Author Archives: Guyleigh Johnson

About Guyleigh Johnson

Guyleigh Johnson is a poet/spoken-word artist from North-end Dartmouth. She started writing at a young age but didn't start to take it seriously until high school when a close family member died in a car crash. Finding an outlet to cope with her grieving she wrote poem after poem. Her poetry focuses on the needs of inner city youth and the challenges they face on a daily basis. From teenage mothers, jail time, drugs and more she tries to put herself in their shoes to view their perspective on life. Mainly to share their truth, Johnson believes "hurt people help people" and a common connection we all share is pain. In October 2016, she released her first collection of poetry entitled Expect the Unexpected (Pottersfield Press). Currently, she is enrolled at Dalhousie University with the hopes of obtaining a degree in journalism. She is also a Youth Coordinator for the Dartmouth Boys and Girls Club as well as an African Student Support Worker for the Halifax Regional School Board. One of her goals is to give back to the community by empowering youth to see their potential and to realize the importance of self-love.


By .

thought they took it away
when they exchanged our crowns for chains
not knowing where I was headed
I tried to remember the footprints
In the sand
I followed the man
to a ship
On it engraved
“Blacks only”

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Dear Daughter

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Dear Daughter

Open Letter to my future daughter:

Burden Versus Blessings

What if I told you this world is dark, cold and ugly?

What if I told you your whole life they’ll try and convince, blame and force you into believing it’s you?

What if I told you you’ll be confused and some parts you’ll believe are true?

What if I told you that they’ll downplay your features, assets and accomplishments, never being recognized or acknowledged as qualified?

Even the ones that look the same will try and tarnish your name

In the hierarchy of life you will be labelled lower than men less than women

They’ll criticize before they copy

They’ll laugh and be envious

They’ll take with no apologies

You’ll cry

And cry

And cry

Until there’s enough tears to drown in

You’ll question your purpose

The more you crave the need to be saved

They’ll remind you you’re worthless

You’ll pray to be different

Not realizing you’re already unique


You’ll fall victim but you’ll never be allowed to call yourself that

They’ll disguise forgiveness as forgetting

They’ll hate you

To the point you hate yourself

You’ll break

And break

Until it feels like there’s too many pieces to fix

But what if I told you this

World wouldn’t be the same without your existence?

What if I told you you’re stronger than the weapons formed against you?

What if I told you on your back those aren’t burdens but the spirit of your sisters?

Step by step as your saviours

What if I told you, you are smart, beautiful and warm?

What if I didn’t warn

You about the world

I warned the world about you?

The fearless, force and fighter you are

The roots of richness you reach from

Dear Daughter, you are special

And as much as I love you I want you to love yourself

That’s how you shield yourself

From the darkness to get light

The cold to be warm

And the ugly to remain beautiful

Not hiding but protecting

Your soul

You’re not just a Queen

You are a Black Queen

Carry your crown with pride

Never lie

Because your truth is powerful


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thought they took it away
when they exchanged our crowns for chains
not knowing where I was headed
I tried to remember the footprints
In the sand
I followed the man
to a ship
On it engraved
“Blacks only”
Only blacks
They tried to attack
So I ran
Back through the sand
Feeling the pressure
Of my grandmother on my heels
she revealed
Pointing to my heart
She said this is where you start
And ever since
It all made sense
they couldn’t take
what I was told to embrace
away from me
my grandmother paved for me
A road I was allowed to walk on
She was silenced
I was allowed to speak
So when I scream I try to teach
why the black woman is said to be angry
We were possessions never the prize
His story told so many lies
that’s when I knew
I had to become the voice for you
through darkness the only way to get through the night
Is to follow the sounds that lead you to light
blinded but able to hear
I can feel her close she’s very near
whispering the legacy
on the road she paved for me
I wait for other women
so they can too find peace

Cover art by Yewande Taiwo

















Related reading: “Women in Prison” by El Jones