I dream of wild strawberries

I dream of wild strawberries sprouting between the cracks of my dilapidated porch. Crawling on my hands and knees, I’ve regressed as this house; boarded windows replace glass, can’t block the wind, the critters from slipping in at night, drawn to the dim light—a single lamp burns on my last paid electric bill. They snuggle in bed with me, finish eating the tattered sheets. It’s been days since the storm and still no relief, but I pry up the wood planks, splinters buried under fingernails. Fruit shaped like teardrops, the color of a summer sunset, red like the stop sign bent over backwards in overgrown grass. Seeds prick my tongue like taste buds; anticipation more satisfying than the bite. A sweetness that makes me forget the flood damage, the mosquitoes, the purple welts along my arms, the fever, the declined insurance claim, the spoiled milk and molded bread. A sweetness like Fourth of July cookouts, freshly mowed lawns, homemade ice-cream nearly melted on the spoon. A sweetness that saturates the mouth, reminds me of a lover’s kiss, tasting my own lip balm on his lips, transferred to the back of my throat for me to swallow—until I sink my teeth and wake in darkness, cold, with drool on my chin.

—Nortina

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Full

Our first night we kissed
he bit my bottom lip
pierced it through
licked blood from his fangs
howled at the moon

—Nortina


 

Fright Night Fridays:  Every Friday night, dare to venture into something spooky, something paranormal, something suspenseful, something that would surely give you a fright. Are you brave enough to stick around?

Seasoned

Hello, sweet autumn—
your falling leaves kiss my skin
like cinnamon. Ground

to dust, you sprinkle
all-spiced flavors in my mug;
taste winter brewing.

—Nortina


#MicroPoetryIsBae, so here’s a micro poem in response to Amina’s autumn inspired haiku. Check it out here!

#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: October Thin

Happy Throwback Thursday! I originally published this poem on July 31, 2015, looking forward to a skinny October. Well, two years later, and I’m still trying to lose those pesky pounds. I recently told my best friend I wanted to be Aaliyah for Halloween. So . . . *clears throat* . . . it’s time to get to work!

October Thin

I want to lose at least thirty pounds by October.
Odd month to set a weight loss goal, I know.
No one aims to have their bodies bikini ready
by October. The water’s cold by then. The beaches
empty. No one’s there to see your smooth wax,
your carved abs, your lifted ass. There’s no use
in being scandalous under the water, pulling off your
bottoms, brushing up against a fellow swimmer, spreading
your legs and peeing in the waist deep ocean where the kids
boogie board. It’s hurricane season. Those rip currents
will snatch those bottoms right out of your hand,
pull you under with them. No, October’s the wrong month
to get skinny. But it’s possible there’s a skimpy Halloween costume—
equipped with fairy wings, a tutu, a lace bodice and pushup bra—
waiting for my newly thin body when the clock strikes midnight October 31st.

—Nortina

I like to watch you sleep

I like to watch you sleep,
and when your eyes flutter open,
I like to watch you rediscover the world;
the sun peeking through the blinds,
the honey of your naked skin,
the bed sheets we lie under, still damp
with the sweat of last night’s lovemaking.
I like to watch your lips
curl and fold, expand and purse
when you smile and call me “sleepy head.”
You’re wrong— I’ve been awake all along,
won’t let you out of my sight.

—Nortina

Transparent

Kiss me with urgency
the way you did before
your foot slipped from
the sleet-slick bridge
and turbulent ocean
waves swallowed your
lungs. Your lips feel
like ice on my tongue.
I stare into your eyes—
my mirror behind you—
see myself licking air.

Nortina


 

Fright Night Fridays:  Every Friday night, dare to venture into something spooky, something paranormal, something suspenseful, something that would surely give you a fright. Are you brave enough to stick around?

#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: Autumn Lapse

Welcome to another episode of Throwback Thursday, poetry edition. Today’s poem marks something special: a change in seasons. Ah, yes, Fall is just around the corner, literally a day away, and I don’t know about you, but I’m anxious to pull out the knit sweaters, the wool scarfs, the suede boots, and of course indulge on the pumpkin spiced lattes (I don’t care what Martha Stewart says)! What do you love most about Fall? Here’s an autumn inspired love poem to get you in the mood.

Originally published October 21, 2015 for the Write or Die Wednesday challenge.


Autumn Lapse

Love Tanka #5

Sun sets an hour
early; wind pushes east, sends
fallen burgundy
leaves adrift. Wool scarf tightens
around neck; coffee cools in

Styrofoam cup—pumpkin spice.
Pumpkin patch picked; please, contest
winner, spice up this
love with cinnamon kisses.
My Rip Van Winkle slept the

Autumn away; wood
splinters fracture his cheekbones.
Frost-bitten lips, blue
like night’s sky when moon is full,
and I dream he’ll wake in Spring.

—Nortina

 

Love Drowning

Is it possible to drown in rain,
to lift your face toward the clouds,
mouth agape, let the droplets
puddle, flood your lungs?
Your love will be the death of me—
already I’m sinking in rising waters.

—Nortina

Daydreaming

Love [not-quite-a] Tanka #10

All night I dream a
lover’s kiss entangled in
the sheets. By day I
savor his honeycomb lips
until I fall asleep.

—Nortina

#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: When Peaches Were in Season

Welcome to another edition of Throwback Thursday! This throwback poem is fairly recent, originally published this past Valentine’s Day for the Black Poetry Writing Month Challenge. It seemed appropriate for today since it is peach season after all, and given that the blood red stone in the center of every peach is almost like a heart, they’re the perfect fruit for romance!

So how do you like your peaches? I like mine succulent and sweet, the kind you can bite into and the juices stream down your chin for a lover close by to lick up. 😉

By the way, I’m already brainstorming prompt ideas for next year’s Black Poetry Writing Month. I really want to boost participation and visibility for this project. So if you’re interested, leave a comment with suggestions, ideas, promises to join the challenge next year, etc.

Now on to the poem…


When Peaches Were in Season

Years later, and I still remember
your ginger hair, red like the sky
just before dusk, after the sun
has set behind the cotton fields,
and we’re back in the quarters,
you lying in hay, my face in the
roots of your crown, smelling the
spiced peaches you prepared for
the Missus. One night you snuck
a jar under the folds of your skirt,
and we hid in the balcony above
the chicken coup, slurping the
slimy sweet fruit between cinnamon
crusted fingers, dripping maple
syrup between wood planks into the
den of orange and brown feathers.
It was the only time you ever kissed
me, leaving behind the sticky,
sugary stain between my nose and
upper lip. I never wiped it off.
Not even when Ol’ Whalen tore my
back raw for loving his wench. Not
when he sent me to the driver to
break me. Not when Mama Celia
delivered your baby lighter than
you. No, not even when they sold
you to the rice plantation in South
Caroline, and I watched you dragged
behind the cart in chains, still
swollen from your recent labor, and
when you turned around one last time
to call goodbye, your crying eyes
leaking streaks of blood. But I still
remember your syrupy lips, fastened to
my rough, wiry beard two seconds shorter
than I wanted it to last, the caramelized
peaches squeezed between your teeth,
your copper hair flipped over your
face, a veil to hide your deepest thoughts,
until I parted the spirally locks
and met your stuffed cheeked grin,
oozing cinnamon and maple peach juice
from the corners of your mouth.

—Nortina


Written for Black Poetry Writing Month, 2017— a fortnight of “black” love poetry. Join the challenge and share your love poems today!