Poem by Omobolanle Alashe & Art by Marina Carreira

On Sheets of Silk and Paper

I’ve grown to hate you for the validation I craved
in poetry and in sex.
To satisfy yourself or mine, I’d
peel back the layers, baring my
naked truth, all bro-
ken curves and interrupting
lines. I’d lay insecurities
on sheets of silk and paper,
spread my legs and fears
to satisfy
Yourself or Mine.

But sheet or sheaf, what difference did it make?
Sometimes, I’d feel something
and everything
and nothing at all.
Sometimes I’d let you let me vanish
into nothingness. Sometimes, I’d become nothingness.
Difference is, this time around,
mine is the sacred ground you walk on
for God’s sake, take off your shoes!
I never cared much for muddy footprints
and finger stains across my temple
This is a spiritual experience
I am a spiritual experience
Don’t let yourself forget that.

Did you
notice my wildness and sharp edges
or my softness, feathered to the touch?
Skin folds and skin-stretch marks my
commas and disregard for
I am uninterrupted chaos in ways unimaginable
Did I screw you over,
as much as I did myself? did my bro-
ken curves fit in with
your interrupting lines? wasn’t
it fire and orgasmic enough?
Wasn’t I?

In poetry and sex, I become a jigsaw with
all the right pieces that don’t fit together
with all of your pieces.
Truth is…
You’re scared.
I just might make you feel something
or everything
or nothing at all.
So you ask me to change
And for you, my body twists and gyrates,
my poetry speaks half-truths and punctuates.
I become what you want but this is not who I want to be
and the
Truth is…
I’ve grown tired of hating myself for the validation I craved
in poetry and sex.

So, onward, you’ll like what I hand you
on silk sheets,
on tainted paper,
I am fire and orgasmic enough.

Omobolanle Alashe is a budding African writer who sees the power in words and the beauty in their expression (as dark as they may come). She juggles life as an undergraduate law student, aspiring polyglot and music enthusiast. Some of her work may be seen in Clumsy Spider Publishing, Tell! Africa Publishing, As It Ought To Be Magazine and others. She is currently working on an anthology.
Marina Carreira is a queer Luso-American writer and multimedia artist from Newark, NJ. Her visual art has been featured in various group exhibitions and festivals, including the ArtFront Galleries and the West Orange Arts Council. She is a founding member of “Brick City Collective”, a Newark-based multicultural, multimedia group working for social change through the arts.