Thursday, July 06, 2006

Poetry by Maggie Ball

Dicky Knees

“You see the folly of trying to contain writers within passports” Salman Rushdie (Imaginary Homelands, 1991, 67)

when in the course of human events
the homeland you once dug deep into your chubby fingernails
more self-evidently true
than life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness
dissipates into a half remembered dream
you can’t return to

you hold out a hand and find
one door open, another closed

in the land of my birth
king and country
already so long dissolved
by olive branch rejection, open rebellion,
dangerous and ill designing men
that it was already quaint
something more gently connected
with bluebells, good rock, and Shakespeare
than any governance

anyway it wasn’t my war
I was already the diaspora class
three generations removed
eastern european
not by accent or language, or even religion
all subsumed into a modernity
so encompassing it wiped out all tradition
except the tilt of my head
and a few wild hand gestures

going “home” to old Blighty
wasn’t a return to anything
migration, rejection, realignment

but what is commonwealth if not postcolonial
complex, multidirectional
slippery as an author
self-defining, autonomous, comforting
under a welcoming umbrella
I wrecked my knees in childbirth
setting roots into a new soil
anchoring myself deep into the human condition

there’s just that little point of allegiance
with these dicky knees

Bio: Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader Her short stories, editorials, poetry, reviews and articles have appeared in a wide number of printed anthologies and journals, and have won many awards. Her non-fiction book, The Art of Assessment was published by Mountain Mist Productions in 2002, and her poetry chapbook Quark Soup is due for publication by Picaro Press late in 2006.

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