Tag Archives: Oleander

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.

Modjaji Books

 
Four wonderful new Modjaji poetry collections go to the printer this week.  The volumes are available at the special offer of R100 each if you buy one this week.  They will sell for R120 plus in the shops when they are out.  The books are:
 
Please, take photographs by Sindiwe Magona;
 
Burnt Offering by Joan Metelerkamp;
 
Oleander by Fiona Zerbst;
 
Strange Fruit by Helen Moffett.
 
All four collections are available for R300, if you buy them this week.
 
If you’re interested, contact Colleen Higgs at Modjaji Books:  cdhiggs@gmail.com.
 
 
About Modjaji Books

Modjaji Books was started in 2007 by Colleen Higgs.  Modjaji is a new independent press that publishes the work of South African women.  “Modjaji – which means rain queen – is a press that will make rain and generate spaces for new voices to be heard that otherwise may not find a platform.”