Sunday Shift

Awake. In all my imperfections, I’m here. As I am. Surrounded in love but sometimes alone. Okay. Still strong. Not broken. Blemished ego at times. Open. Sometimes I miss you before you leave. Warmth in wishes on cake candles. Secrets drift away in smoke. Heart scarred but it still beats hatred and defends truth until it’s breathless and bleeding. Sunday. Shaun #sunday #love #sundayfunday #weekend #instagood #sundayvibes #photography #happy #instagram #photooftheday #poet #poetry #letitout #like #follow #me #smile #tea #life #sun #family #instadaily #beautiful #selfie #journaling #marshallsfinds #mood #rainyday #okay

A Long Time

Lost in the essence of the debris of past explosions are a handful of people unwilling to let go. She is new. She has been for a long time now. They shove thorns on her finger and tell her it is a band. They’re married to remnants of a carcass. The doubt died. There is nothing absolute about time. Time is a human concept. They’ve been divorced from humanity. Most feel nothing. Your tears equivalent to rainwater or urine. Just moisture. Stretch out your hand. Understand her pressure and the poison your presumptions plant in otherwise healthy soil. She is new. You’re holding on to situations born from trauma that was convenient to ignore. You’re peeling scabs looking for blood but she exists within what you see. She operates above you at times, hovering over hope and grabbing pieces of promise. It’s time…

By: Shaun Liriano

Love vs. …

My favorite poem is Tamerlane by Edgar Allan Poe. It was published in 1827 and I remember having to break it down line by line to fully understand it. It is about love vs. Ambition. I think that is a common theme.

A conqueror who travels, ravages land and people, and isn’t exactly the epitome of Mr. Right, falls in love. He falls madly in love. She is a common girl, a peasant. He has to leave her behind to continue on and be successful.

In the end he misses her. He thinks of her during his last days. He wonders where she is. He is his beginning, she is a brief but impactful stop in his middle and his end is alone.

We grew in age – and love – together

Roaming the forest, and the wild;

My breast her shield in wintry weather –

And, when the friendly sunshine smil’d,

And she would mark the opening skies,

I saw no Heaven – but in her eyes.

Tamerlane by Edgar Allan Poe

My Own (favorite poem I’ve written and why)

I wrote My Thoughts, the evening my son Cairo was born. His birth was traumatic, exhausting and empowering all at the same time. The words gushed out of me like tears from a child who fell off their bike. I couldn’t stop them. When I was done, my son was asleep on my chest and I felt emancipated. I felt like every word was a representation of myself. The transparency, the rawness, the truth, the profanity, the blessings and the weight was all out.

Later I linked with my cousin, Langston ( and we laid the track for the poem. 2 takes. Done. It was effortless and it fit perfectly. Hearing my words merged with his art made my heart swell. I loved the poem even more.

I dont write fluffy stuff. Sometimes, by request I’ll write a love poem for a friend courting a new interest. I’ve done the wedding of two close friends. Love is inspiring.

“My Thoughts” isn’t fluffy. It’s weighted and it’s still fly. You can read it or dance to it. It’s my ringtone. It was born the same day as my only son. It’s mine.


A typical lazy day looks like Netflix, a slice of pizza and a scented candle. It looks like wine in a whiskey glass because all my wine glasses have been broken in late night bottle making stumbles to the kitchen. It looks like prayers scribbled in two different types of handwriting in journals. It looks like delayed chores, laundry piles and floors that are waiting to be swept. A lazy day looks like stealing my husband’s sweat pants and letting a faded tshirt hold my heart in its place. A lazy day is coffee with lots of cream and sugar because its tastes good and I’d rather be sweet than awake. A lazy day is toys all over the floor, voice impersonations and irresponsible snacks. A lazy day is singing Flashlight with your strongest voice and trying to get that Parliament bass line just right. A lazy day is burying a schedule and resurrecting restoration.

Dancer (Top 3 Things I Like About Poetry)

Sketch by Ric Richards

1. I met Poetry after I met Music. Poetry wasn’t promiscuous like Music. She didn’t try to appeal to everyone. She didn’t care if you liked her or understood her.

2. Poetry saved me. Swooped in and like a superhero. As a matter of fact, Poetry made superheroes look like security guards. She told me she could never be right or wrong. She told me we all have special abilities. She told me about Ravens and women rising and lover’s named Venus.

3. I like Poetry. The way you make a best friend the first day of school. It’s a sandbox friend. Our meeting was quick and natural and fun. I hope we’re together forever, blood sisters, bound by purpose.

