February 20, 2023

Voices & Creators is a platform for Summer Search's community to share perspectives, creations, talents, and more.

Summer Search

Khalil Bullock

(He | Him)

About Khalil:

  • Aon Apprentice, HR Data Analyst, Author.
  • Summer Search Philadelphia Post-Secondary Student.
  • Philadelphia, PA.

What He's Sharing:

'A Conversation Between Two Birds,' a poem he wrote back in 2019 from a (currently in progress) book of short stories and poetry. As Khalil elaborates:

"My book 'Boy Feelings' was written to depict the Queer & Black experience from a young age into adulthood. The poems / stories capture the feelings, perceptions and memories associated with growing up feeling unseen or unloved.

"It's difficult to express one thing when we are made up of so many different experiences and cultural references. This poem is from chapter two entitled simply, 'Black'.

"Furthermore, the inability to relate or cope with the negative perception of self-image, creating space for indifference and angst. This poem for example is a clear degree of separation using the analogy of swimming in a pond meant for someone else. Put simply, the background of this poem was written to cope with feeling like a stranger in my own home (country, community, etc.).

"There is also an audio version as I feel there is no stronger set of words than that of a poem read in the tone of the artist. I hope this resonates with someone."

Listen to Khalil's poem (on Soundcloud or YouTube) and read below.

A Conversation Between Two Birds

Negro Swan, you the odd one out,

Well, you can’t swim so good.

You're always so loud.

And you smell funny, not like all the other swans at all,

your beak so long, and lips so big,

That must be why it's so easy for you,

to drink from my pond,

you mustn’t even try, the water just, call out to you, and you find it so easy to take, Mm.


Negro Swan, how you live with a beak so long, and wings so dark?

Why you fly the way you do?

And when the feeders come, why you always last to eat?

I know you like to eat with feet as big as yours,

But you act like the food not good enough for you,


Listen, I know you different than the rest of the swans,

But that’s not why the others tug on your tail, and pluck at your feathers,

It’s because you in our pond,

You know we wouldn’t be so mean, if you weren’t here,

standing out, looking so black, nothing like the rest of us.

If you were to just go back to your own pond,

And drink your own water,

no one would peck at you,

You’d be safe and happy back where you came from,


So how about it, negro swan, why don’t you go to your own pond?


White swan,

what it must feel like to be you, I wonder,

To never hear the call of rain, and thunder,

To swim,

in a pond make just for you,

On whim,

I suppose it must feel brand new,

with your light feather, and small beak,

of course, someone must help you eat,

You see the food I seek,

Is never given for treat,

For negro swan, I feel unique,

No one ever wants to feed the freak,


You ask me why I fly the way I do,

And with a sky as high, wouldn’t you?

A chance to be free,

don’t you feel it too?

Or is it only me,

Who feels chained to you,


With wings plucked

And beaks Broken,

I, negro swan,

alone to fight,

No one fawn,

Hold myself tight,


Where do little black birds come from?

A question beats your mind like drum,

You think and wonder,

While lands are left by plunder,

Little black birds, burn and scorn,

Left their families, thousands mourn,

what pond is mine,

Deserted by time,

My home, is mine no more,

You ripped the thread, tore,

My feathers bold and black,

To stand out I have a knack,

My beak, big to speak,

Too weak? will mean defeat,

My feet? Swollen from resisting retreat,

A seat? is something we do not seek,


White swan,

how it must be,

to live so free,

To see so little in me,

But I, negro swan,

I can see,

you're afraid of me.

Thank you Khalil for sharing this powerful and personal reflection, and for being part of this extraordinary Summer Search community.


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