erica lewis

it ain’t enough*                                                                                                                        for amanda ackerman

summer was always ours
spectrums of the black
stories we tell
pinks and greens
nourishing your heart
you need more
yellows and golds too
a complicated sunburn
you can’t trust
your own mind
you thought
you been carrying
race, power, tradition
but the land here
the rain here
feels soft
shows you
when you fall
self-made medicine
wind in your fox fur
maybe today is the day
i will cry for no reason
have sex to nourish
my equilibrium
gospel shoes
where you emerge
why not believe
in the superstar
that small bit of melt
my child to live her life
my child to take her life
get a tequila
and share
our open wounds
i remember my dream now
an indian woman pouring
oil onto my hair
combing through it
do you really love that man
afraid of water
afraid of the sky
a fool is an idea
an idea improvised
but your heart
is intact
your heart
is intact

* “ain’t no sad song”

the signs of misery*

what gives you life
when i die
i will sail
to my ancestors
pocket full of lemons
for my lemonade
water bless myself
around the facts
trying to claim
my miraculous
i don't know any woman
in my family
that did something
just for themselves
we were always
towing people
out of slavery
out of harm's way
teaching them
to swim
in the gusset blues
some people break
their very selves
and some people
just stay broken
hole in my belly
keeps growing
still got to wake up
and be someone
dry my eyes
using another method
in their perfume
sex as radical self care
i want to learn to give
i want to learn
to give and receive
drained the spirits
from the jar
and brushed my teeth
we are aligned
you are just late for dinner
to have shaped a history
we beautiful
beautiful people
who thunderdomed
for this spot
let it bleed
black medicine
black so black
it’s black
to the core

*"didn't you know (you'd have to cry sometime)"

we had yesterday*

the dark history of servitude
it is an act of terrorism
not to recognize one’s self
blood as feral fluid
there are no fists
in the air this time
everybody want that dollar
got yo bougie
in my back pocket bitch
cotton club days
and futures we own
feeling fucked up
we abandoned detroit
it became too black
until the blood
went to our heads
and we had to stop
in the house of the lord
all that’s wrong with me
is wrong with you
big love
but they took
our diamonds
our gold
even our people
robbed us
by convincing us
it was never ours
this radically altering self
fucking a stranger
in a alabama hotel room
need to rise up
like crops
we wear about ourselves
these costumes
our november collection
when you are rammed
with a rod through your core
you get up
learn what it means
to live in a world
where you can be
ripped apart
from the inside
our spiritual garments
so wounded
no bones in your body are dry
keep dying in little ways
but i love you
beyond any love
we have not drowned
in the river
for we are the sea

*"touch me in the morning"


erica lewis lives in San Francisco where she is a fine arts publicist. In addition to mary wants to be a superwoman, the second book in her box set trilogy, just out from Third Man Books, her books include daryl hall is my boyfriend (book one), the precipice of jupiter, camera obscura (both collaborations with Bay Area artist Mark Stephen Finein), and murmur in the inventory. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.