Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Blankets and Roses - A Poem for my Mother

for my Mother

Watching Mama crochet
her concentration so profound     clear
seeing beyond the web     stitch
good times    bad times    play time    hard times
                 of no time
walks to the waters edge of still lakes
the warm smell brown earth sun drying
after a rain fall when she tends her roses
patient silent cooking
deep fragrant bath soaks

Mamas faces drops years when she crochets
the worry lines in her forehead lift          evaporate
like malt whiskey on the tongue
her silvering hair catches the forty-watt        glitter
and a mirror ball
I see her back is straight now
Her shoulders loose
Her feet out of their shoes and her red nail polish sings out
fingers deftly magic up a multicoloured world favoured by high purple

Mama crochets and I watch
My Mama unfold into a creation
spreading over her knees
onto the carpet across the floor
out into the street 
blanketing the earth with her affection
her patience and her passion

Watching Mama crochet
I learn peace

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

When It was My turn to Talk - Extract from "TRAVELING LIGHT" a new One Woman Show by Zena Edwards

When It was My turn to Talk
written by Zena Edwards May 2010©

I have been a woman that has
looked out of windows, stood on street corners,
cleaned floors on my knees,  borne children
on my knees and  chased rainbows
wrote my name out loud in a cloud
from a deep sigh on the glass
a silent gale force
that could huff and puff and blow
the houses of patriarch down

The space that my voice was to occupy
my part in the harmony, my heart on the melody
my life woven in the song of life’s symphony
was constricted, my voice,
hollow chest,  shallow depth, suffocating

See when it was my turn to talk
which wasn't very often (because I am a woman)
a child’s voice squeezed out, 
my voice on this tongue, hadn’t a chance to grow
this was lesson one
speaking my mind is a minefield
 trip wires every where,
in the court, where I must have wanted it dressed like that
at work after the sexual harassment case,
at war, after the 17th rape
disgraced there was no returning
at home, he walked in the door, high, pissed and late,
full of misplaced hate, number 2million and 8 on the jobless list
and still punctuated his demands for dinner with a fist

but I found when it was my turn to talk
(which was not very often)
being black,  my tongue had the weight
of a continent wrapped in chains
fixed to a concrete slab (tied to it)
and a whip crack was all that came out
when I opened my mouth

when it was my turn to talk
 they told me I was to old, that I was too fat ,
that I was too skinny, that I was too fat
 they told me my skin was too dark, that I had to fix the attitude
 that came with it
 the one that asked “why not?”
 the one that said no and meant it

They asked me to tell that voice to behave,
to bury it, in this here conscripted government grave
Where it will be logged and forgotten about  for the next millennium
my input would only upset the equilibrium

you trade my voice, trick it, trap it,
 force it then beat it if it refuses
to sleep with man number 13 at this hour of the morning
stack it up as dirty money, stained. moss green –
bottle fly blue, purple aubergine, mucky yellow mottle
the colour of bruises, the colour of lust,
 the colour of  my  dreams
that stand in the corner stunned
turned, facing the wall
they cannot look at this me,
this scene of my dignity’s carnage

When it was my turn to talk
 It was made perfectly clear that there
was no space for me to talk here
 amongst the men, amongst the testosterone
 because the hysteria that sits below
my navel raises the risk of instability
 in a system that is evidently working so well
 war running smoothly, lining the pockets
of  arms and oil traders
might scupper the race to evacuate this planet made dump,
 by fantasy space invaders

the plot the rule the world
 is working thank you very much
to protect herself,  a woman has to know
when to make her presence felt and when to shut up
and stay skinny, stay fat, stay uneducated,
stay at home, stay on your back, stay in the kitchen,
stay under cover of broken wings,
while they sing with tenor, alto and bass
 sonic booms that crack the face of this earth
till she bleeds lava, tsunami whips her hair,
floods the land with her tears
and I am here,
looking out of the window of this body
displaced in my own skin
trapped between brick walls and the corrugated
 sheets of a run down shanty town
called life where I’m barely existing

Monday, 11 October 2010

What will be, will dream

My blood evacuates
sliding through the pores of my skin, red pearls
the atoms inside spun out, glittering,
to kiss pure darkness, to taste light
after the cornucopia had crescendo-ed in the western corner
and hedonist hawks* flew  into the sun
packs of she wolves convened under the moon
sung of solace so superb
echoed across my mauve dreamscape
Queen Lunar turned her face
but not her back
blew out  the stars, so my sleep walk
would be unhindered by the spikes of their sparkles
no diamond points to prick my feet
to bleed my mark on destiny pre-named
Zena Edwards© 
* somebody who favours the use of military force in the implementing of foreign policy rather than diplomatic solutions

