these things now for my companions i shall sing beautifully

By beloved

what would queer visions of the family network look like? what are queer visions of the longevity of relationships in a world of disastrous mortality? what becomes of intimacy in wounded shelters? how does an embrace become a bullet? what is a lesbian in a world of villainized femme embodiment? what part of femme bodies are the most protected? how do you know the sound of your lover? where is your heartbeat uplifted? when they think of their lives and their relationships what is it that queer folk are aspiring to, yearning for, working towards?

“let me look at your face and see a heaven worth having” -ruth awad

the stage is a bowl of spilled light.
the whistling of birds
and echoing hollow drums are heard.
as the stage begins to ripple with color
lightning strikes five times
and blooming from the electric
come five sisters.
the sister of song asks them
to remember their names.
they address their sistren:
“do you remember your names?”
there is no response.


wagwan sistren?

the wooden beads and cowrie shells in her braids shriek and coo,
platinum and brown waves ripple like branches
as she takes long deliberate steps
while sweeping air into her chest

when i was a girl i was a blade
mi flesh an immortalized wound
heavens say mi name and it bruise pon the world
when i am forgiving
i say mi name and it be a prayer
mi name a messy alphabet for absolution

she lift her braids in her hands and their knocking get louder
she swing her hair around and from it flow incense
she offers her face to the east

i am suncolored in the yolk
of my exile
a rind of lemon on the lip
of a birthing horizon
this gon be my country
my ocean and sky
where Black gurls neva die

we jazz blue

the sisters giggle behind her,
they link their arms to shoulders
rolling their bodies together
they roll along the line of their legs
they move like a giant automaton
of sinew and longing

i said! we jazz blue
thru war
we love be a harmony
we swirl sol sip brew
blush hyacinth and carnelian

my sistren!

the sisters each fall into accentuating and assured poses

even when we die we are living
things living soil of the baobab
living grassy leaved fags
living ripple in bamboo

she lifts her left arm in small circular sweeps
her right beating in staccato above her chest
on the fifth rhythm her splayed hands
rise to the column of her throat
spreading and jellyfishing

somewhere every tongue
is fashioned in our favor
forking at the heat of our
pleasure swelling with protein
enzymes swarming fresh
every mouth a womb
to carry our harvest

my sistren!

the sisters each fall into accentuating and assured poses

i bear your fruit
we the garden
that they cast out lovers
from mi sistren see mi face
and they bare dey gums
we gnash concrete teeth
drop tourmaline talons
suspicious to be seen

fearing the likeness of we

i be cloud heavy
bong ripped clear into trebling
thought mouf breathing
kisses at mi reflection

the sisters blow kisses at each other
kalamina and sunrider
leap and turn through the air
legs pointed and splayed
hands grasping and fingers brushing
to catch kisses

i be so heavy with milk
looking at miself
mi mouf
hang open
spilling messy
with candor

Black femmes
was the fruit
the earth yielded
from the 7th day
Black femmes
were birthed
from the desire
t h r u m m i n g
in the loam of the soil to taste the lip of the sun.

the offspring of life reaching for living :

1st: the rain come to kiss the roots
2nd: the branches scratch dey itch along the scooped unclebelly of
3rd: rapture



the sisters lift their hands
clapping in double beat repetition

made Black femmes
what became of desire swollen under rainfall
and bursting into fulfillment, was Black femmes

we bodies moving
like everything chorus
anthem and choir

the sisters cup their hands to their mouths
they roll their heads
they dip their voices into a hum

movement sometimes is color
when movement streak fast
it make color
it come like fragile matter
fragile moving through light
make Black femmes sistren

we running
we seeking a shelter
we rising

the sisters climb on each others shoulders
lego-ing their bodies
into cheerleading pyramids
they face each other
in mocking movements of
seriousness and play

i am passion colored
teeth stained hibiscus
in the rinse
of my aunties
we gold glinting
at corners

way of the first mothers smile
we was everything
the light sang into time

my mother was the color
which pop of round
and honey butter on the tongue
she took to her first color
with grace
the color everything
wanna fall into
and find rest,

the sisters fall gently into each other,
heads cushioned in tummies and____

necks wrapped in arms their robes __
billow up like rainbow streaked______

the sisters begin to chant____________
i love you! i love you! i love you!______
the sisters sing_______________________
i live you! i live you! i live you!________


won’t anybody hail we song
won’t nobody crescendo we song
won’t nobody gospel we song