Live Every Line (my favorite quote and why)

I remember reading these lines on the J train coming home from Pace University. I read it over and over again. I felt a shift. I instantly felt like I could freely be myself. Cut the perm out of my hair, write what I want, dress how I want, speak my mind and sail. Admittedly, I waited another year to grow out my perm (black hair is a whole other post.) However, this revolutionary woman eloquently summed up my overall view of the world. I felt like the author was my buddy and we walked the Brooklyn Bridge together instead of going to anthropology class. I soon realized she was just fantastic at sharing a surprisingly relatable story. She was strong, educated, powerful, courageous, a partner, a mother and an individual. She survived unbearable conditions and she embodied “the strong black woman.” This book, borrowed from my friend Stephanie, changed my perspective. “Affirmation” is a great piece but these lines are capable of standing alone. I’ll always want to be a part of a collective that alters its environment for the better. I also want to be accomplished and competent enough to stand alone. I believe nineteen year old Shaun would be proud to see me today. She would hang up her flight jacket, take her Yankee fitted off, comb her perfectly straight hair and stick her fine toothed comb in her back pocket. She would brazenly look me up and down and then we would discuss the power of words. She would agree with me…I lived every line of that beautiful poem. It looks different than we imagined but we’re doing well.

I believe in living but I’d jump in front of a train encompassed in orange and yellow flames for someone I love.

I believe in birth. Carrying a child and bringing one into the world is extremely challenging. Yet, seeing that little person for the first time and feeling their breath on your skin is euphoric. We give birth to different things. You’re giving birth right now…to thought, to light…

I believe in the sweat of love. Love is work. Hard, intentional, active and assertive work.

And in the fire of truth.

I have been in situations that were seemingly catastrophic. Then, in almost a cinematic turn, all is well. No magic tricks. No special circumstances. Just the personification of truth, rising in defiance and leveling anything and anyone that opposes it. Even when I had experienced so much I was starting to doubt myself. Truth was ever faithful.

Some quotes are pretty. Some are just timely. Some are your own memoir. You’re living every line and you find comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

My Why

I started writing to survive.

I was a little girl in 5th grade and I wrote a poem for an assignment. My teacher at the time, Mrs.Thomas, entered the poem in a contest. The poem was called Abigale.

Abigale was about a sad little girl. Abigale was caucasian. Abigale was probably in a hot air balloon. I have never seen a hot air balloon in my life but Abigale was surely about me. I was Abigale. Abigale was Shaun.

I have a big beautiful loving family. Yet, a large part of me often felt misunderstood. I lost a sibling at a young age and in my mind that event made me a part of an exclusive club no one wanted to be in. I read a lot. Words became my friends. In a way, they still are.

I wrote dark stories. I wrote about things people said were beautifully expressed but not popular. My sensibilities seemed to put me in a vulnerable space. I was exposed, skinless, boneless and edible. “They” said “No one wants to read about these feelings.” The more time that passes, I understand how untrue that is. Everyone is seeking approval in some sense but more importantly they want likeness. People want to be mirrored. Who’s the fairest of them all?

Feelings of angst, uncertainty, passion, hunger, and bewilderment don’t dissipate while you ignore them. You have to handle them carefully with clean fingertips and rub them all over yourself like a salve. You must allow your helplessness to be your healing.

I began writing because it made me feel like a grand design. I was impressed with the sustenance easily pouring from my own mind. I got a high when I read it to a peer and they replied, “Is this about me?” There I was, Adam’s rib, connecting with mankind. I was a part of a universe I once felt so far from. Trees were sprouting, soil was in my belly, rivers were flowing through my veins.

I can never stop.

I started writing to survive.

By :Shaun M Liriano


Sunday Best (Appx 1:20 minute read)

“For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:10 NIV

Her perfume was beginning to fade and her nail polish was chipped.

“I knew I should have bought the gel polish.  Such an idiot.”

She had a pair of black slacks in the back seat of her car.  She wore them to the office from time to time. Thank God she forgot to bring them into the house.  Anastasia lifted the lever on the left side of the driver’s seat and slid the seat back.  She reached into the back seat and grabbed the pants.  Carefully, she pulled the pants on over her panties and under the shirt that she wore as a dress the night before.  Then she smeared Vaseline on her edges and her lips.

“Good as new.”

God knew her in all her glory.  He knew her weaknesses and strengths.  He knew her better than anyone.  He could heal her broken heart.

“Lord knows it’s jacked up this time.”

She bowed her head slightly as she entered the sanctuary.

“Good morning, Sister Faith.”

Sister Faith gave a nod and a smile.  Sister Faith lifted the intricate fan she was carrying and did a slight wave offering over Anastasia.

“Lord, I know I probably still smell like Caleb.  In fact, I can still feel his fingertips all over my body.  I can smell his breath on my neck.  I spent my tithes and offerings on shrimp and vodka. I’m here, though.  I don’t know if that counts for anything.  I sure hope so. My heart is bruised, valves are broken, and they no longer carry blood.  They carry shame. Father, I’m here in your house.  I’m not in my ‘Sunday Best’ and I’m a work in progress but I’m here.  Please heal me.  Please touch me.”

Just then, she heard the praise and worship leader lift his hands and wail.  He was crying out. When his lips parted, it was like he forced out all the tarnished parts of his soul.  With every sound he uttered, more pain came out.  Then he stood there empty and freed from his sorrow.  He was free. A tear fell clumsily from Anastasia’s right eye.  The tear awkwardly waited on her cheek for company.  She had no more.  Just one.  Just one tear.  It waited in vain, died and left a stain.  She envied him.  She envied his liberation.  When he began to sing, she closed her eyes and felt the warmth of God’s loving arms.

She knew her prayer would be answered.

By: Shaun Liriano