#ThrowbackThursday Poetry: Ode to My [Former] Crush

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for another blast from the past. This poem was part of my No Holds Barred Poetry Writing Challenge back in 2015. Originally posted January 27, 2015, it’s a bit of an embarrassing love poem with my iconic sinister twist, back when aggressive, possessive, borderline abusive love was the kind of love I craved (or at least wrote about—don’t judge me).

The guy I originally wrote this poem for is actually getting married . . . and not to me . . . not that I care—I don’t even like him like that anymore. I even deleted him as a friend on Facebook—not in a vindictive, love-scorned crazy lady kind of way; he just rarely posted anything. Oh, the fickleness of teenage love. (Yes, I still feel like a teenager when it comes to love and crushes and finding Mr. Right. See the original post to get the joke.)

I’ve gotten better at love poems since then. In fact, I spent the whole second half of February writing black love poems (some tainted with our darker histories), and the last few love poems I’ve written are actually quite beautiful. They’re not as twisted as my earlier ones (like that one about the woman who strangles her cheating husband while he eats a raw steak . . . Sorry guys, never posted that one).

This poem was originally untitled, but I thought to give it a catchy title that’s a bit of a throwback itself. I hope you enjoy the poem, and please don’t try to figure out who the guy is. Trust me when I say any feelings I had for him are loooong gone!


Ode to My [Former] Crush

You make my legs weak
my palms sweat
my feet tingle
my nipples harden at night
when I lay in bed
dreaming of you—
these are the clichés you search
for to describe a crush
infatuation
first love.
I feel none of these things—
only you
and the indescribable desire
to be near you.
Tell me how I should feel—
snatch me up in your arms
thrust me into your love poem
discard the clichés
show me the reality of passion
how it relates to pain
take control of my heart—
sweet nothings don’t affect me—
squeeze my heart in your fist
whisper commands
how should I love
where should I touch
Don’t just kiss me
take my lips in your mouth
suck them blue.
Give me a reason to
succumb to you.

—Nortina

BlaPoWriMo: Bad All by Herself

Girl,
Ain’t nothin’ on yo head ugly.
Don’t you know nappy the new Black?

And you Black
Which makes you better.

Smooth like cocoa butter on yo elbows and knees
Quenching like shea butter saturatin’ them kinks.

Girl,
You glowin’
And I ain’t done a thing.

—Nortina


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

BlaPoWriMo: Love is Plucking Splinters

Love is plucking splinters
from underneath fingernails
after we carved our initials
into the bark of the old oak

tree, brown like our skin.
You suck the blood from my
finger—a form of foreplay,
your tongue dancing a pirouette

in your mouth. Prickling taste
buds crawl over the wound like
the feet of centipedes. Fall on
top of me into a pillow of white

cotton fields, where just last
June we snatched crop into
our sacks until our backs
cracked under the cowhide

lash. I trace the scars down
your spine, that extend out
across your shoulder blades
over your ribcage, curling

around your torso, and make
out a hand. And it’s as if the
hand of God pressed you down
into the ground. Into me.

—Nortina


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

BlaPoWriMo: A Lullaby

I watch your eye lashes
when you sleep, jealous
of how far they extend,
curling like decorative
wrought iron gates. What
do you dream when you
lay your head on my
breasts?—Rising and
falling with the rhythm
of our synchronized
breathing. Your lashes
flutter with every exhale,
and I imagine it is me
you see behind your
eyelids. I remember you
once threatened to cut
them, and I met you with
glue over my eyes, that
I could see what you see,
dream what you dream. I
caress your short curls
behind your ear. Cast
your burdens on me, dear
love. The world cares not
about us, our desires
and hopes, but together,
ascension is possible. So
dream on, and let me blow
on your lashes and watch
them shiver in the night.

—Nortina


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

BlaPoWriMo: The Darker the Berry . . .

Love Tanka #6

Of all the makeup,
apply lipstick first, red as
blood, let it illume
your dark cherry skin. A kiss
never tasted sweeter juice.

