Poetry: “My trust issues began in 2015 when the NY Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis” by Kenny Bradley

“during the 22’ NBA draft my ex trades away my heart, like child who trades away mother /packed lunch for roll of oreos missing the notes that say ‘I love you'”

Ever wonder what happens when sports and poetry meet? In this poem, Kenny Bradley shows us, using basketball as a vessel, how vulnerability, masculinity, and love are intrinsically linked.

My trust Issues began in 2015 when the NY Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis

after Hanif Abdurraqib

and in that moment, my father’s tv screen first gave praise to a little boy, we were both crying,
and in that moment my father and I learned that tears become everyone’s first therapist, waters
give praise of better harvest, harvest give promise of better supper, and eating became my first
love language, so as a fan I consumed on each lie, I was nothing but gullible child, someone
could play peekaboo with their hands over heart, and I believe their love would disappear,
believed in unicorn fantasy, that relationships can’t shatter off the backboard,

and two years later the Knicks fail the draft again with Frank Nitikina, a broken pinky promise
disguises itself as hope, I’ve given up on believing handshakes are the best first impression, and
in that moment I learn how short a fuse the word promise has, I’m learning every phrase I ever
sign off should be flammable to ensure I can burn the evidence, and in that moment these lottery
picks have singed my gut tissue, contracted ulcers every time I begin to dance with the word

and during the 22’ NBA draft my ex trades away my heart, like child who trades away mother
packed lunch for roll of oreos missing the notes that say “I love you”, you give praise to
shredding my arteries like boxed frozen chicken nuggets, and in that moment “I love you,” is
clogged behind my uvula, and “I love you,” was always my first pick of the draft, and “I love
you,” was the MVP in my vocabulary when we played last season, and “I love you,” is an
undrafted free agent you have yet to sign, and “I love you,” is a bench warmer and I’m waiting
for you to play them against me, and in that moment you “promised” that you loved me, but I
was still this child, believed in each of your fantasies, am still nothing but ignored fanbase, my
acts of cheers and boos are just swish of net, it doesn’t matter how noticeable my worthlessness
sounds when your the only one scoring, And so yes, a moment after the 15’ NBA draft, Kristaps
Porzinigs became the first unicorn I saw, the first lie I was told

And so yes

I’m preemptively wiping the tears I’ve collected since 15’

And from here the waters mimic a muscle relaxing ice bath

And from here I’m putting my trust in the rain to be my only therapist again

Kenny Bradley

Kenny is an African American poet and Biology PhD grad student at Rockefeller University currently based in New York City, where he travels the 5 boroughs to perform spoken word poetry. Kenny utilizes concepts in Biology to influence and shape his poetry to discuss topics ranging in self-love, identity, dissecting trauma, and being a black person in STEM. His work acts as a bridge between art and science, showing how important both disciplines can work in tandem to tell a story and for personal growth. Kenny was a member of the Provslam 2023 slam team and is a published co-author of a team chapbook this past summer titled “Dear Kid Monster,”. He and his teammate Ren L[i]u were finalists for the 2023 Button Poetry Video Contest with their joint poem “Love, Monster”. His work can be found on his instagram @hotchocolate_poetry

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