I only break my heart
when memories become permanent in me
in the moment they solidify and i try to make play-dough instead of letting the movie play.

Moments are beautiful
be in them like a human should
there’s an urge to snap, to caption, but some memories are just meant to be.

It hurts sometimes
my heart breaks as i write this poem with slides playing through my mind — my stomach tells no lies.

But i only break my heart
when memories become permanent in me.

Written by: Flose Boursiquot (goo.gl/oE72rh)

Weathered Heart

missing you is
the shiver
crawling on my
skin — one
thousand micro
worms freezing
every part of me
you once touched.

being with you
is a million thirsty
tongues falling in a
salt-less cool ocean water.

you are sunshine
on chocolate skin.

you are savor
swimming inside boredom.

you are awakening
when the night is dark all over.

Written by: Flose Boursiquot ((goo.gl/oE72rh))

 

Right love

Women who love other women were abused. 

She says this, my black diva, those words she said.

My vagina shrinks. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard and I disagree.

“I love other women.” 

Words I haven’t said out-loud to myself enough times to understand. Instead, I write poems — formulas to ease understanding.

The first time a man touched me with his Brillo Pad fingers, I was five. The last time, I was 21. At 16, I asked a boy to hold my virginity. He held it in between his ring finger and thumb — it’s not new, he said.

I agreed. It has been stripped like onion layers at Burger King.

Catholics said god will give me a second one if I prayed. I needed a dozen at that point. God frowned not knowing I had Brillo Pad scars all across my clitoris and vaginal walls.

Women who love other women were abused. 

I love individuals. 

I love individuals because I have seen how men move in systems. From five, I have known that the love in my heart cannot belong to man alone. It belongs to the light inside the light in you — I see the light that shines for me. And so, I love individuals.

I love in human. I love that women are beautiful. I love that womyn are beautiful. I love that trans is beautiful. I love that the light inside the light of me can love right.

Written by: Flose Boursiquot

Published: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=flose+boursiquot

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Photos: Kalya M Mendez || Jewelry: Haati Chai Jewelry 
Media contact: letitflose@gmail.com
Author of Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe loudmouth.

I feel small

Early this week, someone who I care about disagreed with a decision I made creatively & asked me to rescind. After the discussion, I couldn’t think of any other way to describe how I felt other than small. I’m loud, I’m talkative, I say what’s on my mind, and I do what I want. Are there moments when those parts of my character have negative consequences, ABSOLUTELY. And I spend time overthinking how I can be better next time. When I make creative decisions, I allow myself to be free. I don’t think about other people, I think of myself and my artistic message. Do I think of the impact my creative decisions have, ABSOLUTELY. Do I think about how they will inspire others, ABSOLUTELY. But, ultimately, I make all of my creative decisions for me, because they allow me to breathe in this world.

Joshua Everett, an amazing friend and creative, sent me an amazing collection of essays by Kiese Laymon titled “How to slowly kill yourself and others in America,” and the page I’ve opened today discusses feeling small and I feel so understood.

It reads, “I’m just waking up on the anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination, the birthday of Nina Simone, and I feel small. I’m not comparing my life’s accomplishments to either of them. I’ve learned enough to stop making that mistake. But I still compare myself to who I think I should be by now and the vision is incomplete.”

Asking creatives to rescind what we produce, takes a bit away from “who [we] think [we] we should be,” it’s an unfair ask and in a lot of ways a selfish one. And like Kiese outlines, many of us already compare ourselves to people and visions that exist and some that we make up ourselves. We don’t need you to shrink us any smaller.

Whether you know me as a friend, colleague, partner, daughter, employee, niece, remember that your role in this world is not to form expectations of me and ask that I live up to them. Your role is to be present with me, in the same way, my role is to be present with you. Should you question me, ABSOLUTELY. Should you encourage me to make my way to a better self, ABSOLUTELY. But, it is never your job or your place to ask that I fit into a mold that benefits you. Do I know all of that bullshit about women who blah blah blah and don’t compromise will end up alone, sure… insert Eartha Kitt laugh.

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Photos: Kalya M Mendez || Jewelry: Haati Chai Jewelry 
Media contact: letitflose@gmail.com

Author of Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe loudmouth. 

I am “Giant Woman”

I caress women’s hearts
when their lips bleed
insecurities down to
their beautiful feet.

I write post-it messages
to myself and post them
up against the mirror
to caress my own heart.

I can only see the beauty
in me when it speaks
through dirty handwriting
next to puffy eyelids.

The woman who breathes
life reminds me that we
are queens, more than the
mid-twenties rolls & late night shame.

The young woman who models
beauty for a penny too fat
to slide into my pocket
gifts me a book; she understands.

The man on the radio
is close to my heart but
far from anything i’ll ever know…
he tells me of Alice, she’s always there.

