• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 07

the art of seeing

upon my visit to birmingham last year, the city revealed itself to be redder than anticipated
set in stone, the blood of the workers who refused to quench the kingdom’s aesthetic thirst
had painted popular imagination despite the dualities of repetition in the name of poetry, and
much to our rapture, the postcolony had slithered up the marble columns that bore this burden
of preserving history to be shown to those who demand so, in broad daylight, in full view
and thus i found the red-haired proserpine captured in sulphurous solitude, as if, her waiting
could absolve the sins of those who walk the earth, on a rainy september midland afternoon
to be able to see, you need to close your eyes and forget about the beauty of late summer
while a jasmine gardosi beatboxed her queer heart out to the glass walls of the hippodrome
or a benjamin zephaniah dubbed the empire as the biggest farce, out of place, out of order
so, in a blink, i recalled the rhythm of her lub-dub, through the clank-clank of his typewriter
exhibited as culture of some importance, out for us to see, and see we did, how art begets art
and how we must remember histories of our lands lest seeing misnames itself as mere looking
but what i didn’t see was more of the rossettis that were out of common reach for their safety


the art of seeing

nor the millais that visual verse now makes me think i might indeed have seen on my way out
and even if i did, i must have stopped for some time to look at how peace slumbers on eyelids
of a blind girl trying to hum for us the song of her people with a tiny concer(n)tina on the lap
of a blind girl trying to make a living out of music, out of misery, out of memory, for eternity
or until her fingers let go of either the grass or the sister who saw seven colours in her stead
or until she finally opened her eyes, looked at me, whispered, “the mind plays tricks on you”