baby, baby

kiss my lips
ain’t no harm
to moan
and change
of rhythm
gave you my life
to my white blood
some faraway
six foot hole
inside my chest
cobalt ribs
as intimate
the truth is
i see you
i see you
and god grew
tired of us
on the ghost
of the truth

*“where did our love go”

give and take

for nikki wallschlaeger

ancient sunday
quitters raga
they can’t teach
what they can’t prove
i should write a book
about wearing white
and tusk fulfillment
how they make
and shit in general
our endless inclusions
got my hands on a clip
saw blood
and a bit of it was mine
we going to war
so show me how
when black children
are sad
it’s about letting go
of top-down
and letting the hive
take control
set the world on fire
from the radiance
of an orange tree
world be a mirror
whiting out
all the details
as though it were
an inside fucking joke
in 5 minute
between myself
and the universe
who am i to you
that is all
the blessing i need
to burn it all down
when b.b. passed away
i kind of woke up and said
love is deep shit
now we can go out
and destroy
the universe

*“you can't hurry love”

let me be

for tongo eisen-martin

the discipline
of painting white
the limitations
of dancing horses
how a whole city
wants to hurt you
silent passage
desire system
just sitting
on my hands
moth wind
what happens
when you replace
your eyes
your face
your heart
i call it
“the key of e means
everything will be alright”
i am more fearless now
these are my hands now
i believe the shit we say
the aforementioned
liquor store oreos
if the journey
came this way
then it’s my pain
i bet on diamonds
and the starry night
grieve for the lost
places in your life
when you dream
of childhood
always wearing black
makes you want
to do right
shatter a little bit
to survive
in the long run
when you lose
track of time
hunger, strength
calm me of myself
the bay of fires
we get old
we get faithful
we get tired
but world
we gone
be alright

*"you keep me hanging on”

i had no name

music arrived at home
how can i right
my wrongs
quit running to jesus
when the pain
becomes exotic
another mountain
growing up
turning inside out
like all the planes
we flew
the sweetness
of a honeycomb tree
my body
spinning around
in white water
and the kids got cokes
and chocolate bars
and we’re supposed
to forget
four hundred years
of throw us a bone
and dig out the truth
cowman oxfords
mixing fire with fire
they let us sing
and dance
and smile
but took us
from our land
by our teeth
and i'm pretty
messed up
all the time
over liquor stores
and old school jams
our history
is one of the greatest
but i feel love
for you right now
like quartz
laid down
in bands
we've died
in the wrong order
so nothing real
can be threatened

*“love child”

yes i will

atmospheric rivers
call me by my real name
like malcolm
in mecca in ‘65
aiming too high
wanting too much
resurrecting images
of forefathers
left limp
like ali over liston
i don't know
where the recent
dead have gone
but i hope
wherever it is
god keeps
a better eye
on their sparrows
let me cover
your shit
in glitter
our love
and grief
its own solace
nature of this life
is its systemic
a kind of faith
and rhetoric
we know
as we have
known nothing
i can't remember
the last time
something wasn't
going to shit
that it did not
black triangles
in a red field
rosewood casket
hold your breath
every time
break everything
you are
gravity seems
a mistake
show me a history
and i'll start
you owe yourself
the love
you so freely give
to other people

*“i’m gonna make you love me”

ain’t no river

house is a gauntlet
from the panther’s mouth
you do see a pattern, right
when we was
washed up
along the sea
beestung lips
drag your name
as if your name
is not our name
being forever on the verge
i cannot reimagine our lives
the parts we once abandoned
drinking orange crush
from the bottle
my crazy ass
i must hope
that wisdom
is not a word
of slander
we fake memories
screw current age
to the sticking place
who was also my monster
my tongue
until i choke
let the damn water be
the bomb
& altogether beautiful
that is burning down
the metallic abyss
the god dream
around my neck
sometimes i wear
all my chains
at once
walk through the fire
and never shed
the heat

*“ain’t no mountain high enough”

make this world

to change birds
all this history
you have in your life
we are surrounded
by the fucking wolves
take off our clothes
to find the truth
the start of our safe dream
where shawls have been used
in prayer preserved
like angel cake
rituals for centuries
if i had money
i’d have a baby
move to la
or tennessee
cherry red arcadia
in my native tongue
black mountain
mineral love
the hard work is done
i’ll take it from here
hold my liquor
like the saints do
our love in cold blood
more than monument
or tissue
your mama
she ain’t never
going to be the same
either i survive
or cradle the earth
kick these rocks
in the river
in the river
be a vessel

*“reach out and touch (somebody’s hand)”

erica lewis

erica lewis was born in Cincinnati, OH. Her books include the precipice of jupiter (2009, with artist Mark Stephen Finein), camera obscura (2010, with artist Mark Stephen Finein), murmur in the inventory (2013); and the first two books of the box set trilogy: daryl hall is my boyfriend (2015) and mary wants to be a superwoman (2017). Her chapbooks have been published by Belladonna, Lame House Press, and After Hours/The Song Cave. Her newest title, mary wants to be a superwoman, is now out from Third Man Books. lewis lives in San Francisco, where she is a fine arts publicist. @ericalewisfinein


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