Tag Archives: Frida Kahlo

Fiona Zerbst’s Oleander

   
Legacy – after Frida Kahlo
Fiona Zerbst
  
‘We must sleep with open eyes, we must dream with our hands’
Octavio Paz

  
I.
 
This column of air.
These nights of broken stone.
This flesh that speaks.
 
If Mexico is Frida,
It is also
Fig and prickly pear,
 
Water gods, dry ears
Of corn, torn as petticoats.
 
 
II.
 
Vanilla jar of dead water
Circled by a peacock.
 
This is what is left to those
Who linger in the courtyard.
 
Her legacy of nails in flesh,
Tears of pomegranate:
 
A broken column
Painted as herself.
 
 
III.
 
Frida dreams in turquoise;
Now vertical, her bed
A crushed infinity.
 
Reflected in her mirror,
This heart that frills the sand’s
Dry life with blood.
 
 
IV.
 
This column of air,
These nights of broken stone,
This flesh that speaks.
 
If Mexico is Frida,
Then it is also
Paintbrush and suffering,
 
Icon of desire,
spine of jewelled bone.
 
 
V.
 
As she paints,
She dreams with her hands.
 
As we watch,
A butterfly sticks
 
To coils of her hair.
That flat plate of brow
 
Is a golden canvas
To feast from.
 
 
From Oleander (Modjaji Books, 2009).
  
Read four poems from Oleander at Rustum Kozain’s blog, Groundwork.
  
To purchase Oleander, contact Colleen Higgs at Modjaji Books:
cdhiggs@gmail.com
  
 
Launch
  
You are cordially invited to Oleander’s launch – Fiona will be reading – at the Cape Town Book Fair on 14 June 2009 from 17h30 to 18h30 at the DALRO Stage in the CTICC exhibition halls.
  
Visit Fiona’s blog.

Live every day like your hair was on fire

“Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T S Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers …”
– Bob Dylan

“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
– Eskimo proverb

“There are so many little dyings that it doesn’t matter which one of them is death.”
– Kenneth Patchen

“From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.”
– Edvard Munch

“I want a priest, a rabbi, and a Protestant clergyman.  I want to hedge my bets.”
– Wilson Mizner

“I meant, said Ipslore bitterly, what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile? 
Death thought about it, Cats, he said eventually, Cats are nice.”
– Terry Pratchett

“It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice; there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.”
– Frank Zappa

“I hope the leaving is joyful; and I hope never to return.”
– Frida Kahlo

“Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven’s claws.”
– Jim Morrison

“For the Persian poet Rumi, each human life is analogous to a bowl floating on the surface of an infinite ocean.  As it moves along, it is slowly filling with the water around it.  That’s a metaphor for the acquisition of knowledge.  When the water in the bowl finally reaches the same level as the water outside, there is no longer any need for the container, and it drops away as the inner water merges with the outside water.  We call this the moment of death.  That analogy returns to me over and over as a metaphor for ourselves.”
– Bill Viola

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. ”
– Crowfoot

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
– Meister Eckhart

“… and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
– William Shakespeare

“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting …”
– Walt Whitman

“He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.”
– William Shakespeare

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

“Live every day like your hair was on fire.”
– Zen proverb