“Breath Erotica” (Visual Story)

by Alexis DeVeaux and Sokari Ekine

I pray for us
as evening glides over
implore the gods
pray for us pray
for this breathing
planet the milky way
dreams us
into galaxy
no need for heaven
this is how it started:
way out beyond we
the sweet of your lips
dipped in promise
anxieties claim us
bark and skin
what we cannot
remember we give birth
we have poetry so
we will not die
of history”

we are trees
live under water
howl with want
this is how 2 women
in their 60s
I could say
this is how it started:
there was a shore line
crisp as fresh white
a movement of clouds
a duvet even
I longed for you before
it was
I heard you calling me
this is how 2 women
in their 60s
suck breath
as plants
clear away carbon
fertilize oxygen

we are bodies of water
merging, continents
the slippage of time
Harlem and Lagos and
how Haiti shadows
we search for
definition across the
musk of blackness

I want to say
this is how it started:
there was a mystery
it begged
to be stroked

“Breath Erotica” is one of a series of visual stories from the collaboration Veve Love; a sign or symbol marking love as growth, as spiritual endeavor. The collaborators are black queer feminists: writer, activist and public speaker Alexis De Veaux, is the author of several works including the highly acclaimed biography of Audre Lorde, Warrior Poet, and the novel Yabo, winners of Lambda Literary Awards in 2004 and 2015. Sokari Ekine is a photographer whose exhibitions include the McKenna Museum of African American Art, the AWID Conference, Brazil, the Berlin Foto Biennale 2016, and the Calabar Gallery, New York City.