The Brooklyn Poetry Slam

The Brooklyn Poetry Slam is celebrating five years at BRIC! In addition to the Slams, poets and co-founders Mahogany L. Browne and DJ Jive Poetic are excited to present a series of writing workshops as well as a new podcast through BRIC Radio. Join this vibrant community and hear, speak, and write poetry.

On St. John's and Franklin Avenue

there is a bullet hole in the pay phone.
He reaches out to touch its opening
and I am instantly jealous. He tells
the story about the robbery and the
bodega as the police camera follows
our journey. The new neighbors stumble
drunk from the new and expensive pub.
Its decor is a hodgepodge of old tile and
rusted picture frames. We pretend we
do not feel out of place. Control the volume
in our tone. We jerk at the megaphone symphony
gliding all slurred and entitled from the blonde girl
with torn jeans. She is on stage. She is a rockstar.
This corner of crime and dirt and fix and curry
is her audience. She knows she owns the sidewalk.
She wants another beer. She wants her boyfriend's
lips. She wants the world's attention. Her pout says,
this has been promised to her since birth. Her friends
shake their head at us apologetically. We nod.
Accept this favor with disgust and envy.
We walk away. Further down the block.
He no longer remembers the story about the
bodega. The robbery. It is too silent. He
walks on my right, nearest the curb to signal
my safety. My hand wants to brush his - but
it is Brooklyn. It is late, and that's something
people just don't do.

by Mahogany L. Browne

Learn more about the 2017 Brooklyn Slam Team on BRIC TV's documentary series Frameworks


Photos by Angelys Ocana


Mahogany L. Browne is a Cave Canem, Poets House, and Serenbe Focus Fellow alum, and the author of several books including Swag & Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & listed as Best Poetry Books of 2010.She has released five LPs and is co-founder of Brooklyn Slam (currently ranked 2nd in the world) and has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada, and Australia as one-third of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics. Her journalism work has been published in magazines UptownKINGXXLThe Source, Canada’s The Word and UK’s MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals PluckManhattanville ReviewMuzzleUnion Station MagLiterary BohemianBestiary Brown Girl Love, and Up The Staircase. She is the Artistic Director of Urban Word NYC (as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices) and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. She is the publisher of Penmanship Books, curator & Friday Night Slam host at Nuyorican Poets Café, and Program Director of BLM at Pratt Institute.

Jive Poetic is a poet, activist, and educator. He is the Brooklyn Poetry Slam’s co-founder & resident DJ, and has represented the U.S. national slam team, been featured on TV One’s Lexus Verses and Flow, and PBS’ Brief but Spectacular. He teaches hip hop and poetry workshops throughout the country, and is a recent graduate of the MFA Writing & Activism Program at Pratt Institute. In addition to the Brooklyn Poetry Slam, Jive Poetic hosts the Wednesday night Poetry Slam Open at the Nuyorican Poets Café.