Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Poem of the Week: Robin Coste Lewis


"...women don't want the men to go into the
bush because the women will only be raped but
the men will be killed...I have seen a woman
who was caught in the bush by several men.
They tied her legs to two trees while she was
standing. They raped her many times and before
leaving her they put stones in her vagina..."

Abshiro Aden Mohammed, Kenya, 2000
Dagahaley Somali Refugee Camp
from A Camel for the Son,
by Fazal Sheik

Before leaving her they put stones in her vagina
The men will only be raped but the stones will be killed
The bush caught many men to go into the stones
The stones will be killed by several trees before leaving
The bush tied the men to the trees in their vaginas
Before bush go to trees they kill many stones
Many men will be caught by the trees in the bush
Several trees will be raped by the bush and killed
Only the caught men will be stoned and bushed by the trees
Several men were caught by the trees before leaving
The men will be killed but the stones will only be treed
The stones put many trees into the men's killed vaginas
By the bush, the trees were raped only several times
Before leaving, the vaginas were seen standing in the stones

-Robin Coste Lewis

Used by permission.

Robin Coste Lewis' work has appeared in various journals, including The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, GCN, The Pocket Myth Series, and anthologized in Black Silk and The Encyclopedia Project, F-K. She was a finalist for both the War Poetry Prize in 2010, and the National Rita Dove Prize iin 2004. A graduate of Harvard's Divinity School, where she received a Master's of Theological Studies degree in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature, Lewis was the Samuel Valentine Cole Professor of Creative Writing at Wheaton College and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Hampshire College. She has been awarded residencies and fellowships by the Caldera Foundation, the Ragdale Foundation, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Can Serrat International Art Centre in Barcelona and the Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya. Recently, she was awarded a Goldwater Fellowship by NYU's Creative Writing Program in Poetry. Born in Compton, California, her family is from New Orleans.

Lewis was on the panel The Poet as Historian in the 21st Century: A Rare Opportunity in Difficult Times at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.

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Chitra said...

I love you SO MUCH!!!

nancollard said...

The Worldwide Atrocities By Man. Progress Speed. In another 100 years will we have governed Man? If we have, it will have come from sharing the word of suffering. And a moral majority.

Anonymous said...


Rosemary said...

powerfully captures the feeling when one hears of such senseless acts; in fact, it can pretty much be applied to the world today...