I wrote about inherited trauma and the way my relationships with my brother and father informed my attraction to men. This piece began writing me last summer after I listened to Jay Z’s album, 4:44.
Here is an excerpt:
I begin thinking about the way people both transcend and encompass gender. I think about the way I am absorbing and categorizing gender and I begin to ask what I mean when I say I cannot connect with men.
*This piece has brief mentions of assault*
[Image description: Red background with four black outlines of bodies that look like shadows. Standing in front of them are seven outlines of brown and silver body shaped armor wearing skirts. Armor is in the shape of bodies but there is no face or body inside it.]
I wrote about coming into my identity and coming out to my family by accident, and some of the things that came up for me back in January after listening to Kim Burrell’s sermon that went viral.
Here’s an excerpt:
I do not use the word boyfriend because I do not yet know that is the right word. I do not know if he knows yet either. He is still making a space for his gender, and I am still trying to understand why gay and straight do not feel like polar opposites to me but more like individual planets I do not belong on.
…It is not about being queer — what manifested as homophobia was just a placeholder. White supremacy dictates that Black people fit into images and these ideas seep into bloodlines and psyches and skin until the standards for being an acceptable Black person are too high for anybody to reach.
[image description: two hands holding a bible open. Image is tinted red with a dark background.]
Posted in Published essays
Tagged abuse, church, family, homophobia, orientation, qpoc, qtpoc, queer, QWOC, religion, sexuality
in all of my openings there is a silent space
a width that expands or a come hither
or the larger part of the most honest part of me
and it spells ‘yes’ like lips parting and breath leaving or thighs riding
and that is where I know the most about me
that is where I get bigger and fall over on me
that is the tongue where I taste the most raw
that is where I drip
that is where I will find your whole mouth
there will be a part of me that lifts up and over
as a result of knowing you
there will be a layer of me that widens out and falls down on me
whether you fall in love with me or break my heart or both
there will be a death of me and a birth of me
because I will change drastically as a result of opening up for you
and I am not mad about that
I want so much to spill out for you
I want so much to be wet for you
and you may grab me by the hair
with a forcible gentle because you want it so much too
and I will say ‘baby, grab me by the hair of me. show me you want it badly too.’
I wrote about inter-generational trauma, emotional labor and femininity and masculinity after watching Beyoncé’s Lemonade. This piece went live on The Establishment yesterday. It’s my first paid piece and I’m very proud of it 😉
Here’s an excerpt:
I will never embody Blackness in the right way, and I will never embody the right image of a Black daughter. Long after my parents are separated, I watch my mother do the emotional work of 10 women. I see that for my father, this is not enough. I begin to interpret this work as birthright, or a facet of femininity.
I begin to conceptualize my father’s behaviors as inherent to masculinity. I carry this on top of my bones until it seeps into my skin and before I know it, my relationships. In some way or form, I become an image of my mother; finally understanding why it feels like some part of my attraction always has something to do with my dad.
[Image description: a lighter skinned woman with lots of thick, straight hair, clutching herself. The background of the photo is yellow in color. I can’t tell if it is Beyoncé, or someone who looks like her.]
Posted in Published essays
Tagged abuse, anxiety, Beyoncé, Black women, fathers, fathers and daughters, femininity, intimacy, Lemonade, love, masculinity, POC, QWOC, relationship psychology, relationships, Selective Mutism, The Establishment, theestablishment.co, Trauma, WOC
What black lies in white with brown smudges?
what hands lie in wait for mixing colors?
I want to paint blue in front of you
hold services for your adolescence
I will spread out for you like spillage
for the love of do-overs and whole hands
I will slide through the blessed opening
bury myself in full collage for you
What black bleeds quietly over hard lines to love white too?
what brown edges eat the litany of childhood happening new?
first 3 times then 5 years old
your face was full and painted over
then you fed me forward and I fell back
afraid of your recital
now 6 years counted and I reach for solid melodies
in place of memories and effigies
We are black and white double sided irony
or late 80’s finely diced analogies
(the aftermath of carelessly carved out romantic fatalities)
starting from Cortlandt Avenue and stretching to Richbell Road
up and over several bridges
I do not want to paint the rain on Brooklyn streets
without ever knowing how it heals to be blurred lines for you
If we are both hungry and wanting to be widened
if we can color in and I am moved by the eyes on you
then will you eat all of my excess yes?
I will take back everything that ever poked the white space of you
fall back and open through holes and drippings
and blue out whatever bled your face red too
spit my colors out and fall backwards into you
eat you black and white
(digest you raw)
after I love the holes closed
fill in everything that ever hurt the space of you.
*I committed to writing a love-themed poem every Friday in February. This is the last one and possibly the most difficult one to approach saying in words.
I’m rounded and warm on the table
a solid bowl for you
in the wake of your flesh leak
I think mostly of your eyes
the outline of the space
between your give and my bite
or the shadow that follows the shape of you
when you’re facing me
now I am out and over with a spoon
ready to be slapped or served to you
I traveled through your clothing
digging through threads and fabrics
to try to taste your wound
thirsty and wide in your pocket
I dreamt about the space between skin and eyes
or the outline of the bones of you
you were the heavy wet part on me
you were the length of time around my body
you were dripping pointy pieces
you were hard to dry
I hear you closer now, solidly
more honestly now
you were ringing in my ear
now I’ve come back down
and here you are an ocean near me
you’re full and you’re the reprise
that I missed both times before
I am fuller too
in the wake of your other face
I am honest too
I wasn’t listening at first
but now I’m tied and knotted
solid around you
I’m not pained by what we both need to learn
I’m the longer version
moving in and out
with all of your fibers
ready to touch your center and wrap up in the length
then round out again for you
I’m not going to lie or make up a story
about what we both wish were different
I’ll be whatever I can be
if you are open for my give
I’ll be lined and separate
I’ll be full circle
if you want
I’ll be careful
I’ll be fluid
I’ll be chorus for you.
*I’m writing a love poem every Friday in February. This is the third one.