Friday, 6 August 2010


i do not feel beautiful while you sleep
and I know this is wrong
i should not need your words or your gaze
but they make me feel good

i feel good, good
like all the badness i've ever done
were things that somebody else sung about
someone else wrote in the chords of their imaginings
i have no part of them

whille you sleep i wait up for your return
from the dogs, swimming pools, dungeons and rope ladders of your dreams
that you tell me about in the morning

I could watch you sleep for days
that way I'd know where you are
that way i can be next to you while you expose the underbelly of your vulnerability
knowing you trust me, trust that i think you are beautiful too

Bebé del Carnaval

Image - Zena Edwards©
I was at Burgess Park last weekend a the Latin festival - Carnaval del Pueblo. I had my camera. My new camera bought because I had lost my voice for 5 solid weeks. I discovered how hungry the eyes are for food and how fickle they are - always searching for the next new scoop, the story that will curb the cravings. When I got home, they unfurled themselves to me like cheeky strippers, like lucky dips and silent constellations.
My first photo blog. Click pic for full effect.

Her hair is the earth,
brown, deep
rich with mineral, a forest
of brand new thought
wind whipped into an ice cream quiff
she nips the familiar arm that cradles her
with gummy jaws, so sensitive, tasting
salt and tracings of some body spray
pursing lips that would speak purity
into jaded eyes that would break
tears imprisoning
any heart
: shatter, tinkle - music

her own eyes focus on the resonance of voices
hears the emotion behind the guise of words -
she is that attuned

And one day her hair will fall the height of a great mountain
along her back, ripped from flexing, from wrestling
with the devil
cushioned by the fatty comfort of prayer
a woman's contours emanate
a softness, a gentleness
that cannot be hidden no matter how arduous
the game

because the woman that holds her
will not let her fall, holds herself
in a grip of a mirror gaze   
remembering her own innocence
laced with vanilla and her mothers magnolia plants
this newness that tugs on her hair
to know its texture, wizened
disappointments and loss , washed 
with accepting, forgiving,
another new beginning

hair meets hair
and the hum of the festival bumps on

Poem written by Zena Edwards copyright Aug 2010

Thursday, 7 January 2010

A photo of a girl

there is a photo of a girl
12, 13, slim wrists long neck
she walks wearing peach with blue flip flops
stepping with a familiarity over the slippery backs of  8 pipelines
she is at number 5
she seek protection from a gentle rain falling from the African sky
holding an umbrella with a bright yellow shell on it
behind her, between the giant palm leaves
dragons roar, bellowing black billows
belligerent belches of acridity in to sky
when I put my ear close to the photo I can hear her asthmatic breath
each clap of her plastic flip flop against her heel
makes a poem in her step
it is the sound of every day people
who live with pipelines like tapeworms
sucking the placenta and excreting
toxic into the bloodstream of nation
the rivers are graveyards
the wetlands, thirsty for clean breath
the land is hemorrhaging
miscarrying cocoyam and vegetable seed
boys who have given up waiting for jobs to come
eye her as she walks by,
a generation numbed by the futility of existence
it is ironic that their most valuable asset becomes their Achilles heel
the idleness of youth fervent for action
dumps them in the hands of   ak47 robber gangs
who howl in the night to the tune
of their masters - myopic mad men in business
all grappling for a fist of flaccid dollars
greed at the price of a village
but then again everything has it’s price in the world
like  this girl with the poetry in her step,  the poisonous air
in her lungs is a currency
as is her mothers sludge garden and her fathers chest
face and shoulders burned in the last accident
the truth is a jealous but patient thing
it bide no hazes of the facts or credibility gaps
there is only one fragrance that it harbours
time, the scent of time moves from freshness, to death
to rot, to the fertilization of new days
it is between the pages of a day in court
that a mystery of  can be solved
why it takes twelve long years to walk the twisted violent gauntlet to justice
why nine lives were thrown into a wound cut with a knife of lies
how the spirits of the tortured and murdered
can be redeemed from the dispassionate mouth of  brutal greed
and how with the wondrous alchemy of nature
instead of the bitter bile  rising to the mouth of the fisherman and the farmer
works songs will rise over the trees,
will dance with the fish along the creeks
will paint across a sky  uninterrupted by fire and towers of black smoke
and how the poem of the  girl in blue flip flops,
can be fetched from under the fattened rump of human disregard
and used to re-imagine the world
how she can close the umbrella with the yellow shell on it
and walk in the unpolluted rain falling from an African sky