2 poems by Mayah Lovell

Illustration by @iggdeh

black body as a sexual tool 

power between dichotomy

leave me no more

 wax dripping from back

water falls off head

ricochets candelabra

a sound like sshhhhhhh

why make it

make me stay here

the right side of my back

my lower back

(it is clumped

heavy with wax)

my nipples drag hard cold

how much time has passed?

harness as an accessory 

to a small pool overspilling 

under a smile above pruned-toes 

when you strap this black tool 

squirting spitting crying: 

i can go for another hour

even on all 4’s 

shepherd like messenger

or torturer, really

flood in the corner flipping palms

under wrist and paper 

towels slopping mop 

drags in the joke

desensitized satire warms irony

please move the ladder

Na know nuh care 

milk ducts spotted round 

in ah ‘em favorite part 

ah me gelly glides over me mound 

wih di hand of ah Black ‘ooman

she tell me: its ok so me think: Me ok

eyes husk like so 

me see her b4

me know her starrr 

everywhere ‘ooman Ethi 

kin’ like King Haile Selassie 

eye-video se’ play back 

round tools in me womb: 

-sucked ‘way life 

-seh fi she start anew

-assistant comes in the room

-eyes roll a while lids shut

-makes me cum ah while

poked 2 times ah many

IV  wrist uprooted 

from  terra cotta roofs

Black riseth above thee

british man *encyclopedia

wrist leak of hibiscus 

pussy-smell like sorrel an’ me eat it up

anise, ginger, cinnamon, 

orange peel

*language/words/information was always of major interest to me as a child. The encyclopedia was a personal centerpiece of mine In the Jamaican household in which I came from “lickle pickne to big woman.” We had some version, or volume, whichever it was of the Encyclopædia Britannica.  I read that it was originally published in 1768, but I’m not sure which sort we had. The hardcovers of each book were dark blue with gold text. They took up a lot of space. For most of my life, I perceived myself to gravitate to the encyclopedia. But thinking back it was more of a pressure-romanization like “grandma what’s [some thing]?” “look it up in the encyclopedia. Find the letter and read.” While it was a source of some of my early development, there is a lot of colonialism and white supremacy tied to those learnings. Super interested in the “broken english” language spoken in Jamaica known as patois. That thousands of people which proximity to whiteness were enslaved, and taught to speak and uphold English. I guess they weren’t good at it, but developed their own personal dialect. Many latinx, indigenous, asian, and white Jamaicans also speak in other ver of dialects. So what is broken if descendants of enslaved people speak a language incorrectly yet find themselves still attached to the language. As a latinx Caribbean writer fluent in English, language tools like syntax, and punctuation, run-offs, grammar etc are really not important to my artistry, but rather tools to dismantle and unsee. Don’t always want to proofread and perfect.

Mayah Lovell is a Black lesbian latinx from suburban-area D.C. Her artistry grounds in transcendental trauma beside Black queer ancestors and awakened by practice of fantasy, radical love, and ritualism. Mayah is also a Biologist researcher in both Genomics and Immunology. Her studies are synthesized by cultivating essence through mixed materials—natural, auditory, visual, performative, and text. Mayah has exhibited and performed prose art in Philly, Baltimore, and D.C. Her writing appears in Peach Fuzz Magazine, Coven Poetry, and Stone of Madness Press.

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