Art & Poetry by kerry rawlinson
They bleed in sticky sap
from initials and shapes
engraved spontaneously with stick,
key or pocket-knife into naked
phthalo green flesh-
places; names; declarations and dates
Inscribing papyrus is visceral:
Moses was here, along with Kilroy and any
simpleton or saint ever since
gouging devotion into woody tissue
or pulp; etching ivory, bone and bark;
tablet and diary and i-phone to insist
I’m not anonymous or ephemeral!
Here’s my mark!
But as the yucca’s active manifestos
desiccate, livid sets of
letters and messy connections
are rejected to accept
another, surgically inserted
some prior Chosen One
dries up beneath the next lovers;
a newer date replaces someone’s
‘til we ourselves become
a lexicon of memory satisfyingly
scratched into the living layers
of our inner skin,
a young boy squats atop rust-cracked dirt
waiting for the wire-strung bus,
pressed shirt spotless, blue backpack slung
with one glad-wrapped, white-bread sandwich,
two chewed pencils, a paper-curl of ground-nuts
and his first careful notepad.
His nyina nipples a wide-eyed babe
wrapped in neon chitenge.
White lady crosses the third-world
street on western feet. They both greet:
smiles that speak in the mother-tongue, cognitive
global lingo for “lovely”.
Young boy, deciding on his man-skin,
clad in worn-soled shoes, spit-shined,
grins for my Nikon; then leaps high
for the lame church van, enthused for
eager first-world teachings in the meagre school hut,
thatched rough as an old man’s hat;
how far have we really come?
how far has he
- ● ●
nyina – his mother
chitenge – length of fabric that Zambian women wear, also used
to transport items, including babies
Decades ago, kerry rawlinson gravitated from sunny Zambian skies to solid Canadian soil. Now returned her muses an unmitigated optimist, she’s the winner of Postcards, Poems & Prose’s “drawkcaB” Contest; was a finalist in Ascent Aspirations; Mississippi Valley; Malahat Review Open Season and Hawai’i Review Contests; and long-listed for 2015 National Poetry Contest of the UK. Poems, some with artwork, accepted by: Midwest Quarterly; ditchpoetry; 3Elements Review; Main Street Rag; Unshod Quills; War, Literature & the Arts; Codex. amongst others. Photo-artwork publications: Qwerty; WaxPoetry & Art; Adirondack Review;AColorProject, Five on the Fifth; The Peachland View front page, Nov. 14, 2014; Peachland Art Gallery Exhibition.