Jenelle Samuels a.k.a Neptune Naiadis, is a versatile creative writer, artist, and jewelry designer. She is a poet whose work has appeared in the Caribbean Writers Journal, Rebel Women Lit, and as of 2022, she was shortlisted for the National Library of Jamaica’s Poet Laureate Prize for Poetry. In her spare time, she explores photography and a wide spectrum of creative storytelling through her comics, illustrations, and short screenplays. As of 2023, her favorite book is Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair. Follow her on Instagram.
To Find Beauty
In Downtown, Kingston,
I plant my bottom on the swollen old
asphalt, and through the thick scent
of rotting fruit and dirty bodies,
bright red blood mixed
in the dirt,
I will breathe in air,
to begin searching for peace.
I will suck my breath past people whose
words are thrown up like catapults,
their hatred bleeding from
watching the 7 o clock news,
Woman and her four children were stabbed to death today in Cocoa Piece, Clarendon.
The killer is still at large.
They can only bow their heads in prayer,
shake their bodies a few times to
let everyone know the lord is in the air
and like him, walk away
as if nothing happened.
But, through this,
I’ll still continue to search the air,
I will stick out my tongue
and taste the rot if I have to, I will sit
on the ground searching, lay in a windowless room,
collect wages just enough to buy me a meal for the day,
then, sleep on a low mattress on the floor
to avoid stray bullets, just to find
the breeze, untainted,
the smell of coal-pot fire, wild bougainvillea’s thick-sweet
scent that I can breathe so deeply, my lungs
begin to bloom.
Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Colleen J. McElroy, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.