Wednesday Feb 21

AmberAtiya Amber Atiya, born and raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is the author of the chapbook the fierce bums of doo-wop (Argos Books, 2014). Her work has appeared in Atlas Review, Black Renaissance Noire, Bone Bouquet, Boston Review, Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, and elsewhere. She is a member of a women’s writing group that will be celebrating 13 years this spring.


high school potty mouth
at south jamaica library

wanna feel my fro.
i bow to her hand

as head librarian
dial 911 cause “her ass

just won’t shut up, won’t
leave the premises.”

in 3 minutes i learn
she love sponge bob

& bible study, do sex
work after school.

the good lord make mint
tea & mango butter soap

for run home along
a cemetery

so last ride of the night
don’t see where you sleep.

i was 16 once, weave
glue like wet tar

cool on my scalp.
i tell her so.

new york i belong

to the coochie-cutter
of hell’s kitchen

to your night-scandalous
posse of drug mules
& spooks  

i am not afraid to be fed
to the pyre  
to lick the sweet

of death’s cane  
to flicker lights
in my lover’s house

to disrupt the clairvoyant’s
allow me a space

real sexy
between graveyard
& bodega

to sip my wines  
to unlearn this anthem
of breathing

let my name
become nonsense
to my ears

the arabic
of my own