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erica lewis

from mahogany

sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love

i am the vampire’s wife

i wake up

every morning thinking

i know you don’t love me

like you say

you do

daytime hurts my eyes

i should sit down

in the calm darkness

and have a cherry coke and a smile

i should be there for you

make the most of this


but i no longer want

to participate in this thing

called america

i want to talk more about this

but that means i need

to call out some more

people publicly

i’m not strong enough to do that yet

i can barely take care of myself

i am triggered by everything

around me

i am reminded

of everything

my ancestors lost

in the not-so-distant past

mostly, my heart

just hurts all the time

i am tired of having

to educate my white husband

i just want to scream

at the top of my lungs

all the fucking time

it’s hard to see fairness

in some of the ways

the world plays out

the lack of morality

in this country is astonishing

summer of now

you leave the bones

of peter behind

hands in your pockets

while we skate

to frankie beverly

and maze

we are not northerners

but plagues

from the south

i am once again reduced

to my condolences

summer is being held over

until the sun dies


changed the plan

baldwin refused

to hold anyone’s hand

i like to be awake

before the sun is full

be fucking honest

with yourself

shit’s over, whatever it was

it’s gone for good

your whole world

has been redefined

i am trying to deal

with a lot of feelings rn

that have nothing

to do with you

there's someone outside

doing a side deal

with my husband

for my childhood

i, too, feel like shit

being alive

is a lie

something like the gospel

something like bedroom scripture

my only life experience

is death

suppressive heat

cicadas and someone

driving off in their pickup

with my youth

open your eyes

brother, run fast

justin bieber

with those dreadlocs

and peaches, though

the truth is a bitter pill

not a recreational drug

face it

every ugly

mocking detail

i hate the way

he chats with them

like it's his life

he's giving away

i hate the way

he's made my friends

his friends

the way he talks to b.

like he's known him for years

the way he calls n.

"norm" behind his back

there is no tender wisdom here

it is the year of being alone

i want to make sure

i’m not reinforcing


or profiting off black pain

at a great enough distance

we’re all invisible

happy birthday to me

i am younger

than i have ever been


erica lewis lives in San Francisco. Books include the precipice of jupiter, camera obscura (both collaborations with Mark Stephen Finein), murmur in the inventory, daryl hall is my boyfriend, and mary wants to be a superwoman. She is currently writing the final book in the box set trilogy, mahogany, inspired by the music of Diana Ross & The Supremes. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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