GUEST POET FEATURE: “An Arrangement of Music” & “In the Unconscious Depth” by Pauline Shand

During this month of lovers, I wanted to feature the poetry of one of my dearest friends, Pauline Shand. I don’t ordinarily do guest poet features, but after recent talks with Pauline whom I’ve known first and foremost for twenty-two years as my best friend from Syracuse Law, we got down to talking about poetry which she mentioned two recent love poems that she had drafted. Like me, outside of our legal careers, Pauline has been writing poetry since our teen years. While she’s the poet who chooses not to publish her work, it was a delight to hear her gorgeous lines, which with her permission, I’ve chosen to post their debut on Slicing Tomatoes.

In highlighting the importance of love and erotic poems, especially among BIPOC women, too many times we continue to be hypersexualized, fetishized, and tokenized by society and media. Thus, love and erotic poems become a form of resistance in reclaiming what love and sensuality mean to us.

As I usually feature Pinay visual artists alongside my poetry on Slicing Tomatoes, I felt it equally important that Pauline who is of Jamaican descent have her poems featured alongside a Jamaican female visual artist. Thus, please find the work of Alicia Thomas. I reached out to Alicia hoping she would agree to this collaboration, and I’m so glad she did.

As it is also the last few days of Black History Month, I honor and acknowledge the Caribbean heritage and history of these special guests, Pauline Shand and Alicia Thomas, and wanted to close with these words from journalist Amandla Thomas-Johnson (British born of Trinidadian parents):

“It’s nonsense to trash [Caribbean] immigrants when you can’t talk about Black American culture without mentioning them. But also that framing our struggles in national terms is plain dangerous when white supremacy, racial capitalism and imperialism are global . . . It’s important to remember that Anti-Blackness in the U.S. operates so that migrants—including Black ones—can easily define themselves against or separate from African-Americans. Without questioning anyone’s right to be here, but as a Black migrant to the U.S. myself (British-born Caribbean), it’s crucial for us to also think about how we can contribute to struggle. Those who came before us have set a fine example.”

More information about Pauline and Alicia are featured below. They also have their own Featured Artist pages which you can visit in the Featured Artists section here. Enjoy!

Entwined by Alicia Thomas, 2022
Image: “Entwined” by Alicia Thomas, acrylic on canvas, 2022

1. AN ARRANGEMENT OF MUSIC
by Pauline Shand

The best feeling is having you
inside me feeling every stroke
slow, deep. You always take
your time. Then you look into
my eyes. So intense! So much
passion! Your kisses so
deliberate while our bodies
move in unison, same tempo,
same beat. You conquered my
body every time. I surrendered.
I will never forget that feeling.

2. IN THE UNCONSCIOUS DEPTH
by Pauline Shand

Buried in the unconscious depth of denial
My undying love will remain restrained and stifled
Youthful love, pain and pleasure, will not be redeemed
I will not succumb to this unattainable dream

This everlasting feeling I can’t erase
The comfort of your warm embrace
That I will have you once again
But this endless story spins

I fight the distorted images of my youth
And must come to terms of this truth
That you acknowledge me
It’s a delusional reality

This fantasy, falsely true
This obsession, of having you
But my mind is undoubtedly my own enemy
I tried desperately to bury memories

Woken from their deep rest
Once repressed
Eternal thoughts of you last
Three decades have passed

Pauline Shand

PAULINE SHAND 

Born and raised in New York, Pauline Shand is the daughter of Jamaican immigrants and holds fast to her Jamaican identity and heritage. She currently resides in Arizona with her twin daughters. She attended one year of Syracuse Law and then went on to earn her MSJ (Master of Jurisprudence) in Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Law at Seton Hall University School of Law. She currently works as a Regulatory Affairs Consultant. Though a technical writer by profession, Pauline has been a poet throughout her life. Her poems proudly make their publication debut on Slicing Tomatoes.

***

Alicia ThomasALICIA THOMAS

Alicia Thomas is a self-taught abstract artist, who from an early age was always creative and enjoyed drawing. It was not until 2012 when she started painting for friends and family, and her love for painting grew from there.

Her abstract art is known for use of expressive, vibrant colours, and abstraction that mainly portray human emotions and passions. Thomas’ works of art radiate energy and add life to any space.

Alicia has now expanded her product offering, with her work now available on a variety of mediums such as cups, area rugs, and coasters, just to name a few.

You can learn more about Alicia and view more of her work at her website here, or at her Instagram handle @amarieartja where inquiries for purchase of “Entwined” featured in this post can be made directly with Alicia here.

***
For more love and erotic poems and visual art pairings from the archives, please visit:

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