Maroula Blades is an Afro-British poet/writer living in Berlin. The winner of the Erbacce Prize 2012, her first poetry collection Blood Orange is now published by Erbacce-press. Works have been published in The Volume, Kaleidoscope, Trespass, Words with Jam, The Latin Heritage Foundation, Caribbean Writer, Thrice, BLACKBERRY, Kalyani, Peepal Tree, and others. Her poetry/music programme has been presented on several stages in Berlin. Maroula’s poetry/music singles and EP-album “Word Pulse” (Havavision Records) are available on iTunes and Amazon.

 

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AN ANCESTOR GUARDS

You are invisible, hanging upside down in a Baobab tree.
A shelled ghost; too lazy to chase flies.
The Madagascar sun tapers over a sleeping sloth on a bough.
A sunray skims a yawning crack where pitch-black mantises hatch with white eyes.
Light settles on a spray of twigs, you are attached in the guise of a dead leaf.

You catch a breeze and sway to the murmur of an ancestral song.
“Uruku, please dim the skies, let the stars sleep under your tarred shell.
Use claws of steal to milk conch cameos from the ocean’s depth.
Turn a bitter cry sweet in the veils of an wakening sun.”

Rhythms hitch rides on arcing waves; break to twirl on the seashore.
Wings weaved with veins; lie stiff to the eyes of the world.
Leaf-like lobes heighten an olive-browning abdomen.
Strong legs lithely hooked, swing you from a giddy height.

Here you watch in contemplation. Earth’s heart beats with agnatic timbres.
Spiny forelegs wait in prayer, expressing grace for verdant canopies.
Patience is your virtue. You are motionless, camouflaged in jungle-green,
holding back serrated front legs ready for that stranger who dares to swing an axe.

Long feelers feel the space. Wind carries a wash of melody; it climbs.
Mangoes drop, splitting ripeness. Sweet juice seeps into ground.
A fruit fly is snatched; a ghost greedily swallows,
the fly exits from under a wing and plummets to a sticky pool of nectar.

In the distance, a kookaburra scrapes, filing its bill,
its raucous laugh rises and falls; a clock in the wilderness.
Palm tree bark peels and tumbles, as fire-reds descend,
the indigo sea erupts in sunset to the sound of kook-kook-kook-ka-ka-ka…

 

BREAKING FREE

A roof sinks while floors rise.
The trencherman’s
power is the confines of narrowness.
“Others” stand threadbare, slinging ophidians,
elbows nudge slipstreams of air.
They kneel on a jagged platform’s edge
where toes have freedom of movement.

A splenetic tone ignites to warn,
a reply of deep breaths
reshapes the realm spent of longing.
Arms move towards solemn hearts,
drenched by solemnity,
and then outwards, curved to embrace.

Harsh light blinds and binds,
no darkness for dreams,
time has etched it from the sphere,
but in the distance evergreens grow.
White clothed torsos hide shame, guilt
and a greedy emptiness impossible to sate.

Asthenia bodies stir with wide-awake eyes,
renewed, they heave and fold lissom metal.
A callous-cold ceiling cracks; flakes like plaster.
Bruised skins smash the prison-cube.
Fate is no longer sealed within walls.

Existence lives in shared senses.
A new day begins on a rope-clad precipice.
Raw-red suffering is denied a lonesome death.
Doors burst open to a penetralia
to greet those who have struggled free.

 

BLUE-JEAN FREEDOM

A piercing tone smacks the air, emergency!
Bodies stretch, weaving taut nakedness,
arms lift, higher, higher, wanting detachment.
A woman prods shadows, her wire-like
ribcage heaves, trying to burst night to find
a hollow of light to rest in. Limbs, syncopated
in rhythm crave to define the neighbour’s walk.

The moon dips its face in a chain of rising boughs;
they stroke the colourless cold and dodge the rutted grey.
Climbing, climbing and then the collective fall
where nails etched pregnant sails on the sands.
A woman calls, throwing herself into the cry,
while silent, the earth parts, embracing lament.
She claws pitted darkness to watch the swelling
sun wriggle free from a belly of night-eyes.

Warmth awaits tears to clear drought below the skin.
Kissed by a softening wind, the release of sadness;
a body-finning current. An opening is seized,
space for a weak breath to squeeze pass the bleak.
How long is a memory? Is it pulled from the root?
A sole strand can reach to greet the giddy blue.
Dim hours sink in the stamping out of the moon.
Skin smothers the din, moving steadily, airborne.

Blue-jean freedom, feels so good in sun-scapes!
Shadows shift the mind, coiling like seashells,
aches rattle loose to become oval in the budding.
Petals teased by bees’ wings; pollen stirs the air,
Leaves spin towards a sultry peach-lit sky.
Deep, deep is the waxing lovingness, dew-filled,
as tongues tongue a wedge of golden honeycomb.

 

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