hymn we round
the fire of your companions
sing a Black gurrrls hymnal
make mi sistren
the madonna
and god of your church

break the bread
salt our flesh
wet the stonefruit
nestled in our hearts

at our temples
won’t you leave us pearlescent strings of tears
and bags of saffron teeth
stained with lime
pour oceans back into
the wellspring of what was our heartcenter

are you
are you
hanging from the tree?
they strung up our bodies
they said we would be free
strange things have happened
here no stranger would it be
if we died Black before we could be free


i love my girl
she black currant and jiggle
summertime poppy and noonday ripple

the sisters cluck their tongues
they trill the air and gasp breathless
with their swells of noise
they clamor the earth
they make a sea of their feet stomping

i fill myself up with my girl
slather my tongue thick and aching
with the headiness of her

the sisters crescendo
into orchestra of jubilee
they rub their nails together
and harmonic the acrylic tips
they clamor they clamor they clamor

the waterfall of my girl
the milk which spill from her
when she in bloom
be cleansing
the blood of my shield and blade

something of our vengeance
reaps sharp and vinegared
we have been their sorrow
soaked in juniper and lilac cream
echoing call of the nightingale
we will be their last breath
catching smoke between fingers
like jumping salmon in the river

i go with my lovers braid
wrapped as satinleather ribbon
in my hands
my fingers washing clean
eternally in the plum burst
night of her hair
which swallow me whole

my girl
come on every back of
the winds
voice larking through the day
singing for me
the lighthouse and the beacon
she be she be she be
she alone knows all my names

sunrider bows before an unknown force
clasps her palms tight to her breast and
prostrates upon the floor
in graceful supplication

she whispers the words
“my love is good, all the time
all the time, my love is good”

lai lai

my lover drowned our baby
younger than the day sweet baby was
yes my lover drowned our baby
before i could take him to be blessed by my sisters
our baby the mothers named orion
they took orion
from the country of my bosom
skin toasted and dipped frankincense
under the wink of the sky
our baby the mothers named orion
they took orion
fruit of my flesh and seed bursting to
harvest where the rot would not touch
sweet baby

our baby the mothers named orion
they took orion
blooming under our kisses and swaddled in
time to die before the altar
of fear

my lover drowned our baby
quieter than the night sweet baby
was yes my lover drowned our baby
before i could take him to be blessed by my
we had children once
who grew tall
and full of their
own breath
bodies shaped from affection
they charmed every
curve of the day

oh we had children once
children my sisters kissed
till dey face was just
a floating moor of
delicious unspoken promise
blessed to plump
and rise from
the press of loving

we had children once
we had children with names
and silver dollars behind their ears
who always hummed
their prayers at the waterside

we had children once
who grew tall
and full of their
own breath
bodies shaped from affection
they charmed every
curve of the day
yessir we had children



when i was an auntie
i was a fortune
we ah have so many children
running between our legs
wild stallions plowing their path into time
free as thunder and glowing from attention

they begun to hunt us
for the wonder of our children
pulling them lak husks from our magnitudes

when mi sistren birth a baby
me ah milk am first on my breast
so mi sistren can rest from birthing

me ah carry da pickinini fuh me
back show am the storm
as it crawl close pon the plains of da
sky me ah laugh and feed it to am
me ah smile and rub am into it skin
me ah blow raspberries into the
belly lak when the earthquake
come up to shake land

me ah show the baby
how everything swell from it’s
how everything
warm into a richness from its
breath, how everything ripen
from it’s breath

o’ mi sistren
from everything you grow
come we pride
mi sistren when you christen me
auntie to the pickinini of your
wealth it make me a fortune


won’t anybody hail we song
won’t nobody crescendo we song
won’t nobody gospel we song

this is the story
we gwan to tell about our song

the sisters start to dance,
rolling their hips into comfort
stomping their feet through light
swinging and swirling their arms

close yuh eyes tightly till
sumn pop rock under the dark curtain it is
the last day of the end of the world and
the stars have all forgotten their names

we alone remain
a tabernacle of memory
a bestiary of memory
a periodic table of memory

when we were a riddle
they fought to crack us
when we were headaches
they were the clamor ringing in our

temple, now?

