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Portrait of a Boy by Hassan Usman

A boy’s body is a graveyard

carrying so many coffins,

so many scattered bullets,

so many funeral songs.

The society is a gun

& his cowardliness pulls the trigger.

Who said boys are not stones?

Say, emotions are reversed when a man is involved.

A boy doesn’t feel pain,

pain feels him

because being a boy means

you should let the sun dry up your wounds,

you should not allow your eyes rain

for they’ll flood your body,

you should be your mother’s husband

& your sisters’ father.

The world doesn’t know a boy is a seashell,

he’s found empty when he dies.

He’s an unfinished poem, already rejected.

He’s the villain in his own story.



Hassan Usman, pen-named Billiospeaks, is 2/4 of Next Generational Poets. He studies Counselor Education at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. He fills up emptiness by writing poems and sometimes feels dead in between words. His works are/forthcoming in Five South, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Lunaris Review, The Shallow Tales Review, and elsewhere. He’s on Twitter and Instagram @Billiospeaks.

Art by Dave Gregory


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