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.
- 100: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97 & 98: PROPAGANDACOMING SOON with M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones