Flower, Girl by Sundai Johnson via Chicago Literati by tarahdouglas

 Art by Candace Hunter (2017)

Art by Candace Hunter (2017)

Flower, Girl by Sundai Johnson with Art by Candace Hunter

Candace Hunter (c) 2017

She was running, what seemed to be away from them. But they ran behind her like she was leading them somewhere. Water heaved in hard smacks. Lake and the sky trying to decide which blue hue belonged to whom. The sand was glitter that day; glitter that turned brown sugar under the bottoms of brown sugar kind of feet. Suga. Her grandmother only ever called her by her name. And her mom, the same. Sometimes honey. And that felt just as sweet. So she thought about how she was honey and wondered if honey melted in the sun. She hoped it didn’t, because she just wanted to be where the sun was.

* * *

There she lay. Panties balled in her fist— all that brown balled into a shape all crescent and moon. Suga. She watched him pull his pants from his toes to his hips. She licked his question from her lips and spit it out in the glass next to her bedside. “So you’re a tease?” Questions that are statements confuse her. Yeah Yeah. She’s a tease. Her body is jokin’. Her spine, throwing punch lines. “Why can’t we have sex?” That’s what he said. Him and him and him. Hmm. “But you’re naked”, they said. She knew them best by the way their backs said goodbye.

* * *

She wondered when the shore stopped. But she had to pee. Sharp left. See, See. Over there. There she goes running again. Except this time it’s to hide. Squatting with a metal fence to her right and road with a yellow sign scolding her backside. Go. Her body is apprehensive, naturally. Go. Here it comes. The stream sneaks in between flowered sneakers. How is it that the lake doesn’t drain out? It’s draining now.

* * *

She saw a new him through the sticks called brush, those back wings spreading already. Would he fly if he knew? Chickens can fly you know. She’d seen it with her eyes closed. Cluck cluck beaks, perched on her belly button.

* * *

She wonders if the dirt is eavesdropping. The whole earth is yelling at her and she’s telling it to hush because that blossom crowning her thighs and peering at her knees, belongs to her, and her only.


Posted on Chicago Literati

untitled by tarahdouglas

some old paintings i made last summer

© Tarah Douglas 2015

musings: angelitos negros by tarahdouglas

painter painting in our land pictures of only white angels
painter painting in our time in shadows of yesterday

painter, if you paint with love, paint me some black angels now
For all good blacks in heaven, painter show us that you care

eartha kitt - angelitos negros (1970 performance)

| line // by tarahdouglas

© Tarah Douglas

solaterra by tarahdouglas

you told my body be quiet, 

so how dare my hips speak up,

and curve cups to put my palms in, 

booty bodied, twisting lines into shapes,  

i'm paint, see me roll masterpieces out of brown skin and thin air.


/her/ fingers of god by tarahdouglas


found image from accra, ghana

1. any of the numerous fine, usually cylindrical, keratinous filamentsgrowing from the skin of humans and animals; a pilus.

2. an aggregate of such filaments, as that covering the human head orforming the coat of most mammals.

3. a similar fine, filamentous outgrowth from the body of insects,spiders, etc.

4. Botany. a filamentous outgrowth of the epidermis.

5.cloth made of hair from animals, as camel and alpaca.

6. a very small amount, degree, measure, magnitude, etc.; a fraction,as of time or space:




"found beauty in my bantu knots, behold the fingers of god"

 i am still learning to love my hair despite the most recent revolution of natural hair. i have been going through yet another internal battle. i once again found myself resisting my afro's curl pattern and shape and wishing it moved the way other's do. the wash-and-go is an illusion. to me, so much of having an afro is the maintenance behind it; the conditioning, detangling, and over night styles. but with that, comes long nights struggling in a mirror doing bantu knots or early morning stress dealing with an untamed, undried twist out. all of which are unspoken when asked "what products do you use?" or "how long have you been natural?". the how-to-videos on youtube seem to mock me as these black women effortlessly fleek up their hair day after day. spitting hair types, curl patterns, products that never seem to work just right for my hair. 

what is perfect hair? and why is mine only deemed beautiful when the shape, volume, and moisture fits into a standard of beauty outside of my own? why is it not beautiful when wrapped within a scarf or in a twist out? why can't it create its own form? i fight my hair and fight myself for it, but rarely do i watch the magic of my own hands and enjoy its relationship with the hair on my head. rarely do i let beauty unfold the way they deems worthy. rarely do i embrace my coiled african roots, my loose native american curls, and the random spurts of french the resonate on my scalp.

this piece reflects a moment in which i did.


© 2015 Tarah Douglas