2 Poems by Tyquan Morton



struggle is an ex lover
            who I’m still in love with

stronger than when
            we met in 1863

more passion than
            I’ve seen since we eloped

last Juneteenth to escape that
            quiet slow-moving southern town

in Maycomb county
            where I could hear his heart

beat. He loves me

            enough to display his sovereignty
he makes me moan and scream

            beneath his white sheets most mornings
my mind makes me believe

            I was nothing without his stainless steel fingers
wrapped and interlocked

            around my wrists I was born to dye
his white collar garments black and blue

            from in between his legs only to become a wet rag
waiting to be wrung out til old wine drips

from my lips. He loves me

            enough to splatter black walls and concrete streets
with the smell of a familiar fire before the sun sets

            behind us they collapse without me in the distance
I can hear mockingbirds flying between

            the nuance of dusk and dawn as my eyes squint
to assure myself they won’t be killed

            he makes my heart melt the way ice
cubes melt in Carolina sweet tea and

            forces my legs around him the way heat
wraps its legs around asphalt driveways

mid- August. He says ​I love you,

Enough! ​So, I close my mouth and do what he says

struggle is an ex lover,
            who will never give me closure.

centuries have passed since
            our honeymoon yet I still hear

jim crows sing and nightingales travel
            beneath the north star and I still smell his cuff links

dabbed in a cologne of nylon
            how could I say no to a man whose firm

hands condition my African roots
            and cripple me though I fall for him each time

I try to run away. I thought he loved me

            each Sunday I wake to the same bouquet of sweet
grass roses he said he made for me

            day in, day out he forces his fragrance
around my steam pressed blue collar

            he became my one nation under
God, my insecurity became his

            fetish as he relentlessly serenaded me
beneath an orange sky

            of freshly burnt love letters synonyms for suicide
notes till this day he writes me every Valentine’s Day,

he says, ​I love you​, as a catalyst to my relapse

Struggle is an ex lover
            who envies my lust for Freedom

I want him to touch me all over
            and give me a taste of a newer wine

Freedom I can see you in the
            distance teasing me with your salvation

I want you more than ever
            why are you hiding from me

freedom sweep me off of my feets I want you
            to fill my ears with your fantasies.

Freedom I will make you love me

            watch as I peel these layers of silk
from around my hardened

            heart I don’t mind contorting my body
to be exactly what you want

            let me lift every voice
and sing to you Freedom

            you can be my National Anthem and I will place
my hand upon my heart because it is yours

            Freedom, I dream of you every night I think of you
everytime Struggle forces himself onto me

I love you, so why don’t you want me.



i. at birth larvae wide-eyed and bewildered
inspect every blade of grass and circle
around the roses and amuse themselves
on the leaves of milkweeds there they
practice yoga and their breathing taking
breaks to destroy their elevated bungalows
meditating as they must prepare for their
rite of passage without their nectarous
conventions they enter a chrysalis

ii. in the chrysalis they die to themselves
they beat on their crystallized cocoon
like a heart thump thump it breaks
they erupt into peace sleep walking angels
with no vertebrate lingering in the breeze
bathed in new light become a fragment of
a kaleidoscope the world is not prepared for
to reveal soon-to-be augmented beauty

iii. exit this crowded place
inhale nostalgia exhale wanderlust
allow heaven’s holy breeze to
travel through the spiracles in the thorax
digest your molted skin imagine the colors
humans are unable to see
migrate to the gateways of Alebeline
where they are crowned
greetings Your Majesty continue
to digest milkweeds you store
the poison of the world stretch your
Icarus wings to the sun and fly
unabashedly you have become.

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A poet. An educator. An advocate. Tyquan Morton paints the world with words in attempt empower himself and anyone who’s willing to listen.




Back to Issue 1 of the Fresh Ink Anthology