Friday, 4 December 2015

Body Map by Christine Coates

Body Map

Christine Coates

I’m writing about aging

but I’m also writing about walking on skin

and the rain that offers no moisture

not the rain on the roof typing on tin

nor the fire breathing in the corner.

My skin the land animals cross,

it puckers, it’s parched,

it’s fingerprinted.

My passport shows my picture,

my greying hair, my name;

it’s familiar, it’s also a stranger

like my father,

his passport in the family trunk,

his name that comes and goes.

I watch my body dry,

children who once occupied,

sucke my milk,


From: McGregor Poetry Festival 2014 Anthology

First published in 2015 by African Sun Press
in association with The McGregor Poetry Festival Committee
ISBN 978-0-620-64600-0

The Poet:

Christine Coates is a poet, writer and visual artist from Cape Town who spends many hours walking on the mountain or besides the sea. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. She has an interest in life-writing or memoir, and the recovery of personal history through public and private imagery. She translated her great-grandfather's Boer War journals and presented them in parallel text as a handmade, leather-bound book. She has undertaken the 800km pilgrimage across Spain, on the Camino de Compostela three times. Her stories and poems have been published in various literary journals: New Contrast, New Coin, Deep Water Literary Journal, scrutiny2. Found Poem was a finalist in the Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry Review 2002, Africa Focus. Her poems were selected for the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry Prize anthology in 2011 – 2014, Deep Water Literary Journal and scrutiny2, 2014. Her debut collection of poems, Homegrown, was published in 2014 by Modjaji Books. Her short story The Cat’s Wife was highly commended and published in ADULTS ONLY, (ed) Joanne Hichens, Mercury Books 2014. She has also written a cookbook; From the Heart; family, food and memory. Christine belongs to Finuala Dowling’s monthly poetry group and a women’s writing collaborative; The Grail Women Writers.

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