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Roya Marsh, a Bronx Native, is a nationally ranked poet/performer/educator/activist. She is currently a candidate for Pratt Institute’s MFA in Writing and Activism. Roya serves as the Poet in Residence with Urban Word NYC and works feverishly toward LGBTQIA justice and dismantling white supremacy. 


Roya's work has been featured in Flypaper Magazine, Frontier Poetry, Nylon, the Village Voice, Huffington Post, Blavity, The Root, Button Poetry, Def Jam's All Def Digital, Lexus Verses and Flow, NBC, BET and the Break Beat Poets II: Black Girl Magic Anthology (Haymarket 2018).


"These poems speak to who I am and who I always wish to be. I have never felt safer than when sharing my stories. We have a duty to ourselves to leave a mark on this world and a duty to speak for those who are constantly silenced. Writing is a synonym for breathing."





Who am I?

By Roya Marsh


I'm this country's lifeline 
People travel 'cross the world for a Look at my skyline
I'm still so bright in the night time
To make it here is the chance of a lifetime


I'm Yo, Son, what's poppin' slime
I'm psst, shorty, mami, dime


I'm a boogie down production from birth
You know the bridge is over, well I'm every verse
I'm beatboxing and freestyling at the park
I'm still running the streets after dark


I'm Broadway light stunning
I'm open hydrant running 
I'm corner store hustling 
and rush hour bustling


I'm get your money how you can
I'm survival of the fittest man


In the hood

I'm coco, cherry, mango, rainbow
I'm ham and cheese, salt, pepper, oil vinegar, HOLD THE MAYO
I'm piragua, piragua
I'm La playa del orchard o chocha, no ir en la agua


I'm graffiti til they wash me off the walls 
I'm a mural when a street soldier falls
I'm NYPD Get on your fucking knees
I'm Stand Clear of the closing doors please
I'm MTA with another hike
I'm fuck this. Where's my citibike?


I'm too impatient to wait for a waiter
I'm standing still on the escalator
I'm Lipton on some days and Hennessy on others
I'm mothers hugging daughters at the funerals of brothers


I'm the family photo over the gaping hole in a broken home
I'm the reason Poppa was a rolling stone 
I'm Park Slope to Fordham road
I'm gentrification's secret code


I'm can I have a spiced latte and a flagel
I'm all I had to eat today was a bagel
I'm don't hit me, don't hit me. Just let me cross
I'm traffic on the deegan...better call your boss
I'm who would throw this out? Some call me a hoarder
I'm OMG look- they're filming Law & Order


I'm no one goes to that club, I heard it's lame
I'm Hey, how are you (I don't remember her name)
I'm all the tourists favorite, but if you know me you don't care
Some days I'm just Grand Central, most days I'm so Times Square 


I'm Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx & Staten
Shit, I'm jersey too...yeah that just happened
I'm Wall Street white collar 
I'm war vet-need dollars
I'm buying reefer from ya teacher
I'm warning you can't trust every preacher
I'm Nike and Adidas sneaker 
I'm die hard Yankee Believer 
I'm gang green in the bleachers  
I'm an NYK championship...okay I'm a reacher 
American dreamer 
I'm Revolutionary Rebel and Screamer
I'm Schemer 
I'm Activist and public speaker 
I'm eager
I'm leader
I'm ether 
I'm harmless if you follow procedure


I'm the lookout-- whistling 
I'm fuck whoever ain't listening


I'm everything you need at once like a spork
I'm the $300 champagne bottle you gotta finish once you uncork
Who am I?


I am not a New Yorker. I am New York.





Gentrification is cannibalism  


is a world 
eating some of its own
for profit
is the sky 
vomiting the sun & moon
over an earth 
already flushed.
home - is where the bed is
there, lies the head 
where disappointment feasts 
where rents increase 
& your throwback Thursday 
with your Easter dress
& absent teeth
become someone else's 

coffee shop.




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