we are

s o a r i n g

my sister and me
sing forgiveness into each other
flesh the moss blanketing the forest
reaches for us verdant and grassy
leaved fungus sprouts from our
nailbeds caps thick and spotted
where the sun dapples we backs
we roast plum and aubergine

what my sister sees appears before
me what i hear stirs within her

in the beginning there is us
cardamom and curry
maggi cube and scotch bonnet
yellow plantain and red pepper sauce

we are always falling into the new sky
at the edge of our sisters tongue
together we chorus, we chant, we canticle

the bridge of our liberations

together we chorus, we chant, we canticle

the sacred name of our paradise

in the beginning we are riding jupiter
licking salt from all those moons
and adding the crystal to our canines
a glint and glimmer to glisten the sun

there is no alone without connection
there is no alone without protection
there is no alone without devotion

we remember our mothers here
in the peach creamsicle of our song
hear our laughter color our skin
honeyed almond and cacao clay

we honor the mothers in us
our skies are an endless parade of color
cyan at dusk
tangerine at noon
magenta, smokebush and marbled marionberry at sunset

we feel the caw of a cresting hawk
treble our blood
we feel the lightning flush of
sunlight kiss a leaf chartreuse

our solitude is marked
by shared living
i am her spirit
she is my body

the thread of us is thick and alight
the thread of our life is long and bright
we are promised
we are the promise


wagwan sistren!

she waves enthusiastically into
the wide day throwing flowers
from her bosom

how body dey o’?
how spirit fly?
do spirit fly?

where is your heart when you is not touching it?

everything in me becomes a bell
when she wield her body lak an
ocean come up tuh see me

she ah make a music of me
me ah neva hear before with such
ease me a melody plucked from the
under the strum of her fingers

only one i know before i know her
who make song of me
be my sistren from the moment
we enter world together
the kind ting
which we dey make of each other
under moonbeam
and swaddled in freshwater

dey fit vex dey fit rage
dey fit throw powder
dey fit spit lightning
and petition heaven

if dey carry knowledge
if dey swallow knowing
of the tings which we cast
upon our names
the armor which we pulled down
from the rings of distant flung
planets the armor which we blessed
from the smoke of ground bone and milk teeth

my sister sway her hips
and out come the sun
dancing at the peak of her thighs
she waz a reckoning
of twilights fleeting
nuclear charm
she take as many lover
as she can chew through
lovers fuh every current
mami wata send back
she lak em to wind
through her and be
rumpled in they rough places

my sistren!

the sisters each fall into accentuating and assured poses

o’ my star spangled mercy, who do
we grant our mercy
and for whom do we leave
the dead their vengeance

o’ my home an irrevocable condition
who do we grant our mercy?
and for whom do we leave
the dead their vengeance?

the mothers? or the harvest?

we have neva been the convenient love

the sisters snap snap snap their fingers
their nails clicking and clacking
they call out
“the ocean too wide!”

god like me don’t come
to kneel
but i want …

yuss i want
i want may i find a jubilation
to come easy for

i have been slaughtered as a lamb
but i am no lamb
i makeshift myself into a pyre
to whet my desires against
i am the smoke
rising to the gates of elysium
and curling through hell valleys
i am wind and winding
wing and winged

when i first tasted of heartbreak
my sisters grew me forests orchards plantations
magnolias for the bruised heart
opium fields for the longing whistling through
sugarcane for the bitter burn of unfulfilled desire

how dizzy
to be ripplingripplingrippling
through so much becoming

she waz a being made for worship
and i still fashioned in surrender
the coy leopard of her sweetness pacing her cage
i loved her when she waz full of emotion
and writhing with the force of them
i loved her when she no wan me
when she ain’t wan no one

there is no part of her that i not
remember, the shadow of it teasing
under mi eyelids
there no part of her i no wan witness
eyes wide and blinded from brilliance
i loved her when she waz a beast

fiercely and unyieldingly
she showed me her heart
and now i guard its flight

the first night we hatched love
between our cupped palms
both the curtain around the flame
and the blue peak of the fire
clouds formed across my thighs
coasting labyrinthine blue through
my Blackness

she held the webbing of me
the rockets red glare of melanin
bursting brown bombs in
hurricane blossoms across the
landscape of my body

she rubbed lemongrass
and shea into the scars stretching
forked lightning across the
ozone of my skin

in her presence i felt myself stretching taut
shaking out wrinkles of erosion
with her i waz eager to toil and bubble
blister and peel off my skins to show her
all marrow and blood and muscle oozing underneath, i
waz eager to have her eyes map and trail
drink up the presented self, the holiest self, the porous

self in a cartography yet unveiled to the public

she loved me
raw and bleeding
loved me stinging
and sticky with soursop
loved me bashful
loved me tricky tricky tricky

