Valentines: Two poems by Jasmine Knowles

Two A.M. in the Small Town of Oakey Oaks

I fantasize about a body
Often
Candied veins buried 
Beneath a pile of skin
Organs that could play the violin
Fluffed as cake
To desire the sucking of sugarcane 
I scratch and scribble what I think it feels like to be a fool
I mean what I think 
It feels like to to be felt
With hands other than my own 
How can I be a proper 
Poet if I’ve never been in love?
What else do you have to write about?

Scuffed Air Force ones?
Red acrylics losing in the battle with buttoned jeans?
I feel I am trying to lay a fitted sheet over the opposite end of your mattress, only for it to snatch back
into the center

All death
All trees
All flowers
Certainly all flowers 

Are about a colony of monarchs taking up residence in the stomach in one way or another

                                       Oh, the sky is falling!

And, so what? The sky can’t be falling because I have yet to
And even if it is
                                                                                            …
After while, I’ve learned
To keep track of my lonely
I used to hate the sound
Of my own voice now it is all I hear
My hands don’t know what to do
With themselves and I am almost ashamed
Tonight sleep is a cure
For hunger
And I forget how I am almost withering
Until the suckling, drooling mouth inside
My stomach ravages at the fat stored for winter

I am a house whose lights are left on in the daytime
I am ashamed of my lonely and how it can be so wasteful

Venus in Libra

When Jesus returns I want to be drunk/ I want to be red wine drunk/ and be clearly feeling myself/ if I
am all that is left behind I will make love to myself/ and promise a mini-me bubbling over with ache
from dust and orange skies/ I don’t want to see it coming/ I want it to sneak up on me like the
outstretched streams of sun/ wading clouds in search of grass and gravel/ the ache of desire stretching a
hole the size of dimensions I cannot hold/ it’s not that I cannot/ it’s that I don’t want to/ feel the
pleasure of my desire/ the burden of inconvenience summons in my atrium/ ain’t nobody saying I’m
not able it just takes a little time/ about as much time as it takes for me to take back a whole bottle and
feel my tongue go numb and thick with saliva that poisons my mind/ that’s the thing about the mind/
it is usually always willing/ it’s the heart that comes and goes/ about as much time as it takes a soursop
tree to bear fruit I’ve already forgotten what it is he came for/ the ground wicking away spilled blood/
before the trumpet sounds/ and the harp tangles in my fingers/ I will have inhaled my last sip/ I will
have gulped my last bit of air/ maybe I will find myself acquiesced to this particular kind of rapture/
where desire begets desire begets desire begets

About Jasmine Knowles

Black and white author photo showing Jasmine Knowles smiling at the camera.

By day, Jasmine is a chronic daydreamer and aspiring change worker, and healer. All else, she is a multi-disciplinary artist, plant mama, and lover of all things and people Black. In a society that seeks to tell you who are or who you should want to be, Jasmine is continually re-inventing herself, or rather aligning with her most authentic self. Her favorite writers include Toni Morrison, Aziza Barnes, James Baldwin, Jericho Brown and an ever growing list of beautiful beings.