NOTES ON TENDERNESS by KIKI NICOLE

i.


& i once knew a Truth
i swallowed it whole after we fucked
how it crept thru on the down low,
real slick,
thick & heavy & embarrassing.
love looked at me & exhaled
gushed a song out of their mouth all
“didn’t u like it?”
i wanted to say it was all i had to live on.
instead i lingered in the air above their bosom,
said “i have already learned u by heart.”
there, i cut a hole so it can breathe,
dabbed perfume before it had even scabbed over.
i tell them i don’t not know how to turn the Ugly off.


we paint it gold anyway.



ii.

this open wound is nothing without your tongue//
stays parched// turns all the water red
we both know something has died in here// so as not to be forgotten
we write an entire history out in sweat//
u kno// the kind that seeps thru your palms on the side of my face//
i arch my back toward your riot//
lick it up like milk// & salivate over my own body



iii.

we keep the lights on

—–

kiki nicole uses they/them pronouns & currently writes in portland, or. they are a 21 year old blk agender queer femme artist who has been published in Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Words Dance, Voicemail Poems, Where Are You Press, & several anthologies. they exist all over the internet, most notably at kikinicole.com & on Tumblr at kikinicolepoetry.tumblr.com & also on Instagram @white.dreads. they believe in tenderness & the immediate end to the murder of all blk people.

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Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.

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