The Poetry Project

Two Poems

tash nikol

The days a breeze

when we visited the bayou.

We walked with no direction through the streets
following the scent of wind and water.
The clouds were
Beautiful and pronounced, swift in pace
The sky so vibrant, the air dense and foul.
Racing through the quarter tripping on
Cobblestone and laughing at the
Old rich betsys and bens
Dining on the sidewalk.
Never taking it all in, or
Stopping for too long.
We caught a chills
at St. Louis Cathedral and hurried right by
We couldn’t stay too long.

The brisk winds kept us along
And a hand at my back but
I couldn’t take it in too long,
Like the hand on my shoulder
We had to let it go,
cause when i looked no one was there
Although I still felt her imprint
Sometime ago
But we stopped to take a breath
To let the air wrap around our necks
A little more.

Or from a time before
It was nice out. There were portals
of sun beaming through the suicide trees
so heavenly we almost forgot
the stench of history and mother
nature's wrath of breeze and sea
suffocating mainly only us now

At dusk we had to go
the stench. And I’m still unsure if I’ve accepted
that. Grooves from the fingers of an invisible hand
lay’n on my shoulder. Acknowledged but not really
A time of offense toward any queue to awaken me
awaken to keep moving before dark, to beat the time
In the streets that were never mine but once
we’re free in some way or maybe that’s the
question, and why we didn’t stop to acknowledge
Our chills at Lafayette,
the presidential pens
So we left unaware but presently there
Knowing it was at our necks
At the necks
Somehow making our way home
Before it was too late.

Once doves lived on the parkway

It seems like just yesterday I
arrived in the big city
although I’m back now I really
was there
and the brown doves were there
with me
isn’t it crazy to think that my
sisters from the south
ended up in my living room
the parkway was always alive
and we found most memories
when taking our food waste to the
park on saturdays, where there
were trees
and we thrived on all sides
we proclaimed a sisterhood but
it wasn’t all a hassle
or maybe it was heavy and we
rushed with our bags hoping
that nothing spilled

The 9 to 5 or more like 227
drinking wine and smoking spliffs
on the living room floor
jas reading nabokov and the
and indi studying the runway while I
went to work almost daily
somehow it worked until it
i left jobless and met a man
that made me expect more
for nothing, and when he was gone
so were two
jas to berlin and indi back home
to the south
i guess
we could of made more of that time but it
was fine to lay on the rooftop all brand new
sipping nice wines and speaking
the language of concubines
but only to each other
outside we only shared on film
those conversations on the
parkway just a block from the 3
on each side and a short walk to the
museum where we waited in line
so proud only to be turned away
i remember those days so fondly

Now it feels like living the life
i had always dreamed
while in a race for time
which is always the race but
we made it
working into the late nights
and then in for the worker man tired
and unenthused
i’ve never changed so much
like when morning greetings from the
dominican lady next
door stopped
her pamphlets now sweet
her smile of concern
once gone things changed and
we could no longer go through
the fire escape
to get back in

Just waiting as we always did,
for a line, a call back,
that job interview
she never applied for
an acceptance letter
never sought after
we found a bond if only in the
the fine print
they weren’t really there
if she could have just gotten in
maybe she would have stayed
but instead i watched
her wait everyday for a break
that maybe wasn’t there either
it never existed so instead
we bonded over motherlands
from the streets to the parkway
i think the waiting took its toll
on me
and when they left because
i met a man
he went off too
and there was no turning back
but maybe if i waited longer we’d still
be there laughing and crying in quarantine about
how to survive the plague that we
were already prepared for
cause we always were
we never lived
like it wasn’t already there

Four polaroids against a white background -- the top polaroid is of two femmes are hanging out on a roof in the summer, the bottom right is an apartment interior featuring a bookshelf and large potted plant, the bottom left is a black and white polaroid of a skateboard with a can on it, and above that is a polaroid of a neon red WINE sign.

#265 — Summer 2021