Photo Credit @_0dysseus (Instagram)
[Insert here Black Boys’ Name]
Your Nan would’ve love to see you finally catch the spirit.
Instead you caught the hand of the law.
Fell in one messy swoop.
Made the body giving itself to God look like poetry, or praise dance.
Blood crowning you as if you were Christ himself,
The cosh the last supper your body would pray over.
All your love splattered across the concrete,
All you breath bubbling in your throat.
We ask how you make death look like sleep sweet you?
How a boy the world boiled hard come out so gooey at the center?
It doesn’t have to make sense for it to make sense to us.
We have always been reading between the lines.
Existing on the periphery of damned and redeemed, in the blank space of neither.
We are good at lying to ourselves.
Best at taking all this ugly and pressing out the creases.
We took all the things from under the carpet,
And lined them up in neat rows,
And dusted them,
And polished them,
And dressed them up on doilies,
And cloistered them in cabinets.
You are not sleeping, you are waiting.
How can a soul leave a body so swollen shut, so bloated?
There is no bush tea strong enough to wash out the marrow from the blood.
The way the two marry, curdled and congealed,
all the sadness rises, all the struggle sinks;
it turns your body into peacock feathers.
Forever will shades of blue and purple make us nostalgic for boys who are
Who have stumbled upon and perfected the illusion of vanishing.
A bath can be a small sea. Hot water is good for taking the weight off my bones,
and if I add Epsom salts, it is good for drawing out fatigue.
You are at sea,
my body an island your ship is drawn to wreck.
Body’s ought resurrect,
but I in rum drunk slumber sink.
I am so full, I sink.
Mermaids cry you know?
We are ugly,
Yes, and when there is this much water,
there are so much tears that there are none.
Please come home.
I am completely, erratically, and unequivocally yoked to you.
Attached by the little finger,
and the gargle of my name in your throat,
and the length of the hairs on the nape of my neck.
I learnt to float to be your island, knowing that
you cannot hold a small sea.
We carry your names,
But it has always been the women who carry us.
Do you know how? We love.
By compulsion, by force, as if to not love would mean the sky is falling.
Loving like loving gets rid of lonely,
and we are so lonely.
When you are empty there is always a dead weight to carry.
Mermaids can drown you know?
Amara is a Black British Jamaican poet, writer and perspectives editor at LAPP the Brand. She is also an English and Philosophy graduate with an interest in Speech and Language Therapy.