Understanding works that way. 

Written by: Flose Boursiquot

Inspirations:
-Lily Myers, Shrinking Women
-Nahko, Alice (My Name Is Bear)

Plastic when you’re brown

sometimes, we can’t put our finger on a multiple choice item on the checklist, because the conveyer belt is all we know.

sit closer to the cloud of dust,
it’s you.

when the rain comes it washes,
it’s you.

the drain swallows what use to be,
it’s you.

always, our familiar is foreign to the one who knows the pages of the book well, because they wrote it while you slept.

they call it an item —
make exact change,
slide the plastic
when you feel brown.

blue is too bright,
brown is the color
of the dust caught
in your throat when
all you want to say is
free me, free me.

from this very thing
that is you there’s an
evil you cannot hear,
but it found home in you.

the old gray woman,
she lives in the belly
of the young girl who
cried mercy when her
baby doll broke into
pieces of cutting glass.

Written by: Flose Boursiquot

Embrace in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine

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Embrace

by Flose Boursiquot

Mwen pa renmen jan li ap pede gade mwen.

Mama never bothers to ask the young girl why she looks at her so much. All she knows is that those wondering brown eyes against that dark skin make her uncomfortable. It’s not the first time her family has taken in a restavek. Her parents are most often who families come to when their children become a burden. In her 10 years of life she’s seen six children trot through the front gate with a bundled plastic bag extending from their bellies. The conversations are always the same.

Madame Bougiyon, mwen pa ka pran swen l ankò.

Twelve years ago, when Madame Bougiyon turned over in bed restlessly, her husband knew something was plaguing. It had been almost five months since they’d stop trying to have a baby; ten years since they’d started.

Cheri, kisa w genyen?

He nudged closer to her, embracing her round body.

An nou adopte yon timoun.
 
She had been rehearsing an elegant line to bring her husband across the finish line to adoption, but at this late hour, negotiation felt forced.

Si se sa ki ap fè kè ou kontan.

Many in the neighborhood often laugh at Monsieur Bougiyon. It seems he always lets his wife have her way. Tonight he felt her breath release upon agreeing to adopt a child. From the time he was a young man, Monsieur Bougiyon had a different understanding of love than the young men who ran through his front yard.

Madame Bougiyon is not an easy woman to love, she wasn’t the first day they met at the lunch counter. Monsieur Bougiyon had just finished his morning shift at the hospital. It was around noon. In those days he was training as a nurse and only worked the first few hours after dawn. Madame Bougiyon worked as a teacher at the all girls school across from Papa Gil’s, the most popular lunch counter in all of La Vallee, Jacmel.

Anvan yè ti bòl diri sa te senk dola. Kounye a li sèt dolla. Sa pa moral, Filip.
 
Monsieur Bougiyon looked around the room, wondered if he should walk the five miles home and eat there, but he decided to do something no man had ever mustered the courage to try.

See Madame Bougiyon was quite a beauty. By far the best dressed of the new teachers at the school. Her breasts, like her attitude, stood firm, like melons underneath her carefully ironed dress suits. Although it was only her fourth year teaching, her students always scored the highest. Nuns would peek into her classroom with their wandering gaze. It is said they whispered that Madame Bougiyon was what they prayed for in silence. Others say, the devil sent her to play a sick joke on the catholic church. After-all, she was not a docile woman. Rumor has it that she once told the head priest to stick his cross in a place where the Holy Trinity does not belong. Oh no, don’t get the wrong impression. Madame Bougiyon is quite the religious woman; she’s first to get to church on Sunday and the most beautiful voice in the choir.

Standing in the doorway, Monsieur Bougiyon thought to do something no man had ever mustered the courage to try.

Filip, madmwazèl la gen yon rezon. Anvan yè m peye senk dola pou ti bòl an diri sa.
 
Madame Bougiyon stopped. Her eyebrows moved further apart and her fierce red lips stopped their wrinkle. Filip looked around his father’s restaurant in disbelief. Well, yes of course, the price for a bowl of cooked rice was merely five dollars yesterday. He upped the price, he’s allowed to do that, it’s his father’s restaurant. But see, Filip was not the kind of man who got so riled up on a Monday. He smiled at the woman in the gray dress suit and gave his soccer buddy a menacing look — what some friends will do for ass. His menaced look soon smirked, he wondered if Monsieur Bougiyon knew better than to seduce Madame Bougiyon. No man had ever mustered the courage to try.

Madame Bougiyon was still stopped. Monsieur Bougiyon offered to buy her lunch, she nodded, but she was still stopped. No man had stood up for her before, she simply never needed it. As a young girl, she was known to drag young boys from the waterfall and back to their mother’s wombs for no-good behavior. Rumor has it that she came out of her mother already a sturdy woman. She just sort of crawled her way out of the woman then scolded her father for not cutting the umbilical chord properly.

