Former Eyrie staff member publishes poetry compilation


The cover of McKay’s first installment in the Adopted and Other Labels series.

Max Stoneking, Co-Editor

Jacob McKay, 2015 graduate, values creativity.

A former Eyrie staff member, McKay has taken his limitless creativity and put it to use, releasing a series of publications focused on poetry. The series “Adopted and Other Labels” has three books in total, all available on iBooks for free.

“They [the books] are basically a compilation of writing from three different periods in my life,” McKay said. “They are made in an effort to explain what it is like to be an adopted black kid in the Midwest and attempt to stay sane.”

The poems started for McKay when a counselor in high school encouraged him to write things down. His notebooks full of notes turned into poems which are now part of his creative piece.

“I have really been inspired by creative people like Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator and Kanye West, just to release [creativity] with no fear,” McKay said.

All three of those artists are predominantly known for bringing an original brand to the world of hip hop.

The first installment in the series showcases some poetry, essays and work in prose, all from the perspective of an adopted kid from Haiti. The perspective of the work is personal as McKay was born in Haiti and adopted at a young age.

The second and third installments focus on being an adopted millennial in the technological age and the poems within those installments specifically focus on religion, self-hatred, self-discovery and alienation along with analyzing how today’s culture can influence depression as an outsider. Again, the content is based on personal experience.

“The books really expanded my reach and helped my personal blog in terms of readership,” McKay said. “26th and Cottage Grove, which is the lifestyle blog I started in Des Moines, also came out of that confidence.”

With that confidence, along with the jumpstart the books gave him in terms of audience, McKay is working on a variety of ways to express his creativity even further.

“I might do a short story or two, and I’m working on a screenplay right now. Music is also very much a work in progress, but I have some things I’m putting together that should be ready in March for an official release,” McKay said.

He also enjoys humor and hopes to launch some stand-up comedy in the future as well.

McKay is a student at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and he is focusing on a writing major and religion minor.


Below are a few excerpts from the “Adopted and Other Labels” series:

My Friend

“The best place for him was the edge. I saw him walk the line, many a time. Toes dangling over the edge, daring the winds of fate to snatch a soul that couldn’t be snatched. A poet in the way he walked, and a pastor in the way he talked. A human equivalent of duality in every way. A fighter and a lover, he punched the walls of his own mind constantly. It wore on him but didn’t kill him, and it won’t. Not many are made like that, with that strength. And people would think he had it easy the whole time. I saw him walk that edge almost daily, with reckless abandon. That fear never goes away. The lines creasing a face too young. He knew he did it to himself, but that was his salvation.”


“If i can rhyme then i’m supposed to rap right,
skinny jeans on then i act white,
fake if I try to act right,
i haven’t seen many blacks write,
the birds chirp in the sky above,
never wished i was white as doves,
i’m not confused like maybe Michael was,
if you’re in the gutter on a gilded street,
is it still a gutter or not because there’s gold on your feet”