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“it’s the night-bloomers that shine so brightly against the backdrop of black and swaths of mystique. wound with layers of sensuality and dark passions, it’s the ones who tempt the boundaries of blasphemy in exchange of one pure, unadulterated breath, that stain the earth with desolation and broken olive branches.”

night-bloomer is a dark and lush poetry collection divided into seven chapters: new moon, crescent, waxing gibbous, full moon, wolf moon, waning, and full cycle. each poem bursting with vivid language and raw and honest emotions, Mecca-Amirah’s latest installment explores topics like relationships, betrayal, depression, and self-love.

night-bloomers by Mecca-Amirah Jackson is a poetry collection I was gifted some time ago by a friend, a while after I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety late last year. Mecca-Amirah Jackson is an American poet, who has published two other poetry books alongside night-bloomers, titled inflorescence and Daydreamer.

This one, night-bloomers, is one that captured my heart and is so sincere, real, in a completely no bs type of way. It has the kind of strength and raw beauty that I hope to emulate in my own writing. It discusses the writer’s own struggles around mental illness and heartbreak, how those challenges have caused an impact and the way she rose above it, chose to become stronger in spite of it all.

“he told me i was his,
so i bowed my head before him
and gave him my power,
my magic, my tongue,
my voice, and my self love.”

There is something about this particular verse that speaks to me, more than all the others. Maybe it’s the way I have been in that very position — when I had been willing to give my first ex everything about me, when I would have done anything for him when we were together, and when, even after we broke up, I tried to still hold on because for years, he’d been a huge part of my life and I was so infatuated with him, with the attention he gave me. I was young and naive, I had no self love. This poem is one that resonates with me, to my very core.

“he told me he still loves me,
so i told him to fuck off on his birthday.”

Story time: earlier this year, that same ex tried to creep back into my life. I was willing to try and be friends with him, but then he said something which I didn’t like. When I called him out for it, he said I still had a way of twisting words. Here’s the thing: he asked for a picture. There’s no way I would’ve done that, you know? I, in much nicer words, told him to piss off and then I ended up blocking him on Facebook and Snapchat. The relief I felt, in that moment, was unlike anything I’ve felt before.

I mean, he was my first love, but he wasn’t the last or the most important one. But that’s a story for another time. And this line, “so i told him to fuck off” is like . . . it’s the kind of strength every girl needs when they’re entangled with a manipulator, a guy who is just using them and then discarding them when bored. I love how brutally honest Jackson is when she talks about the way he made her feel, how she dealt with the pain from what this relationship caused. It is something that is universally understandable, because most of us have been through it.

Her writing is beautiful.

“i ate, hungrily at the piles of broken branches,
burnt-out matches,
until my teeth were stained black and brown
and proud, and strong, and yellowish white.
every full moon, i sprung from my hole
like fresh water and algae.”

I relate to night-bloomers in a way that breaks my own heart. The depression, my own two heartbreaks, the everything, is something that transcends the distance between the writer and myself. night-bloomers is raw and alive with emotion, unspoken truths and honesty finally reaching the world. She explores African identity in a society obsessed with eurocentric beauty standards and riddled with institutionalised racism.

This collection is worth like a million stars instead of just 5 and I recommend it to everyone who struggles to put into words their own struggles, their hurt, their pain, their anger. night-bloomers is unfiltered with truth. I can’t recommend it enough and Mecca-Amirah herself is such a gorgeous, sweet person and I’m so glad I slid into her DMs lmao. I hope to see her become bigger in the poetry world. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Sumaiya, x

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