Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Temberkeke (September Flowers)

Recently I've dabbled with using words from my native language in my poetry. I'm Ethiopian though my first language is English. In September Flowers amongst the many themes and symbols I explored for the first time I thought of dissecting my cultural background. Language is a good place to start the way words are used and even the way they sound. Amharic is a beautiful, rich language; the way it echoes in the mouth, syllables tremble from tongue to lips, ring in perfect pitch. One day I will write poetry in Amharic but for now I'm taking baby steps and trickling words with the language that comes naturally to me (diaspora blues.)
In Ethiopia we have many tribes thus 80+ languages spoken in the country. I come from two different tribes Tigray and Amhara, though I only speak my father's language (from the Amhara tribe) Amharic. In this poem the word 'temberkeke' is repeated which is the female conjugation telling her to kneel. ~


Work hard now
Then, you can reap what you sow
What you sow is not all about you
She’s animated
Strong in her speech
doesn’t hold back so
I developed thick skin
my mother prepared me for life by intimidating me of it
In becoming a woman
she taught me
I am responsible for anything that happens to me
Show humility
Know when you are wrong.
Don’t make the same mistake twice
Always be worthy
I fought regularly with my father
And when his ego grew too big
He became
Too angry to feel what I was feeling
My mother was his wife
So She had to teach me a lesson;
She listened so well and intently
Understandingly, afterwards
She told me to step back
Because he couldn’t handle the truth
Beg him for forgiveness
Show him you are worthy
That was the first time I remember feeling broken
Cover your chest
It’s cold out there
Cross your legs
Don’t wear black
Tie your hair back
Only use eyeliner after 21
Sometimes I wonder
All the things she’s seen
And hasn’t told me
I wonder
if she’s convinced herself of piece of mind
As a humble housewife
I couldn’t tell if she was complicated or conflicted
When consumed in her bitterness
She showed fire
told me I was to be different
I was named after the horizon
She said to
Manifest ideas and
Fly up against the sun
then in the feat for ultimate power
She took me to church,
Kiss these sacred walls, the floors
Go on your knees
beg for forgiveness
Beg him to give you a good life.
I couldn’t understand
How power could be surrendered like that
I left home with one suitcase and the burden of expectation
Knowing what it took to get me overseas;
Were all the things my mother never had
I think,
She’s afraid I may never come back.
She tells me I defy too much
I question, only because i’ve seen so much
I’m conflicted
We have such big barriers that
My redemption is foreign to her
The opportunity to live out my dreams
Is a privilege
Always be worthy
Don’t make the same mistake twice

Sunday, 28 January 2018

~ 11/01/18 ~

The day the sky painted the ocean
Poseidon's roar
Tides that almost swallowed Odysseus
Waves like boomerangs 
Waves waged wars
Low tides and open shores revealed nakedness;
soft, once golden
The ocean ever temperamental
Urged the battle for Helen of Troy
When the sky was irresistibly beautiful ~ 

Holy Matrimony (September Flowers)

He had too much ambition
All she wanted in fruition
Was love
Secure enough
To give enough
He made promises intended to keep
She fell in love
Before loving herself
Their journey was taxing
Cut their values down to fractions
Decisions broke trust into fragments
It nearly ruined them
They barely look at each other now
Survival makes you do ugly things
She is unfulfilled
He is angry
Even his ambition couldn’t fix them
His ego took up too much space
Her bitterness burnt holes through the ground
Their house is insecure
Just as well,
It’s mostly empty now
Neither willing to surrender
Bound by tradition
searching for reason became
treacherous and exhausting
Bound by;
fear of loneliness
Rings etched into their fingers
nearly cutting circulation
Holy matrimony nearly ruined them
All because the flowers
Were left at the altar.

The Art and the Artist

The Art
She is water
Streaming effervescently
Whisking you
Gracing you into enchantment
She cut land into slivers
Carved herself a mouth
Roared requiems for the gods
Uninhibited and fluid
She is anything and everything
Washes anguish off worn skin
Carries your tears to the end of the earth
And when she is still
She reflects the horizon,
Reflects your complexion
You see drab cheeks
Sleep that has escaped you
Love that has ruined you
Convincing you of deprivation
For she is nourishment.

He is the sun
Brushes across eyelids
Urging you to rise
How refined is your ambition?
You chase after him
For infinity
To aggrandize your glory
He is wild and magnanimous
A collection of gas and flames
Circling you,
Daring you
How resilient are you?
He beckoned renaissance
Set dried sage a blaze
Drew transcendence from smoke
Upon departure
He called luster to the sky
Gave the moon shine
Draping you in dreams,
Soak it all in
For he is nutrition

The Artist
The artist consumed only water for 5 days
Layed in the sun for 10
From desperation comes inspiration
And when it came to contact
The artist stirred bodies
Ruptured balance
Hollowing insides
Claiming sake of purpose
The artist cracked surfaces
Left everything oozing
Raw and reckless
The artist surrenders to the art
Transcribing pain as beauty
Deeming cuts as vessels
Blurring beginning and end
Sketching with debris

The artist is incomplete.


September Flowers

Last year in October I completed and performed my first full length collection; 11 poems for a collection called September Flowers.
September Flowers was a big deal for me for a number of reasons:
~ it was the first time I had written a series of poems. I really thought about what 'series' meant; I came up with: a body of work that ranges in style, focus, length, message -all to be woven together to tell a story as well as sub stories. It felt like my first real venture as a real writer #levels
~ Thus I am exploring theme and symbolism and I realised -I love symbolism- what a way to embellish on imagery, concept, and context; impact is in description.
~ I introduced words from my native language: Amharic  I linked the collection's purpose and theme to Ethiopian traditions: September marks the end of the rainy season, beginning of the sunny season, the new year, Meskel is a celebration held on the 28th to honour the finding of the true cross, Ye Meskerem abeba is the yellow flower that blooms only in September. -As you can guess this series goes along the theme of letting go and starting a new. I still have a ways to go in regards to reconnecting with my culture but as far as new beginnings go I'm pretty happy with this.
~ The symbolism in which I chose to explore and extend in almost every poem was flowers.
It's only this year that I started to appreciate flowers, before was either apathetic or low key bitter towards flowers (Valentines day has always been dry but also Valentines day is a scam) for the most part flowers symbolise beauty. As the over thinker that I am I thought I had to dig deeper into that, but turns out beauty is subjective things are beautiful to different people for different reasons so I had to accept it. However I could dig into how beauty makes us feel and where beauty is placed.

At the moment I'm looking at the different ways I can play with September Flowers, whether it's expanding it or performing it a couple more times. I must say the first time I performed it was an exhilarating experience for me and I feel so lucky that I had wonderful people there to hear me and experience that day with me. October 15, 2017 a rainy Sunday afternoon ~
For now I'll be posting a few of the poems on this blog x


Writing is the first thing I fell in love with. It's been chaos, it's been risky, it's even felt like loss and rebirth many times over. For my first love I want mementoes, I want albums, and yeah I want to show my first love off to the rest of the world. This will be organised chaos. Poetry saved my life and gave me more life, it's how I learnt of glory and legacy. It taught me bravery is worth it. Experiment of words, experimenting with words, how words experiment with you. Writing is my first love and deserves a platform of it's own. I'll be posting poems I've written, some videos, all original work I've created. Some sporadic, some projects I've been working on, perhaps even posts about upcoming performances. Thank you for coming onto my page, I appreciate you. X
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