If I close my eyes—you appear.
Crawling behind twitchy eyelids,
slow walk solid calf muscles nutmeg flesh
marinating in Rasta oil.
An opened upright blade,
slight bounce, like you steady hearing
Bounty Killer in your head.
Plenty chat, telling me
’bout your third-eye
and what it sees.
Your body learnt to shutter
its want, buried snugly beyond
the breastbone. Watching me lift
your shirt away, feel
the marbled ridges of your spine.
Tongue tasting the scar
etched into your skin,
above your lip. Press your
still open mouth against mine.
I try to steal your breath,
suck earlobes and neck,
split you open like a ripe coconut,
catch and drink the bits of you leaking away.
Beautiful man, you are
the ocean churning inside a skull. Every cuss
a broken piece of bottle. You never left
the island but long to. Fingertips smelling
of tobacco or herb, always ready
to fight someone or something.
Thrusting a gun finger
into the air, rigid—
a brown beacon; I will you
to life: fuse sinew, blood
tendons, bones, memories.
When your hands wrapped
across my stalk of throat to feel
me writhe beneath you, you could have
picked me up if you wanted to, crumple me,
throw me away, watch me dissipate
in the warm air around you.
I licked your sweat
from kicking a ball up
and down a closed street,
four concrete blocks
for goal posts. Wet clothes tangled beneath
us, kisses like darting hummingbirds.
You splayed me open,
taught me a language
of bite and bruise and sweet.
Dis is how yuh make a wound,
dis is how yuh heal it.
A version of this poem appeared in Black Renaissance Noire.
- FREE: 20 Poets anthology
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- NO THEME VIII Editorial
- ‘A means of resistance’: Susie Anderson Interviews Alison Whittaker
- 10 Works by Richard Bell
- Shipwrecks in Modern European Painting and Poetry: Radical Mobilisation of the Motif as Political Protest
- 4 Self-translations by Danijela Trajković
- Brutalism: Poems by Alex Creece
- Imperfect Growth: a Travel Log
- 4 Translated Kim Seung-hee Poems
- Residence: Dwelling with The Shards (an essay)
- The Shards
- in yr swimming pool
- Sonar for Conception
- The slow clock
- nanny on the water
- Vernal Funks & Bluffs
- I’d Have Called Her Sooner
- Call of Summer
- Sunday, call me a squid
- Mother Bird
- The Wrong Colour
- Milk River
- House fitting : surprisingly
- Farewell to Sweet Pea