Weekend Poetry: Three Poems

natural history museuM

for AS

 

edmontosaurus, coelacanth, animatronic

hypnotists stand vigil over lone paragraph,

wrapped in cocoon, on indigenous peoples’

uncredited gifts to european science.

dissected human women then throng display halls.

 

our feathered reptiles, mineral keychains,

armadillo taxidermy, empress arachnids,

espresso cues to purchase donation,

latin lingua franca of ancient, skewed orders,

visitors to kensington allowed to fly home

upon quiet capture by gift shops and cctv.

 

the key to survival is [y].

the cause of extinction is [z].

 

ghost orchid is wisdom, her presence skeletal.

rules all chances of escape, in the living,

from spirit preservation in transparent jars.

 

self-portrait as fern and stolen motorcar

near pentre, we breathe more deeply,

take in horses full-eyed, hedges

a royal salute for your father's car

trudging through. vehicle thieves

would joyride and leave sedans

spun around in a field. in the morning,

farmers would find an automobile

in its husk of used-upness to report,

dawn illuminating crime and silliness.

i find a little welsh-japanese girl

who’s been to bali and cling to her

and her mother, as flimsy, reaching stem.

 

in my clan of chaniago, as for other minang

clans of bodi, koto and piliang, leaving

is encouraged, as return and replenishment

of village with widened scopes is deemed

mandatory. there is the fern pattern in textiles,

the fern poem on cohesion, returning.

 

i swing like a bitty hyundai on a night ride,

finding myself amongst the sheep grazing

in welsh mornings. ferns watching, wary.

barmouth

mawddach estuary is a glittermouth.

sand breaches both land and sea, half-bred.

coming from two islands supposedly in enmity, i relate.

javanese keep our knives at our backs,

sumatrans at our fronts; is middle ground

a chest prepared for both to pierce.

is seawater planetary blood overflowing.

 

would make sense then, what they say will happen,

haemorrhage into habitation. the bajau

have us all beat, as ocean-based peoples.

i close my eyes and imagine myself a bajau boy

who knows how to hold his breath until

the body quietly demands inhalation, who could survive

floods, heat, and isolation in white spaces

simply by going for the swims that are birthright,

each gulf a bay of earth-wound spilling welkin-tint

blood, a harbour in which to grieve and return.

  • Khairani Barokka is most recently author-illustrator of Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis 2016), co-editor of Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches 2017) and author of debut poetry collection Rope (Nine Arches 2017). She is a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change, and a PhD Researcher at Goldsmiths in Visual Cultures.

Enjoyed this article?

Help us to fund independent journalism instead of buying:

Also in Disclaimer

Fascists Not Welcome. No Ifs, No Buts, No Fudging, Theresa May Must Cancel Trump’s Visit

The Trump’s administration “zero tolerance” policy of separating children from parents at the border, then incarcerating the children is not just an affront to democratic values. Theresa May must put her caution to one side, stand up to Donald Trump and condemn him and his policies for what they are.

Legalising Cannabis, A Question of When and How

The case of Billy Caldwell has brought a spotlight on Britain's drug laws that go beyond the need for medical marijuana laws. Decriminalisation is no longer enough. Britain must legalise cannabit to win the war on drugs.

An Italy/Canada trade war is not a joke but a sign of worse to come

Italy’s unholy political alliance of the far-right nationalist Northern League and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement has threatened not to ratify a sweeping European Union trade deal with Canada. They are not alone in their concerns but

The Week on Planet Trump: Celebrating Singapore Summit with Praise for “Tough Guy” Kim

Dona;d Trump's extraordinary sumjmit in Singapore with Kim Jung Un has dominated the news. Only a few months ago mant feared a nuclear war and the two squared up with Twitter insults. Now Trump has lavished praise on the brutal dictator.

Tweet Checking: Corbynite Brexit Quislings, and the Role of Our Elected Representatives

Theresa May on the CHristopher Chope affair; Alex Nunns and the Lexiters on Corbyn's EEA absention; the role of an MP. Just some of the things we check for you.