© 2023 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Poetically Yours Ep. 40 - 'Coming Out Of The Shadows'

Picture provided by FourPoets OneMic

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week’s segment features Aliya Bailey from the poetry group FourPoets, OneMic.

Bailey, who goes by the stage name Leaux The Heaux, is a spoken word artist from northern Illinois. She’s written and performed her whole life but started taking her craft seriously in 2013. She's a published playwright from Free Street Theater, where she has helped to write and act in original performances. As of late, she co-founded a poetry group called ‘FourPoets, OneMic’ on the campus of Northern Illinois University. When she’s not putting on shows and guest performing, you can catch her and the group competing in local poetry slams. To keep up with her and the group, you can follow her personal Instagram @leauxtheheaux, and the group’s page @fourpoetsonemic. She's sharing her poem “Grow”, which was written for the DREAM Action NIU "Coming Out of the Shadows" event that took place last month.


This is my third coming out the shadows 

And much like you all, 

And I’m tired of writing why no human is illegal 

I mean I’m tired of writing how no human can be illegal 

I mean I’m tired of explaining how we can’t be illegal in a land that was never ours to take or to place people on to begin with 

But maybe it’s my fault 

Maybe my poems are too complex and it’s perplexing them 

So allow me to water it down 

Roses are red 

Violets are blue 

If they are illegal 

Then you are too 

We sang songs hailing murderers for sailing the ocean blue 

If this is the home of the brave, 

What about them is scaring you? 

If y’all are afraid, 

I guess you really don’t uphold American values like you think you do 

[But that’s not new] 

The same country that can’t separate church and state turns down other refugees trying to make their way 

But unlike Jesus, let’s focus on your ancestors, 

Who you love saying came here the right way 

But Please inform us, what is the right way 

We’ll wait 

To me, 

It’s not having shadows to hide in in the first place 

Even sunflowers look to each other to grow in the absence of sun 

They don’t grow upwards in a “right way” 

So stop trying to bury them when y’all know they are the seeds that are blossoming in an environment that never wanted them to grow 

Even we use flowers to decorate 

So with a culture so vibrant and colorful, how dare we say there’s no room for perennials in our home 

You say there’s only one race, the human race but you’re justifying turning backs and keeping out our own 

I guess that’s fitting for DREAM Action to have chosen the hummingbird 

They’re the only bird that can fly backward so when the dreamers are being pushed back 

They make a way out of no way and find the strength to begin again 


They migrate any time day or night 

They are not fearful of shadows 

Like you all they are unafraid 

They are proud 

They can fly regardless of time 

But they can also hover 

They stand their ground 

They recognize 

Passports shouldn’t be a privilege 

Because opportunity shouldn’t be a privilege 

So stop 


No human is illegal 

And there is no purpose building borders around people that know how to fly 

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.