—Nortina


Via Mac Cosmetics Instagram
via Mac Cosmetics Instagram

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

#BlaPoWriMo: 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!

BlaPoWriMo: 14 Days of “Black” Love Poetry

Return to me a soft reply
On which I must with joy rely
Give me thy hand and then thy heart
Entirely mingled not to part
Relume the tapor near expired
Seeking a friend so long desired—

From “Acrostics” by George Moses Horton, 1844

George Moses Horton, born a slave in Northampton County, North Carolina around 1797, was the first African American to publish a book of poetry in the South. He gained fame in the Chapel Hill area for selling personalized love poems to students for 25 to 75 cents apiece.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today, and truly the entire month of February, is all about matters of the heart. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, a parent or a pet owner (which is essentially the same thing), religious or spiritual, there’s no better feeling than to be loved by someone.

In a world so consumed by hatred and division, what we need more than anything right now is L-O-V-E.

So it’s only fitting that Black Poetry Writing Month 2017 be all about the L word. If you’ve never heard of Black Poetry Writing Month, as the name suggests, it is a month-long poetry writing challenge that focuses on subjects of race and the black experience in America and/or the African diaspora (past or present). I started this project a year ago and was so overjoyed by the enthusiasm and the participation of my fellow bloggers that I’ve decided to bring it back for another year, and hopefully for years to come.

This year, we’re going to do BlaPoWriMo a little differently. For the second half of February, I challenge you to pen a love poem a day—a black love poem, specifically. Your love poems can be romantic, familial, platonic, or religious. They can be about the love of oneself or of one’s heritage. The love or desire for freedom, literal or figurative. The love of blackness, whether that be skin tone, body image, or culture. The possibilities are as endless as love itself.

So if you participated in Black Poetry Writing Month last year, even if you only read the poems, or if this is your first time hearing about BlaPoWriMo, whatever the reason that brought you here today, I invite you to join the challenge. Write a “black” love poem each day for the next fortnight. Post it on your blog and tag it BlaPoWriMo. Link your poems back to this post in the comments section, or share on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #BlaPoWriMo. You don’t have to be black to join the challenge. Black Poetry Writing Month, like Black History Month, is a learning experience for everyone.

So learn with us!

Love with us!

Yes, even write with us!

Happy Black Poetry Writing Month!

Why I Changed the Title of This Site

cropped-pexels-photo-14303.png

Lovely Curses is a name I devised from a poem I wrote several years ago entitled, “A Blessed Curse.” This poem explores the workings of a toxic relationship in which a woman who is repeatedly heart broken by her lover (the curse) returns to his embrace because she can’t force herself to ignore his haphazard maneuvers of devotion and affection (the blessing).

Still, I come back.

Because you open your doors to me,
seductively offering
nourishment, warmth, solace,
if only for a moment,
because in that moment,
I am blessed.

Forgetting my curse
will soon follow.
—excerpt from “A Blessed Curse”

I believe this poem accents my brand as an author, because although I write on a variety of subjects, one topic I always come back to is the mistakes one makes in blinding love.

I hope you’re as excited about Lovely Curses as I am! 2016 is going to be an amazing year!

Selfish Lover #frapalymo #tanka

Love Tanka #2

Fire ants climb from
clay mounds, rests between my toes.
I wait to greet you
under the chokecherry tree,
sucking ripe berries—stained lips …

… kiss the tops of breasts
blushing red, feet ablaze, you
slip your tongue between
neck and chin, ignore the sting,
your love resides amidst burns.

—Nortina


 frapalymoThis poem is written as part of #frapalymo which Bee will be translating into English for us at The Bee Writes…  Today’s prompt is a coupled prompt. I combined today’s and tomorrow’s: “the I” and “the you.”

Summer Showers – English #frapalymo #haiku

Love Haiku #6

Summer showers bring
wet hugs and electrified
kisses, thundering

under cloudy skies,
dancing, splashing in puddles
of mud and water.

—Nortina


This poem is written as part of #frapalymo which Bee will be translating into English for us at The Bee Writes…  frapalymoToday’s prompt is “write a haiku.”