Weekend Poetry: Three Poems
natural history museuM
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.
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
A belligerent tone on North Korea was matched by an equallyu hardline approach to Middle East peace when Trump announced his decision to designate Jerusalem the cpital of Isreal, against international opinion and norms. Meanwhile he passed his tax bill in the Senate - but some are questioning the promises given to get the vote.
It was a day of drama as Theresa May flew to Brussels to secure a deal that allows Britain advance to further talks. There was relief as the EU offered some concessions. However, the concessions Britain made were far, far greater.
Was there a grand conspiracy to hide from the British public the truth about secret plans to create a United States of Europe? Is the reason why Brexit such a mess because Remainers are in charge? Just a few of the statements that Disclaimer tries to get to the bottom of.
Kremlin spokesmen have described Russia’s banning from the 2018 Winter Olympics as a “humiliation”. For once, they are telling the truth. They should try to get used to the pressure because the underlying fragility of President Putin’s regime could soon be exposed.
You only have to look at the levels of trade and economic development in Ireland over the past century to realise the significance of a smooth border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The Republic is best described as a small, open economy whose fortunes have been inextricably linked with those of its larger neighbour, the UK. If this holds true for the Republic then it is even more so the case with Northern Ireland.