What's Your Story?

I found pieces of a free writing session with one of my besties, Bonique’a, from 2012.  It ostensibly started with her asking me, “What’s your story?” and morphed into an introspective jumble of something else.  I have shared the beginning of this poem in some other things I’ve written, including my forthcoming novel.  Somehow though, I ignored the gems sprinkled throughout the end of the writing session.  Here I present the reworked free write spawned by my bestie who always keeps me thinking and digging deeper.  Thanks, girl.

story (poem)

I like to tell folks I don’t have a story

But I also like to fuck with people

That in itself tells a story.

You confused yet?

Good, now we have something in common

I think that’s how friendships begin.

Not sure if I can maintain it but that’s part of the story too

Pay attention to the details

That’s where the angels are for me


I live in devilish broadstrokes

Details are the only way the good creeps in

Giving the true life to the picture

Details are what fill funeral obituaries

Speaking of obituaries…

When I exit this world

I mean exeunt this world

-I am plural-

2 paragraphs can’t hold me

But I digress


2 of me

Literally in a figurative kinda way



Want to be consistent.

Craving to be consistent.

Trying for 37 years to tuck in a chain of normalcy

To ward off the thieves of despair and frenetic madness


Stolen goods can be replaced.

But how about the bad that no one cared to burgle

Kept bads never seem to get displaced

Instead they are displayed permanently on mantles

Dismantling yet another plank of sanity


Isn’t insanity just the outside half sibling of sanity?

The one no one bothers with?


The ugly one.

The one we’d rather not discuss?

Daddy’s indiscretion.

The family secret.

The whisper.

Do you know the feeling of going through as the inaudible glitch.

an aberration.

But maybe that’s my story.

The one told in hushed tones in back rooms.

Reposted with permission from In My Mental Mind.


Alise Leslie is a poet, author, blogger, spoken-word artist, and mental health advocate currently residing in Durham, NC. She writes at the blog, “In My Mental Mind: a black girl’s mental health journey," focusing on mental health issues, particularly for women and men of color, through essays, personal stories, poetry, and music.  Her lipstick game is most likely better than yours. 

More AliseIn My Mental Mind | Facebook | Twitter 


...and then there are those nights.

when shame and guilt streak



and wet eyes ask silent questions

you will never know how to answer

Because you cannot stop Time

or slow his march through their body

This disobedient body

that no longer takes orders

from the spirit it housed

that breathes life

into that house.

and haunts it still.

you will not be able to explain

why they look in the mirror and

do not recognize this disobedient


staring back at them with wet questioning eyes.

all you can do

all you can do — is look in their face

and see your own tired reflection

and in that moment you take their hand and say

I know you.

I remember you.

I recognize who you are.

and time slows

for just a moment.

-Julian* ©2017 All Rights Reserved


Julian Long is a Writer, Branding and Marketing Strategist, Voice Actor, Caretaker, and Commitment Coach with roots in NYC and Kentucky. His passion is helping be up to big things. Like all good Southern-raised church boys he loves his God his Mama, his dog and good fried chicken. Not necessarily in that order. More Julian: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook