Yucca memories

Excellent Expedition

Art & Poetry by kerry rawlinsonyucca memories 1

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

pungently dug.

 

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!

I exist!

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

above another;

 

some prior Chosen One

dries up beneath the next lovers;

a newer date replaces someone’s

 

previous fate,

‘til we ourselves become

the medium,

 

a lexicon of memory satisfyingly

scratched into the living layers

of our inner skin,

 

atrophying.


young boy

young boy

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;

 

and I

don’t know…

 

how far have we really come?

 

how far has he

to go?

  • ● ●

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.

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