Poetry: THE HOTTENTOT LIGHTS THE GAS HERSELF
The poet Nayyirah Waheed said once, “all the women. in me. are tired” and if all those women could speak at once, they would be this very poem. Embodying the state of fatigue, the speaker moves their readers through the disillusionment of love and race against the backdrop of a sweltering summer. In the midst of all these intersections, the speaker makes tangible sense of their loneliness, calling it a “dry teabag desperate for the taste of fog”.
THE HOTTENTOT LIGHTS THE GAS HERSELF
my name is Fatigue & i let
the ice cream melt in my car. love
is more a hallucination than a bone.
every time i lay down, a million deceitful
faces swim in my heart. sleep is where i beat
my demons’ asses the most, scarfing down their soggy
defeat like strawberry burger wrappers. hope is a lonely
dry teabag desperate for the taste of fog. a capricorn touches me
in the moistest hours of the night, yearning for everything but my cold,
honest absence. so i pull out my flash cards & study touch. i often feel like
an engulfed child. a sad yellow cloud screams another man’s name into my skin,
every syllable stretched into the most wretched, devastating feathers & brittle, horny
memories. i met my soulmate this summer & cursed him; i just can’t love a white man again.
Khaya Osborne is Black Non-Binary Neurodivergent poet & actor. Their collection The Hottentot Lights The Gas Herself was a finalist for the 2018 Button Poetry Chapbook Prize & they are the former 2019 Sacramento Youth Poet Laureate. They are on Twitter & Instagram as @KhayaDaHome.