(You know I love my black girl poets).
Nneka Ayana is back after a months-long hiatus with more salves for the broken-hearted. Her poems aren’t always soothing, though, and it behooves the lovelorn to remember that alcohol too stings as it disinfects.
Three new poems from her untitled archive are about the pain of love, even while you’re in it, and the tragedy of watching it slip away. redlipsandcitylights is nowhere near as overly-emotional as I’m painting it because Nneka’s words beat back heartbreak like Smokey the bear at a bushfire. Calm. Cool. Collected. Even while unraveling at the edges. And that’s why I love her.
Her poems read like private invitations into a misery shared that can never really be halved. They read like clinical observations on the loss of one’s arm. Detached and yet strikingly poignant in the contrast of unemotional words and the very emotional events they describe. She says it best.
i wish the word love couldn’t be translated in so many ways
i wish it was as warm and gooey and intentional as
every time i say it.
but sometimes it’s cold
Wade through the entire archive of her brushes with affection here.