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Chicago Spoken Word Artist, Jorey Cross AKA Salam The Poet , Takes Poetry to A Whole New Level!

Salam The Poet is a 26 year old Spoken Word artist from Chicago. Writing for over 10 years and performing just shy of that (8 years), Salam uses his craft to spread dope energy through creativity, affirmation, and interaction. Salam’s talent has taken him to stages as big as Bantu Fest, 24/7 Hip Hop’s ‘Check Da Mic’, and Columbia College Chicago’s ‘Manifest’ to spaces as small as High School classrooms, family gatherings, and various community events. Since then, his endeavors have lead him to becoming the host of his own open mics called ‘Spit Yo Peace’ and ‘Truth Be Told’ where he continues to use art, affirmation, energy, and interaction to reach people while simultaneously creating a community safe space.

Give me a little bit about your background. Where are you from and how did you get started in poetry?

I’m a 26-year-old, Spoken Word Artist from Chicago, Illinois. My start in poetry came from my loathing for homework and my love for words and English class. Finding the quickest way possible to get out of homework, so instead of writing papers, I wrote poems explaining the given assignments. At first, it was just something easy, but eventually, a couple of my teachers took notice of my ability, brought to my attention what they meant, and encouraged me to keep going as well as take it seriously.

Tell me about your most memorable poem, what is it saying and why is it your favorite?

The most memorable of my poems, I would say, would have to be “Where I’m From (Harvey Dent)”. This piece talks about so many different things. It touches on the extreme duality of Chicago, what it means to be a Chicagoan, confirms and dispels the myth and notions of the city, educates you on the city’s rich present day and history, and most of all it speaks to the people that are born and raised here in order to give them something to take pride in (the good to the bad because it makes us who WE are) when the rest of the world and media paints only the negative picture. “Where I’m From (Harvey Dent)”, is my favorite for the simple fact that it’s one of my most creative pieces. The creativity spans from A to Z. It’s placed in the title, pop culture references, education, relation, common slang, and so much more which would take a Genius (media company) interview to explain where my mind was in the construction of this piece.

What is your goal as it relates to your poetry writings?

My main goal, as far as my craft, is to reach and teach people through art and affirmation with hopes of taking me to a point where I can mix passion and pay while continuing to produce more creatives, positive energies, and community-safe spaces.

Who are your poetic influences?

The top influences, on the poetic side, are Edgar Allan Poe, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, a few other Harlem Renaissance poets, Mya Angelou, Georgia Ella Lyons, Gil Scott Heron, and Tupac Shakur.

If you could write a poem with one of your favorite poets, dead or alive, who would it be?

Choosing one is hard. Dead poets would be either Gil Scott or Tupac. Alive, I’d say Rudy Francisco and Prentice Powell

What was the last poem you read by another poet and who are your present favorites?

One of my coworkers that just recently found out I was a poet let me read some of her work, and it was quite amazing. Present-day artists that catch my eyes and ears are Rudy Francisco and Prentice Powell as well as home turf favorites such as Ques, Toni Mono, Gem of Shaolin, and Sweet La Vain...just to name a few haha.

How many poems have you written, and do you have plans to publish any of your poems? If yes, where?

On record, I have 56 pieces written. Off the record, there are some lost files that possibly stretch that number into the hundreds. I do plan to get them published once I put together my book titled ‘The Dark, The Light, And The Sight’ which is a book of poetry featuring two other writers, Peter J. Austin and Khalid H. Muhammad.

How do you get into the mindset of writing poetry? What inspires you to write?

The writing process for me is more abstract than concrete. Sometimes I’m inspired by events around me such as creatives, social issues, nature, etc. Other times, it’s purely soul spit and the fire in me is blazing just pushing out different ideas. All in all, my mind, body, and soul must be in sync for me to produce an elaborate, cohesive piece.

What advice would you like to give to upcoming poets?

SPIT YO PEACE!!! Meaning, whatever brings your soul happiness, tranquility, and drives you to keep going day to day...spit that! Don’t spit or write for clout. Make sure it’s authentic to you and be relentless about the passion you put into it. That will take you and make you shine.

If you had one last piece of poetry to write for the world to read, what would you say in 2 sentences?

Your existence will always be a blank canvas for the world. No matter what, allow your art to tell the true story.


