It’s hard to ignore the extraordinary displays of colour in autumn that confront us throughout October and November. On the worst of the grey days, it is sometimes these colours that make the wind and the rain all seem worth it. Likewise, it is the vibrancy and diversity of cultures at UEA which make it so unique a university and worth investing in. Let’s continue with brightening the spirit by acknowledging culture in all its forms through writing, and get involved in the fight against ignorance and prejudice.
[su_spoiler title=”Revisiting the House On Mango Street” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]I am Esperanza Cordero, a girl born of ripe fruit, the mango. That street which shaped me; gave me eyes of a petite statue, hips of a marble vase, lips of a dying tulip.
I am woman,
I am Latina,
I am Mango Street.
I still remember the smell of darkened frijoles, and how sweet its embers of the burning pan would come to me. I remember the cotton candy pink of Rachel and Lucy’s quinceañeras, I remember Nenny’s dance in the summer salt breeze on our front steps, I remember Marin and her Americana dreams,
I remember Mama.
I do not remember Papa.
I walk down my old street now, smiling at fall trees as they kiss me with their leaves. I want to cry, but all I feel from Mango Street is a warming bliss within my beating heart. From my early Mexican habitat, I recall nothing but pain. Here, I feel growth. This place was a catalyst of womanhood, where once I found the secrets to femininity.
I may be a girl of the Big Apple now,
but it is always the bite from the Mango which holds most flavour.
I turn the corner, on my heel, and I let my straw skin bask in a harvesting light. There, I see it:
This was the house on Mango Street.
[su_spoiler title=”Anger of the Fenland Gods” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]Murky shadows creep
With convoluted depths
Of times gone by
And crimes long forgotten
Clambering over sea scattered islands
Terrors relived to be erased
Celtic Chief, Mandru, the Pacifier
They angered the Gods
Oblivious to the error of their ways
A once fertile land, destroyed
Forests and well stocked lakes, no more
They stole from the riches of the land
Valerian enslaved the marsh men
Desecrated that guarded place
Rowena caged and broken
Beds of reed and alder
Harvested, seized, pilfered
From its native people
All but neglected, the ways of old
Appearing through misty vapour
A mighty stranger,
He gathered the countrymen
To fight a terrible injustice
Anger and uprising
Death, destruction, defeat
The Great Chief warns
Higher grounds for penance
Skies erupt under the burden,
The gift the lands have been waiting for
The shower which cleanses the Earth
Memories submerged but unforgiving
Time echoes on to warn trespassers
Marsh men will rise once more.
[su_spoiler title=”Mbuyu” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]Lives are carved intricate as
the fall of leaves from the baobab tree.
Into the cuts of her pregnant body,
a fresh green hue dulls to be forgot
lives are hemmed on time.
The breach of day into the next
To propagate the stem of year
in another, as counterpart eras
that know not how to figure
Through memory’s fading gaze
we play under the maze of her shade
bent to age, some stay and some leave
but nobody every breaks free.
If we are all trapped,
to grow slow by a cold flame
preserving us in our quietude,
then sit under this old tree,
sit and wait for me-
I will come with the rain
I will come with death
I will come to you-
In death, as a birth
upon the shallow waters
of a tide that exists in what it gives
I will brush the leaves of this tree
until each dew drop,
each life falls into one
and we see not in fragments
but as an endless stream undone
to paint passed our contrived horizon.
[su_spoiler title=”Creation of the Determinant” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]Sounds mingle so distantly,
catch circles like flame-flutters
on waves coring the pebble of being
Sat on the brink of its stream,
in what cannot be had
Dissolving its moulds
and never its borders,
The frontier of self
exiled from its atrial home,
raised in the flux identity
of Nation’s blind refuge
stalks on a Juggernaut falter line
in the migration of ourselves;
the molten blood quakes
to disperse its silt of skin
One foot misguided by its other
One mind misaligned by another,
Along parched lips of a dry river bank
in the aimless taste of our stare,
with the coining of currency,
we forget kindness and sit,
sat by fenced exchanges of heart,
on the septum of difference;
an empty acre chamber floods
in the muted nature of one man,
listening for the other side of this wall,
where a curtain of sheets patterns
honeycombed, the lattice hive of life
And the songs of children are birds
in flight of the voice calling for himself.
[su_spoiler title=”Foreigner” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]When you asked me
where I came from, I traced my lineage across
the map, like a savage tracking its prey,
like an illiterate, no doubt. Like Medusa, I
am headful, then headless. Stony gaze—I have
petrified myself while roaming in liminality—
unaware that, here, I am dead, for in this land
of immigrants, I am the foreigner—the tourist
guide, temporal like the flight of stars
in the holy night, inconceivably three-dimensional,
the face of a liar lit by a flickering candle.
In me, lies have drowned a young person into a grown
adult with no identity, only enigmas. It replaces
the night in the day, like a fish, with the scales of each
word wounding touches.
I am just arrived, fresh off the boat—slippery; waiting.
Twenty long years, and my reflection is like a shadow,
my identity half-revealed like the sun behind the night,
the voice behind the face. Like lovers, I have a tryst
with my motherland at the borderlines, where we hold
the blue of the sky
and we stand at the higher planes, where my origin holds
no divine intervention, and we are breathless, but lively
as the last clinging barnacles in abandoned boats,
like restless birds, as I extend my arms
to the sea to reach
another place, and talk about it, with an aching blue
in my voice—as if I was meant to find myself
with the help of you.
[su_spoiler title=”Step Back” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]Step back,
As the last candle is lit,
How did they all fit?
As the city fills with light,
Laughter just as bright.
Take in the sweet smells,
Music like bells.
Smiles all round,
As each prayer is said.
No matter where you’re from,
Diwali has come.
[su_spoiler title=”Capture the Flag” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]Marine flecks of speckled sunlight
Toes burn to
And they’re off!
A thousand arms reach out
Towards, the horizon
Pennies shimmer at the bottom of this
Deep wishing well
Full of journeys and dreams
And now these tiny hands
Tiny chests gasping
And us, cheering, laughing,
From the hot stones of home
Each leap a mouthful of salt
Waves never swaying their purpose
They battle the sea
Armed with goggles
And big breaths
And the knowledge of those
Who once fought to cross this vast monster too
With the same unwavering grit
The same hope in their eyes
Capture the flag.