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(page 22 of 93)

Poem by Ashley Cole
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Poem by Ashley Cole

(page 22 of 93)

Keywords: eleventh transmission, poetry, fiction, photography, visual art, spoken word, film, socially engaged,
political, human experience, writing, satire, photojournalism, activist art, activism, socially conscious, art


by Ashley Cole

The night she gave birth
I came prepared with pen and paper
because- I thought- no matter how many photos I take
they will never compare with a thousand words

I remember before the birth
my only goal in life was to be strong
and I think that moment came
when I held her
while they pierced her back with pain meds

Afterwards her civil war surviving mother asked
"How old is she?" Surprised someone my age
with no previous experience
could be so prepared to hold someone else's pain

The truth is
It's all I know
Of love

"She's so strong" was her observation of me
one I carry with pride like a medal
or a memory
reminding me not to lie down and let life run me over
that's just life's way
if I want anything from it
I must fight like hell

Like Igor Tjarkovsky
a Russian researcher and pioneer
Of the 1960s water birth movement

It was his love
-a fathers love-
that discovered the power of water for birth
his daughter Veta
was born to the natural world
two months premature
and In a desperate act of love
he replaced water for womb

He watched her little toes
wiggle with growth
her lungs not crushed from air
grew strong within her chest

I often wonder of the thoughts and demons that plagued him
called him names like stupid
told him his idea would never work
yet he fought like hell
under the unbearable weight of love
and shut everyone up
when it did

Nobody told me how long we would wait
in hospital rooms
with unforgiving
and nurses
and so we distracted ourselves
with talk of holes
and how they can both expand and contract
Just to bring forth life

We pondered
how natural
and completely unnatural it is
for a boy to come out
from between a women's legs

In the end
my friend did not have a water birth
being from Kosovo
she had her own expectations and traditions
to bad nobody told her
Canada doesn't care
male doctors do it their way
fast and quick
Pit pit
snip snip

Baby born from scalpels knife
not mothers womb
but we all have the choice to fight
the way she did when she fled the war
when the blood lust and political tensions left its finger prints
on the Albanian community in Kosovo

Families were separated
Communities were destroyed
and the sound of screaming children
still rings in the ears of the journalists
who had the courage to look into the face of darkness

New children
bring new hope
help us dream of better days
where we learn from our history
and dream of all the things that bind us

And when I finally held her new born
soft and warm
fresh out of womb
I think to say
"Don't worry I know you want to go back in
there is a part of you that always will."
But until then I will just hold him

And dream as Igor did
Of impossible things and arrogant hopes
Prepare myself for the time when tears come

More poetry by Ashley Cole.
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