Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Magic

Once in a while you come across writing that touches your soul. It’s rare and precious and so cries to be shared. So here I am, sharing it with the one and half people who read this space.

Shailja Patel is a Kenyan poet (a performance poet, her bio informs us) I stumbled upon in one of my frequent blog-hopping jaunts. Her one-woman performance of ‘Migritude’ in the US has got some rave reviews.

'Schilling Love', her ode to her parents in a humbling telling of an immigrant experience is honest and searingly intense.

They never said / they loved us
Those words were not / in any language / spoken by my parents
I love you honey was the dribbled caramel / of Hollywood movies / Dallas / Dynasty / where hot water gushed / at the touch of gleaming taps / electricity surged / 24 hours a day / through skyscrapers banquets obscene as the Pentagon / were mere backdrops / where emotions had no consequences words / cost nothing meant nothing would never / have to be redeemed
My parents / didn't speak / that / language

And then again,

Something / is bursting the walls of my arteries something / is pounding its way up my throat like a volcano / rising / finally / I understand / why I'm a poet
Because I was born to a law / that states / before you claim a word you steep it / in terror and shit / in hope and joy and grief / in labour endurance vision costed out / in decades of your life / you have to sweat and curse it / pray and keen it / crawl and bleed it / with the very marrow / of your bones / you have to earn / its / meaning

Read the poems here. And check out her blog. Magical!

3 comments:

UL said...

Thank you for sharing this link, she truly writes magic...i really enjoyed her style....i caught some of her blogs too..her b'day threw me...wow is she really 88?

small talk said...

88? no! she is a 30-something person. are you sure you got to the right blog? :)

UL said...

you are right, :) my mistake , somehow I read the subject of this post as 88th!

http://shailja.com/news/newsletterblog/2008/08/my-888th-birthday.html

:)