ii rye lane (foul ecstasy)
black girls don’t do drugs said the bouncer at Bussey, without searching me. Well, let me tell it, some of us sit smug in our youth. Full of white silver powders in cold smoking areas, waiting for the come up to hit us; chase the cold that’s set in our bones.
We gurn on hand rolled cigs; pray for the peak. Our mouths dressed, tongues, the taste of the foul ecstasy curdled in our gums. We sink in this. Buzzed smiles under drooped eyes sharpened towards blue lights which flood the wet dance floor.
Our skins stay open, each touch from the bass sending us in upward spirals of bright starlight.
We beg the night not to end, plead with it to spend its morning cloaked in darkness. We want to stay alive in this wide blackness our pupils become; in this ache of clenched jaws.
by Belinda Zhawi
You can hear Belinda read this poem on our website.
This is the second of two poems this week from our two newest ignitionpress pamphlets (on Monday we shared a poem by Natalie Whittaker). We are excited now to share with you a poem by Belinda Zhawi, which comes from her pamphlet Small Inheritances. Writing of the work, Kayo Chingonyi says: ‘Small Inheritances is a masterclass in what a poem is and can be for in the present moment. There is protest in these pages, but also a glimpse of what healing might look like, whether in a moment of intimacy or in different kinds of intoxication. There are intergenerational kinships and echoes in these poems that illuminate a poetics that so many of us have been crying out for.’
The pamphlets were launched on Thursday at the Poetry Café in London, and we’ll also be at the Woodstock Poetry Festival on 10 November. Do join us there if you can! You can buy the pamphlets via our website.
Finally, if you haven't yet booked to come and see the award-winning poet Jay Bernard at Brookes this coming Wednesday, please visit this link to register (for free). Jay will perform from and talk about their extraordinary work Surge. This is an event not to be missed!
‘ii rye lane (foul ecstasy)’ is copyright © Belinda Zhawi, 2018. It is reprinted from Small Inheritances (ignitionpress, 2018).
Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean-born writer and educator. She is an alumnus of the University of Westminster and Goldsmiths, University of London, where she studied on the BA in Politics and the Writer/Teacher MA, respectively. Belinda was a 2015/16 London Laureate and the 2016/17 Institute of Contemporary Arts Associate Poet. She is co-founder of BORN::FREE – a community-based literary movement and zine press. She currently lives and works in South East London. You can follow her work on Twitter.
ignitionpress, based at Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, is a poetry pamphlet press with an international outlook which publishes original, arresting poetry from emerging poets, and established poets working on interim or special projects. The Managing Editor of the press is Les Robinson, who is the founder and director of the renowned poetry publisher tall-lighthouse. The first group of pamphlets, by Lily Blacksell, Mary Jean Chan, and Patrick James Errington, were published in February 2018. Mary Jean’s pamphlet, A Hurry of English, was selected by the Poetry Book Society as its Summer Pamphlet Choice 2018. You can learn more about the press and buy the pamphlets on the Poetry Centre website.
Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.