Poetry—Congo: A Burial Hymn by Sarah Lubala

Xochi Solis illustration: It just takes one step to start a journey
It just takes one step to start a journey
Xochi Solis
Gouache, house paint, acrylic, Dura-lar film, naturally dyed paper, colored paper, and found images on illustration board
8 × 6 inches, 2017.

Exile is the brother of death
—Berber Proverb

 

 

I

Bring the akee
ripe and willing
the bitter leaf
the wild spinach
the kola nuts

I am gathering from scratch
telling the stone house
the thatch roof
the gun too large
for hands so small
the months of rice and
honey

 

II

Oh Lord
that I belonged
to any land but this
that I could not read
the currents
that the dirt roads knew nothing
of me

In these lines
I have tried to forget the words
by which we are known

 

III

I am told my poems
hold too much water
are charged with
too much weeping
I know nothing else
honeyed water for the mouth
lemon water for the throat
saltwater for the wounds
history is the dog at my back
hard by the heels
the profane stain of red earth
along the hem of every skirt

 

IV

The night my grandfather died
I stood in a long line at Home Affairs
awaiting a new name

forgive me

Xochi Solis illustration: Here where the trees have leaves of prisms
Here where the trees have leaves of prisms
Xochi Solis
Gouache, house paint, acrylic, Dura-lar film, collograph, naturally dyed paper, colored paper, digitally printed vinyl, and found images on illustration board
40 × 30 inches, 2017.

XOCHI SOLIS reflects on mood and emotional states within her artistic practice, integrated with an exploration of material and color. Each work is a construction beginning with paint, followed by a collection of materials including: hand-dyed paper, vinyl, plastic, cork, and images from books and magazines. Layering these resources together creates a greater range of depth and shadow that allows each composition to increase in complexity as the stack of visual information grows. The repeated act of layering is a meditation on shape and form, leading to a greater awareness of the visual intricacies found in the artist’s immediate environment.

More poetry. More from the Memory Issue.