BLACK MOTHER, WHITE MOTHER

marais

Poem by Anja Marais

BLACK

WHITE

MOTHER

by Anja Marais




Anja Marais

is a South-African born and Miami based visual artist.

Using History as leitmotiv

she deconstructs transgenerational and ecological lineages

to reinterpret cultural heritage.

An Ethnopoet.


photo credit: Ana Carballosa


WHITE MOTHER; BLACK MOTHER

I am marbled bread.

I had a black mother and a white mother.

My birth mother, a pious Christian, held me in her arms and whispered:

You are born in sin, seek the light of redemption.

My Sotho caretaker, animistic, carried me under a blanket on her back, singing:

You were born pure like a flower, but dark forces will try and take it away.

My love for both my mothers tenterhooks splitting my being.

Duality cleft like an axe through my head

creating a scar in my brain

growing an ashen egg nestled between my lobes

pressing into soft tissue

ever swelling.

Viral Encephalitis diagnosed the doctor

trying to save my life.

Flying his bush plane to the nearest African village for the last bottle of

expired antivirals.

The egg in my brain burst open leaving a velvet scarlet cavity.

Fruit pits spilled out. Pocking stains into grey. I, like Persephone eating

the pomegranate, gained the ability to walk in both worlds,

upper and lower.

• • >


© 2018


I entered a mirrored world Effervescent Glassy Gossamer

I became a neon nomad gliding on a viscoelastic stream of pitch. Down

perpetual corridors. Sequined fireflies in corners Rhythmic

pulsating

light

A heartbeat webbed, woven in unison with pulsars lightyears away.

The corridor serpentined deeper. I grew smaller damper louder

Through the murk. The outlines of wars, conflict, torture. I was

crushed between deafening battalions screeching sharp

metal saltpeter dripping horses stench of rot & dreg

cementing between corpses blood coagulating

when

an alabaster hand grabbed me, pulled me by the breast. Out unto a

meadow, an oasis smelling of ancient soil.

Grass cupping my feet,

breezes roughing my face.

• • >


© 2018


Encircling the meadow, seven figures. Edifices of wisdom. Stacked

cairns of time holding hands, forming a golden fetter of infinity, beaming

light, cascading into argent mica, confirmed by the floral perfumed air.

Carried on the humming breeze, their names:

Kali

Hathor

Chhinnamasta

Inanna

Freya

Cerridwen

Asase

All drinking from the pitch stream of war, soaking it up through their

nurturing mouths. Swallowing and churning it into nectar. With the ease of

an airborne dandelion seed exhaling a fragrance. A thin vapor accumulating

into clouds, rising up and drifting over heptad continents and seas. Unsealed,

showering sanative waters, washing baptizing all an aroma of wet leaves.

• • >



This riant routine of digestion and transformation effortless persistent.

Respiring

they guarded me. Shielded behind their backs of turtle-like shell,

they lifted me up and drank me through gleaming lips. Exhaling my

dissipation into the firmament.

I drifted. Small cloud. Boundless. The playful thermals passed me along

between eagles and geese, feathering a bed across the sky. I watched the

exhausted doctor fly past me in his tiny plane. The metal tail tucked me

into its wake, pulling closer towards earth, earth the beautiful round

matriarch.

From above:

My black mother and my white mother holding hands over a child’s bed.

My white mother, singing Psalm 23.

My black mother, bowing over an offering of bread to her ancestors.

This is how I remember them for decades to come.

Bridging arms suspended over my revived body.

• • •


ANJA MARAIS

IG/@ANJAMARAIS

FB/@ANJAMARAISART

WWW.ANJAMARAIS.COM

2019

ORLANDO MUSEUM OF ART

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