I touched hands with oblivion, looked past the brink of the sunshine

Envied the divine birds, embodying freedom from a caged mind

I took time, to make a bond with beauty

If I describe in depth you’ll swear the shatan used me

As I raise my right hand to the artisan, I swear I never thought I’d see it

Heavy breaths and chest reps, like could this really be it

Gaining consolation in my spirit I now fancied foreign

Being frozen at the phenom only thing stopped tears from flowing

Growing ice in my veins pushed adrenaline to new limits, enough for convulsions and involuntary function to give in

But that wasn’t the case, the thing is

When placed in the presence of greatness, it’s quite hard to maintain homeostasis

When you’re staring from an eagles wing with the wind in my face, it’s exhilarating

At one point I thought I was getting closer to my peak until I landed with a new vantage

Where it’s probably possible to point out each print where ancestors might have been standing

Can you imagine how my mind’s losing traction as this is happening

So, I would hope you know I’m not not capping and believe me when I say this...

Always felt skeptical about mentioning my experience with a myth

But I found a place where they welcome the word Thunderbird

Where tribal yells hold the same historical significance as the liberty bell

And those that know the course have met the princess and her horse

They told me that there’s life far from the plateau

Lower crevices nestle villages where culture never died

And prominent water passes land masses only to be met with appreciation and gratitude

No smoke I’m so high I’m lost in latitude, Twilight zone my sense of longitude been long gone

As I sat upon one of seven wonders it hugged me and healed my wounds

I walked sacred grounds, and paid homage history outside of a text book

I’m honored to be blessed with a journey where some may never go or look

I experienced riches beyond monetary wealth, an experience that proved there is something greater than self

I solidified my appreciation and love for nature, the universe solidified the existence of a creator

-Salam The Poet


Honey Caramel

Ms. Honey Caramel,

I wouldn’t be surprised

If you called the honeycomb home

Staying busy

Worker or Queen you Bee

Unbothered by damaged petals

As long as you stay men free

Others pollinate as they please

But you, selective

Where you get your nectar

Knowing that your hive holds treasure

That real liquid gold

Mix that be commodity

Speaking for itself, saying

“Bottle me and place me for the public. You can find the highest price sold and still couldn’t match the worth of this magic made from the soul.”

Raw and unfiltered

You only feast on the finest

Filled with royal jelly

Your spirit has fed nations

For the hungry you were

To the sick you be medication

Definition of honey to the tea

You something like soul speak

Willy Wonka couldn’t forge this

Your sweet comes with a little heat

A real treat, if they know how to eat

Those who don’t

The name and taste

Will forever be stuck between teeth

Only as pain

A cavity of memories

Because they never wanted you

Only something to chew

Never took pride in unwrapping you

No enjoyment felt

Just a quick fix

Unaware of your fun facts

For example

Once you’ve pass through lips

And placed on the tongue to sit

You melt

Hugging taste buds while

Passing under pallet

Now the bliss is felt

Unlocking hidden flavors

Tasting each moment

The confectioner took to perfect ya

But it wasn’t easy

So he made your skin thicker over time

And richer with each try

When you were done

They hid the process behind caramel eyes

Spirit met flesh

To manifest the most complex

Yet best being know to man

A candy coated raindrop

With a twist of brown sugar Sista

Hips defined

You made to be

Life giver

Full lips

Kisses be mood shifters

And I love your curled crown

Don’t have to lift a finger

For an impression

The power in you words lingers

Touches, speak volumes

One caress turns pride to solute

Your fragrant, be heaven scent

If you disappear

One sniff makes you omnipresent

‘Cause you Goddess to say the least

Our universe spun by your hands

So genesis stemmed from your genetics

Phenomenal Black Woman

-Salam The Poet

Energy is the one thing in this world that cannot be created or destroyed. It's forever! It's organic! "Spit Yo Peace" Open Mic is a platform created to provide spiritual, mental, and emotional healing through art, interaction, affirmation, and energy. This reminds and assures those that come out to spit or sit that they have just walked into a community safe space.

-Salam The Poet

Facebook: Salam The Poet

Instagram: book.salamthepoet

Twitter: Salam_Thepoet

Published work: Featured in ‘Dear Black People You Are Loved’ by Lucky Ray Johnson

Website: Pending

Donations: $PeaceThePoet

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