Black Boys Don't Love

Ayiyi Joel

After reading Adesiyan Pelumi

There’s a way the body learns to outpace Everything that desires to strip it off blood.  Like folding into a language of silenced desires—  Desires that raises the furrows of people   & strums your mother’s heart into racing gazelles. At the club, somewhere at the extreme end,  You attempt to break your gaze  Away from another boy's tanned skin   So the cops don’t make a home of your body For the next bullet finding its way out of  The mouth of a rifle —black boys are not queer material   And sometimes, your knees, kissing the ground Your palms—folded into a clasp—you beseech God  To wash this craving off Like scrubbing a muddied dog.  And you offer litanies because you were told it is a sin —To love another boy as you should have loved a girl.

Ayiyi Joel, TPC XVI, is a young budding poet from Edo state in Nigeria.