Tuesday, 19 June 2018

WEP Challenge - Unraveled Yarn - Multiplicity

It's time for the Write...Edit...Publish challenge again. I love this writing club. It is open to all. This month the prompt is 'Unraveled Yarn.' My offering - 'Multiplicity' - is from the second edition of my  debut collection of poems - Life is a Woman Breaking Eggs - published in April, last year. I don't believe a lot of people have read it, so I'd like to share this here. Perhaps you will also see what I see and why I think it's a suitable poem for the prompt. Thanks for reading. I look forward to your comments.





Multiplicity


when I was three I hardly knew my hair 
but what I knew held my feet 
root one on one and the other
fork, knife and a spoon
and where water goes
in a basket of wars
losing the other in my grip
I wondered why I felt like
the child given away
when no one was looking
the child beholding
extra o’s of amazement
every time I open my mouth
and mother’s eyes shrivel me up  
always like this

now I’m a grown woman 
eyes for years
dancing 
in mother’s eyes again 
and I dance 
extra o’s on trees

they would grow with time 
wishing I planted them well
I was wrong
wishing
I was right
                         to watch them 
fruitless. dry. parched 
bloated with thirst 
dandruff roots
birds and bees
too late to seed
 
vision basement 
is plato’s let
upside-down unity 
banister holding stairs 
margin faces
in misty windows
and I wonder where 
this water comes from 
where it goes from here
—am I as I am  
as I ought to be
 a woman not a wife
a man labelled a girl


©Adura Ojo 2017

31 comments :

  1. Oh wow. As I read through your poem I am thinking cat's cradle. Complicated, convoluted stories and who can tell where one starts and the other ends. Or if they blur into each other.

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    1. And that's the question.
      Thank you, Elephant's Child

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  2. Questions asked
    answers not given
    a round Robben
    no beginning
    no ending

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    1. And that's just the way it goes!
      Nice to see your take on this, Desk49.

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  3. Hi Adura. I wish I understood poetry better, so I'm not going to lie and tell you I completely understood this. I don't. Because I know the secret to understanding poetry is to read and re-read and sometimes re-read again. I get that she's asking questions - is she unravelling?
    'Where water goes...' at the beginning to 'Where water comes from' at the end. I'm going to enjoy a slow unravelling of this poem. I hope you don't think I'm too ignorant!

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    1. I can't believe you'd think I'd think that of you, Denise. You're the exact opposite of ignorant. There are often many layers to a piece of work and that's okay. It adds to the beauty of what we're all doing here. I often go back to poems I've written and see a different layer, an extra edge to it that I didn't see before. I'd say poems unravel many times.

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  4. That was convoluted. And intense. Seems like a child growing into a woman, knowing now what her mother knew then. Life can be complex, and there are always unanswered questions.

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    1. Always questions, yes. We don't always get answers to the questions. But we learn, in spite of this. Thanks, Donna.

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  5. This made me think of people trapped in wrong bodies, identities that are forced upon them by their own families. 'Mother's eyes shrivelled her/him up always like this'...'the child given away' ...so terribly sad. Why does anyone do this to a child?? What compromises has the MC made to be accepted - that her/his 'eyes can dance in the mother's eyes for years now'? Very intense, complex poetry and it leaves one with an abiding sense of loss and of yearning for acceptance, which the MC is hiding under those dancing eyes.

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    1. Dear Nila,
      I will only say this once:
      Where did you hide your broom?
      I want to be able to read minds too.
      You and Denise make a fine pair of poetry witches, er sorry, I mean detectives;)

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    2. Hi Nila,
      I hope you didn't consider me flippant in my earlier reply.
      That was not my intention at all.
      This is what I wanted to say:

      I appreciate your deep response, Nila.
      We see people persecuted everyday for just being who they are, learning to live in the bodies they've been born into and the expectations that come with those bodies. I can only imagine that it would be very painful. I try to explore how it might feel by writing about it. A good number of the new poems in the second edition of 'Life is a Woman' is about this: how one unravels in a hostile world.

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    3. Nope, I didn't find your response flippant at all. Just because we are discussing a deep subject doesn't mean we have to be humourless :)

      Personally, I found your poem greatly moving because I live/have lived in societies where homosexuality is a stigma and even a crime. People have been killed for just being themselves. Someone from the west is often not aware of the extent of fear/rejection/violence and the courage it takes to come out. A parent is not only fearful of societal disapproval and derision, but also for his/her child's life. Not a brilliant situation to be in for either parent or homosexual child.

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  6. Actually, Nilanjana wrote what I had in my mind as I read through your poem. I felt the restrictions of expectation and disappointment, too. Beautifully constructed.

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    1. I said something about Nila's mind reading in my comment on your blog. I know what you mean, C.Lee. Thanks:)

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  7. A mother's eye's. We all see ourselves there, and hardly ever as she sees us! Life unravels and we gather the shreds to make it whole again. My interruption. I hope it is close. :)
    Great poetry touches the heart. This did!

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    1. Thank you, Yolanda. I'm humbled and deeply honoured.

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    2. And I love your interpretation of Multiplicity, Yolanda.

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  8. A complex, multifaceted poem about loss and acceptance. The unraveling of innocence.

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    1. Everything that has been said by everyone here resonates with me. And that includes you. Thank you, Olga

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  9. Trapped sure came to mind as I read through. Unable to fully be what is wished. Well done indeed.

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  10. Back again, Adura. Making more sense of it now. Maybe it's my mindset. I think the meaning is encapsulated in the final lines:

    —am I as I am
    as I ought to be
    a woman not a wife
    a man labelled a girl

    Am I right? Maybe it's self explanatory. It would be very painful to feel you're another gender than the one you are allocated.

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    1. The beauty of interpretation is that it is unique. It is valid because it is what the reader sees. I would say a poem has no exact one way to interpret it. I am here to enjoy and reflect on what you see, and that is pure joy for me, Denise. Thank you for your lens on my lines, my dear friend.

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    2. And yes Denise, I would go as far as to say this is not a subject that I take lightly. We see people persecuted everyday for just being who they are, learning to live in the bodies they've been born into and the expectations that come with those bodies. I can only imagine that it would be very painful. I try to explore how it might feel by writing about it. A good number of the new poems in the second edition of 'Life is a Woman' is about this: how one unravels in a hostile world.

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    3. Adura, just had to come back and share this. Of course, I teach Poetry Appreciation in school, and living poets often say after reading analyses of their poems that they didn't really mean that, but are glad people read that into it. As you said earlier, many layers. Of course, prose can be read on many layers, but not everyone wants to dig as deep as witchy-detective types like Nila and myself. (Must be because I'm writing about a vampiress who's called a witch, LOL).

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    4. And lovin' this discussion on your poem...

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    5. LOL...Lovin' it too, Denise.

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  11. Hi Adura - I'm glad I came by when I did ... and didn't have to work out what was going on - though now can see more of what you've written in your poem. I like the way it expands out ... as though about to explode with 'unfulfillment' ...

    We do live in challenging times - yet at least now people can move forward ... I guess, sadly, a generation before things change properly ... so many men rule, or think they do ...

    Thoughtful thoughts from here - Hilary

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    1. We are getting there slowly in some parts of the world and yet so far away in others. Thanks Hilary.

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  12. Some people are like onions or like a rose. They both have layers which must be peeled back to understand what makes them as they are. Most don't want to look that deep. Being able to stay strong in the face of opposition is a skill and will take you far in life. Bravo. I'm no expert on poetry but I love words which evoke. Your entry does that.

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  13. I wasn't sure this girl found acceptance in her mother's eyes. She begins wide eyed and full of wonder.

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