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Soft Black Girl Aesthetic

By Arumandhira Howard

Thoughts on the "Soft girl era" trend - r/BlackLadies

We are made shy

sun, kissing another heartless

night awake. We are made satin silking

pompon locs. Cotton, banana pudding, baby’s

breath. These cornbread thighs, our blessed butterfly

knives. We are made to de-stem hardened men like bull-headed

bougainvillea. Once made the silence between awe and terror. Beauty,

beast, beautiful beast–we decide the era. Like desert clay making its own oasis,

we do all right. We are made still life: misted peaches memorialized in American pies.

Been made into head flicks of  Plant Witch and Cottage Maiden peddled to pornographs.

We are made to blow on brothers’ skinned knees, acid jazz stirring from weathered psalm. Our

cries made centuries of hits, sour notes swagged by Tia Fuller’s sax.  This is our picnic. We are made

coal over ice, pouring saccharine shots past the brim–our pleasures someone else’s whiskey. We are

made as protection charms,  so good luck, you serpents.  No manmade blue can penetrate our

skincare routine. We are made to tiptoe the tightrope Between Blackness and Breathlessness,

to sway and swing and skee yee.  Violet railroads  break the surface of our moons

when we are made lovers and mothers. We are made an example.

We are made to decorate a burning house.




Listen as Arumandhira Howard reads Soft Black Girl Aesthetic.

Added: Wednesday, May 8, 2024  /  Used with permission.
Arumandhira Howard

Arumandhira Howard is a queer Blasian poet, musician, and creative marketer born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia (now surviving in Los Angeles, CA). A Kundiman Poetry Fellow, you can find more of her works at her website.

Image Description: In a red dress with puffy sleeves and floral patterns, Arumandhira Howard stands in front of a white curtain backdrop. She looks at the camera with lips slightly parted. She has brown skin and is wearing a long auburn wig.

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