sensitive works that are both visually beautiful and politically provocative.

Tierney has exhibited his art widely throughout Texas and the U.S., including numerous solo exhibitions. His works are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Kansas City Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Missouri; Goldman Sachs, New York, New York; and the Federal Reserve Bank, Houston, Texas. He is the recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, a CACHH Visual Artist Grant, and a Kimbrough Visual Artist Grant.

Tierney has collaborated with noted jazz musicians; commissioned to create the jacket cover for jazz musician Don Byron’s 1999 CD, “Romance of the Unseen” on the Blue Note label and jazz pianist Randy Weston for a 2003 performance at the Miller Outdoor Theater. In 2008 he completed two major commissions; a limited edition print celebrating Da Camera of Houston’s 20th Anniversary and an outdoor mural entitled “Southern Sounds” for the Coleman Art Center in York, Alabama. Music and the creators of music are major influences in his work. It was in November 2009 that Tierney presented a solo exhibition in Houston, Texas, “Third Ward My Harlem.”


About the Artist

Reggie grew up in a rich musical environment – one that nourished artists as stylistically diverse as pianists Jason Moran and Robert Glasper and guitarist Mike Moreno (featured on Freedmantown along with pianist Gerald Clayton and saxophonist Tim Warfield). They all attended Houston’s High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, where the teachers, said Reggie, were “incredibly devoted. They gave us a real head start.”

After graduating high school he ventured to the East Coast, more specifically, the Mannes School of Music at New School University where he got to study with three great drummers: Jimmy Cobb, Lewis Nash, and Kenny Washington.  After some time honing his chops on the scene he returned to school earning his Master’s in Jazz Studies at the prestigious Juilliard School.

Noted as a “conscientious jazz drummer with a nimble and approachable style” (Nate Chinen, New York Times) he has played with such leading artists as Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Greg Osby and Christian McBride. With saxophonist Marcus Strickland, he played and lectured as part of Lincoln Center’s Jazz in the Schools program and frequently collaborates with the talented vocalist and pianist Enoch Smith Jr. who also appeared on Quinerly’s first project. He has toured various countries in Europe and Asia.

As an educator he has presented masterclasses at Tulane University(New Orleans), The Cultural Arts Center of Galicia, Spain and since 2012 he has created and implemented music curriculum for several school districts throughout northern New Jersey.  These music programs  teach children teamwork through the fundamentals of rhythm, melody, harmony and songwriting.  As of 2014 the program has been in partnership with the Little Kids Rock program and offers instruction in percussion, guitar, bass, piano and voice.  He is a member of Percussive Arts Society and the New Jersey Education Association.



About the Author

Sarah is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer who holds an MFA in creative writing from Long Island University in Brooklyn and has been published in Downtown Brooklyn, visceral brooklyn, Brooklyn Paramount, PoeticDiversity, Vagabond City Lit, The Frisky, and Ducts. She has attended the Aspen Writers’ Conferences and studied with Jessica Hagedorn, Erin Belieu, and Barbara Henning.