Tuesday, February 22, 2011

As Property Protests - A Poem to the Voice of Shifting Unrest

 image by A.Rafaele Ciriello
They thrashed her within an inch of her life
Told her it would make her a wise woman, a better wife
For this Life was never about her skin that bled woman in the dust
She’d have to wait for the next

There were no floodgates; no bastion could hold her tongue
It sat ripe, ripe for bursting
Marinating in the velvet, thorny seat of her will

Fatima had to snare her trembling agitation
With prayers and bitten lips
She herself, had to hobble her insurgent instinct to express, break it  at the knees
Forcing her Self to kneel at every clock tick,
In every sunbeam
And every crack of light she could find

She’d pray
And she’d pray and pray
The tremor were felt all over the house

The neighbours complained of pictures jumping like lemmings off the walls
And china plates edging themselves off shelves when Fatima prayed
But no one saw it coming

Summoned, the air rushed to where she knelt
The windows got sucked out
The furniture, that clock and the kitchen pots
Flew around the room
How the cheap chandeliers and wall lamps clung
The force of this wind fingered the nails from the floorboards and flung them
Plaster from the walls stripped in great clumps
And the hinges on all the doors strained, creaked then broke

The noise was a thunder of bewildered wildebeest hoof
The roaring crash of water on rock from a 500-foot drop
The sonic boom of silence mercilessly inverted

And the acrid smell of gas and fresh ash woke in her nostril (oesophagus)
The scream incubating all her 21 years

Fatima had seen enough to know that
If her jaw dropped and lower
If her throat opened any wider
If her lungs drew the breath that would complete their involuntary mission
She knew her reflex
Would be Revolution.

As Property Protests
Inspired by an image of a woman in Afganistan
©Zena Edwards

Monday, February 21, 2011


Giovanni. My Familiar -  Born Spring 1993. Died August 29th 2010

1. because independence is written in the skies of their eyes   

2. because switching when you don’t want to be touched there 
makes sense. A paw swipe with claws in is a warning. 
Don’t complain the next time when they’re out.

3. because it’s the tail that gives it away. 
Attention must be paid to your own subtitles.

His own paw print. His own identity.
4. to remind them to enchant themselves 
with their own intelligence.

5. because they are beautiful creatures - 
long haired or short, sleek or stumpy, 
tabby or ginger, pure bred or mixed.

6. to remind them that catching rats and 
bringing them home is generally a bad idea

7. to inform them that as they get older, 
they don’t have to stick around. They might out of habit 
but there is choice. It’s ok to move on and feel no way.

Make chilling a habit...  wherever..

8. because dozing in a sun beam together is not wasting time. 
It’s called regrouping.

9. to recognise that walking in bare feet 
is way more sexy. High heels were not designed 
for a natural slink and booty sway

10. to eat full fat cream based pastries with.   

Held himself with a poise i often envied... RiP Lovely Cat

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


... you must first ask about her mother and listen carefully. 
The more a daughter knows the details of her mother's life 
- without flinching or whining - 
the stronger the daughter. "
The Red Tent, Anita Diamante.
Taken on the trip looking for Mum's Mum, August 2009 - Cottles Church, Nevis.

Mum the photographer. She discovered a rampant creative streak when she retired. Nevis 2009.

After an invigorating hot air balloon ride Mum bought as a gift for my birthday. May 2009.

we touch silence  
in awe of the horizons within

         Mum likes to talk. She'll riff and freestyle a story rich with images loaded with a slow burn allegory. Deep within these stories are messages from her subconscious as she does not express  in a direct way her intimate stuff, things that bother her or making her feel bad about herself. I almost have to be psychic with her. She'll ask questions, revealing little of herself. "It's not something we did in our house." she said.  At times it was tough for me, especially around my teens, because I AM a talker. Frequently, it is crucial for me to talk to problem solve.  I guess that's why I write. I have to have some kind of dialogue even if its with my Self on a blank page. But when Mum does choose to speak up around a problem (cos you can't make her), she'll drop a bomb.
     I remember one time we were going somewhere and we had to come out of Charing Cross tube station and cross Trafalgars Square. A neo- nazi march had just finished and there were straggling skin heads walking about. I was 5 or 6. I could sense something in the air and Mum seemed a little... edgy. So we're walking and three skin heads were walking towards us. When they are level with us, one of them shouts right in Mum face, "NIGGAH! NIGGAH! NIGGAH!" I'm freaked. Mum's laughing. Probably a nervous laugh. More than likely a nervous laugh... But I remember looking up at her thinking she was crazy. Why wasn't she scared? With my 6 year old incredulity, I asked "Why are you laughing?!" Mum never even broke her stride and said looking down at me, " That's all you can do with these kind of people, Zeen. You can't  take them seriously." Did she mean don't take them seriously or can't let them see you taking them seriously? Either way she was trying her best to break down racism to a six year old. As young and naive as she was bringing me up on my own, Mum's strength to cope in blizzard times would chime much later with me, as she had gathered techniques for surival everyday, day by day.

     I chose to post this Dianne Reeves track with this blog because resonates in brilliant metaphor, reminding us that the survival techniques we have learned, acquired, adopted from others and adapted for ourselves have come from making the same mistakes over and over and over.... and over... It doesn't matter how old you get, there are still opportunities to learn. The First Five Chapters of my Life speaks well of my Mother and her journey through life, of the many life times she has had in one. Something I also learned. A resilience.