Monsieur Bougiyon fell in love with her in that way. She never hid any part of herself. Madame Bougiyon simply couldn’t hide much of who she was. Monsieur Bougiyon fell in love with her in that way. And as the story tells it, she fell in love with him too. He was the only one who could ever settle her down until she got soft enough to understand. Outsiders struggled to see her, but he got her soft enough to understand.

That night, when they agreed to adopt, she cried in his arms. Legend tells it that Madame Bougiyon did not cry when she was born. But that night she cried in her husband’s arms. The tears were of joy. Many thought she was too hard to be a mother, but not her Filip.

A flower never grows in hard soil, the neighborhood women would whisper. A flower never grows in hard soil, her doctor thought after the seventh miscarriage. A flower never grows in hard soil, Madame Bougiyon was beginning to think.

My wife makes nourishing soil, Monsieur Bougiyon knew. So that night he agreed to take in other people’s children.

The next morning, with half of his stethoscope hanging from each side of his neck, he kissed her goodbye while she finished her espageti ak aransol. Madame Bougiyon started to eat it for breakfast every morning after her second miscarriage.

Ti bebe bezwen yon manman ki fò, cheri, mange sa pou mwen.

Madame Bougiyon, Monsieur Bougiyon’s mother, patted Madame Bougiyon’s forehead. Her dotted white hand caressed the woman’s brown forehead. Madame Bougiyon was too weak to feed herself. This miscarriage had taken so much out of her. The baby had become so much of a baby that the doctor had her push it out. That thought kept her awake at night.

But the baby had become so much of a baby that I bought a crib.

But the baby had become so much of a baby that I sang sweet songs to it.

But that baby had become so much of a baby that I made it a jumper for its first night home.
 
Cheri, pa kriye. Oh, cheri, pa kriye.
 
Madame Bougiyon moved closer to Madame Bougiyon and held her close. She never had a daughter. Four sons is what she had. Two of her babies miscarried so she might have had a daughter, but she never had a daughter.

Cheri, pa kriye. Oh, cheri, pa kriye.
 
Madame Bougiyon held her daughter-in-law with softness. Madame Bougiyon was too hard for her to love when Monsieur Bougiyon brought her and Monsieur Bougiyon to the madmwazèl’s family home up where red earth covers everything. She was too hard to love for many years. Monsieur Bougiyon once heard his parents whispering about how the woman before Madame Bougiyon should have been their daughter. She was too hard to love for many years. Then one day the wise roots realized that hard soil is best for keeping weeds away.

Cheri, pa kriye. Oh, cheri, pa kriye.

Two years shy of Madame Bougiyon asking her husband to take in other people’s children, she became pregnant. It is true they were not trying this time. It is also true that she often became pregnant. There were no celebrations. It is said that Madame Bougiyon simply cried when she found out. It is said she was known to be the woman with the most miscarriages in La Vallee, Jacmel.

This one carried itself the whole way. Madame Bougiyon would not let Monsieur Bougiyon convince her to go see Ti Jean, the medicine man. This one carried itself the whole way.

It came out covered in blood and howling at the moon. Monsieur Bougiyon knew it would come with a vagina, but Madame Bougiyon refused to name it. This went on for three months. Madame Bougiyon, the child’s grandmother, would walk the eight miles to see it everyday. When it was time to leave she would look at Madame Bougiyon in despair and ask her to name her grandchild.

Bay ti bebe a yon non, cheri. Ba li yon non.
 
Madame Bougiyon had grown to love the aging root, but she shook her head in disagreement. She also hadn’t gone to church since the child was born. It is said that the church lost members in those three months, some even became protestants. What is a catholic church without beautiful singing and what is a choir without its leader. The nuns at the all girls school would run across the yard in a frenzy. The head priest of all the head priests was on his way in a couple of weeks and their best was nowhere in sight.

Monsieur Bougiyon had a different idea about these things, but he let Madame Bougiyon be. Then one morning with the child suckling on her breast she said, Mama.
 
Mama.

Monsieur Bougiyon repeated the name until it became Mama. It was always meant to be a Mama he thought. Mama.

The first time Madame Bougiyon left the house with Mama in her arms she did so with a firm step. No lougarou dared to come near the child. Not even when Monsieur Bougiyon left medicine and went into politics. Legend has it that the child was born covered in blood and howling at the moon so no lougarou dared to come near what already claimed its place in the universe.

Even with her own, Madame Bougiyon, never stopped taking in other people’s children. She, Monsieur Bougiyon and Mama had plenty, and so she never stopped taking in other people’s children.

Link: http://www.foliateoak.com/flose-boursiquot.html