The writer and model debuts three new poems from her upcoming collection "Post Love in the Time of Consumption."
Thanks to a gentle elbow from my friend, the writer Wilson Oryema, I began (pre-COVID) a poetry project surrounding the theme of consumption. The poems explore various guises of consuming and being consumed—by love, by jealousy, by material positions, by time. I’m fascinated by how we can absorb whole entities into ourselves, and that the action of consumption is always one of destruction.
The French literary school Oulipo fetishized the notion that writing is always constrained by something like time, or even by language itself. Each piece in my work is constrained by a material object—a banana, a clock, milk buttons, a golliwog. My process is to take the object and unravel the film of emotions that cling around it. George Perec’s concept of the Infra-Ordinary dismisses the daily news cycle as only focused on sensationalism and lacking the steady perspective of the daily. I ask, too, “What is really going on the rest of the time? How do we take account of the banal, the obvious, the hum-drum background noises, and that stalemate of the habitual?”
In collaboration with visual artists, I will be self-publishing the project in the form of an enlarged postcard collection—entitled Post Love in the Time of Consumption—this fall.
I got so mad at you today, that I ate four mini bananas in a row
In hindsight, there is a phallic undertone
Maybe even, a sort of colonial type discourse
But at the time I ate them because they are soft
and it made me feel hard.
I took pleasure in readying them for their destruction
peeling back each waxy layer
one finger pinch at a time.
What poor gut instinct.
What bloating by bountiful-desires.
by the binges of our nauseous love.
Temporary bananas, once bitten, twice it’s gone
aha-smooth and sugary-sweet relief
gasp-moments rest bite
for the hands and the mouth
that once undressed your clotted body, had savoured your syrupy sap
The cavities of you
had me feel the whole
Now my reflux fills it up, swills it with
Frothy bitter acids
of a body regurgitating the mind.
I got told today
truth slapped and bite off my tongue
Split down the middle
Creamed by a sting
that lingered for a while
the gone is good
the leftovers of pleasure
just a handful of banana skins
and a mind-full of mad.
Time doesn’t pass by, you have to let it in
Store it up like a battery
Spill it like a gambler
Bare its wait,
to render expectation
Three hands on the hourglass
Stirring, whirring, it’s monotonous flow
Tik tok tik tok
Thé New is always old,
thé Old is always new.
It’s Eternity’s empty refill
turning itself back over
then pouring it out again
Time doesn’t pass you by you have to let it in
And then it drags, it drags
Thé head that puts on a face
Weighs down on Eyes like pendulums
Back and forth
Back to go forth and back again
The ticks of affliction
Turning round and round
Cutting circles out of a recurring present
One more every four years,
except when divisible by one hundred
but not when divisible by four hundred
Time is a numb-urrrrr
For the moment stopped
Is accepting death
If not diluted by time Tik
would be intolerable
If it was concentrated Tokkk
suffering would not be moved
No back and forth to back again
It’d be Unavoidable,
Milk button eyes and buttery smiles
The pouring of one onto the other
Standing so close, but not quite touching
The melting of two bodies smoothly-coming
warm blooded and gooey panted
snatched moments alone
by the kitchen sink
Whispers rolling cooly down the nape of the neck. Hushed giggles, wavering,
lingering, as kites do, in a brisk spring breeze
Hands circling, gesturing, round and round, fingers twiddling this and that. Like this is how it goes
it can go the other way too
gingerly stepping behind the alcove
there and there
And I sit
the onlooker of desires
purveyor of their passions
In the cool Emerald shades
of my jaded jealousies