baby bonny

when my sistren
fall in love they become
new gorgons, fresh beasts
of slanted light
and syruped darkness

we are not leda
no swans left
the old temples have been
destroyed pulled back under the
of bluewater and seaweed

we have killed a goat
everytime someone
knocked the vined door
left offerings of jewels, lyric and juice
a patient inquiry for
the mothering centurions
who medusa our coven
who medusa us through
spacetime to be safe

i carry these inquiries high up
along the lip of the sky
into the brick layed towers
in my mouth
i womb their inquiries
temporary swing low
dovetailed chariot
kicking coraltone
into the air

when my sistren
fall in love
i become their final mirror
i become the sphinx
and cyclops
set before their suitors

i unhinge my mouth
i break the barbs
and melt the wires
and out flows
the bights
the estuaries
the lakes
the firths
the rivers
the streams

i unhinge my mouth
and out flows
the rememory
benzoic acid and nettle
clarifying our inheritance

when my sistren fall in
love they become
mylles cameron yellowed
ecclesiastic rhapsody
pillow talk of humid nights, blood
vessels ruptured from fervor

o’ they become


one day a man
break something in my sister
this wound it heal but it na close
he ah take his hand
mutilate her till she na fly
she na even remember
she have wings

one day the air
start squeeze and choke my sister
it catch fire in her throat
and it singe on the way out
her body come be
rubber fuh me hands
scorched and melting
in the ultraviolet

one day my sister
become something
that sound weak and frail
but it just a new
slant of liberation
it fresh pon the world
it raw pon the world
it salt the world
one day my sister


i swallowed my sista whole on a tuesday afternoon
cheeks flush with the orangefire of war
and sweating reclamation along my brow
fuh they could cut off her head
i swallowed my sista whole on a tuesday afternoon
yusss i did it!
i did it cos i could!

i swallowed my seesta whole on a tuesday afternoon
breasts plump in the daylight with photosynthesis
nails carving hieroglyphics into the mountainside
fuh they could cut off her head
me ah scoop her into a safe place
made from wonder and blood
yuss i did it
i swallowed my seesta whole on a tuesday afternoon

i swallowed my sistren whole on a tuesday afternoon
burying her name off the coast of distant pleiades
twisting comets shower for her memory
fuh they could cut off her head
and send her spirit spiraling
on its own thread
yuss i did it
i swallowed my seesta whole on a tuesday afternoon

i did these things to make her safe


there was a time
when alligators
came up from
between the rhizomes
of the mangroves

there was a time
wamini played with
the alligators
and bacchanal’d with tamuno

there was a time
wamini was a basin
catching everything
runoff from gods

there was a time
when alligators
midwived our babies
rubbed their backs
with myrrh and amber
and listened to the
hurricane of their laughter

there was a time
we unraveled
mouths, hearts, spines
my sister grew stones
that weighed them down
first along their cervix
again there just there!
in the swell of her breast
i bit every one
i bit every weapon
fashioned against her
and spit it out

spit them into voids
spit them into asteroids
spit them as far as
ganymede and iro

my sister grow so sick
the sick ah no her intimately
the sick ah no her like a mother
it know her back into her chile self
back into when we swimmin
in the same river of our mother

she ah grow so sick
the sick say the name of the people
she love
she grow so sick
till the sick grow in we

the sisters grasp each others hands
tightly, they press kisses into each others hands
they repeat the words
“she grow so sick
till the sick
grow in we too”

the sisters sit in a chain
one between the legs of another
they pick up each others hair
and begin to braid slowly
they humming and braiding
they close their eyes
they are in repose
humming and braiding

…these things now for our companions we have sung beautifully

Headshot of Beloved

  1. from legacies of mothering sprung beloved suruae ibiene — a mutable timeline
  2. beloved is a Black Third World Indigen — sister of the yam, plantain and gorgon
  3. beloved breaks upon shores of understanding buoyed by migranthood and storytelling — earthseed taking root 
  4. beloved's work has taken several forms: cultural criticism, creative writing, arts education, etcetera but is most notable in friendships — to make meanings known and unknown
  5. beloved is sustained by anthems of prayer, lush and forgiving silence and the revel of nature — toil the blood, reap the land  
  6. beloved’s words can be found in several publications including Plantin Mag, The Unplug Collective, Crossin’ Borders Mag, Hooligan Mag and redacted — a mouth is the safest place i know
  7. beloved’s craft is informed by everything the body endures, wombs, and transforms  — if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
  8. beloved is rooting for everybody Black — fullstop.

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