Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 2



Gia Shakur


A Harlem Ghazal of Mourning from Seed

She laugh when they called she “cockroach”
      ‘I will live forever then’ a retort of Seed.


Been here since back then when grounds and hallways
      were mass tombs of crystal pipes and petite roach dem seed.


“Paint Harlem blue !!” she screamed
      ’95 neo colonizers begat the seed.


Big man share pocket dreams on pickneys
      plant them on the ave to seed.


Haint blue panties ward off dead men
      who fancy to drop their seed.


On the west side Harlem swallows the sun
   In the morning spits her back out sunflower seed.


Water on the terrace keep the duppy away
    but come duppy still block bust and tenement seed


“I’ll die on this hill!”
    sugar underfoot, screamed the girl from seed.

Gut shot Sunday monarchs in their cloth Christ crown
     holy rolling, legion shelter for seed.

Spill French spirits
     over piss ridden earth seed.

Army traders of alpine,
      son of cuffs gather, empty homes and seed.


Brownred children gather,
      pilgrim bells law, smiles in their face, con seed.

Big business Mt. Hood Stanley
      steel rods seed.

Sanitized into hellhole America LLC
   “I will miss you.” cried Seed.


Shakur, thankful to Shango,
       won’t forget the bones pushed and paper worked to incinerate seed.




The Fruitman’s Daughter

My grandmother was blowing halos off her lips
then invited me to sit on her throne of a lap.
“Look” and pushed her maroon
lacquered finger to the glass
“That's the fruit man’s daughter”

Passed the park cars, parking lot
and alley behind the Associates Supermarket
she glides on the spine of threadbare Nikes.

I don't know if she can blow halos off her lips
like my mum but I was swept up by the glowing
orange pebble between her lips

A smoldering pit between her lips
I still believe she had the sun in her teeth
She swallowed it whole when the street light come on.

I don't know if she can blow halos off her lips
like my mum who says,
“She gets pregnant every Summer
and have a baby every Spring.”

She hands-to-hands wastemen,
weighs plums, figs and apples.
I see her in my dreams
with teeth showing men
made of smiles, wet of phlegm
cacophonic sunshine wailings
street brunt courting.
Collecting her tar stained hands
guiding them toward their crotch
whisper screaming she is beautiful

they gather
gauge her
kill her with rum
until she became plump
off cheap dates and stairwells




Damaged Girls Club

For Sheena Marie

We are going to the sand today
to give the ocean fissure
molasses , grouse and silver.

Our ceremony shrouds
made of velvet, chaos and devil shoestring.
We have stained our lips mausoleum pink.
Say her name not

We make a fiscal dance
then sing a testimony of bone and cheek.
Our devolution is crisp
streaming from our ears and necks.

We gave ourselves to the drum.
The prayer was a mud hole
clinging to the nest of our mouths.


Gia Shakur: "I am a writer and photographer based in Harlem, NY. My work has been featured in Sinister Wisdom, Public Pool, Joint Literary Magazine, The Broadkill Review and Grungecake Magazine. I am the editor in chief of Joint Literary Magazine, an inaugural graduate fellow of The Watering Hole, a Winter Tangerine alumnus and founder of Spider Rose and Black Inc."




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