What I love about this blog is I get to meet the most interesting people. Take Mandy Cummins for instance, who as her friend Katherine describes is a mother, animal lover, poet and makeup artist. Her bio explains who she is better than I ever could. I’ve already done a feature about her makeup artistry and for this post we take a look at her poetry. I especially like how she experiments with the shape and position of the words in her poems. Click here to read her poetry

Here are five faves about her writing life.

 

Q1.      Favourite poem by another author

I have several but the one that comes to mind immediately is “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot. I have a tattoo of the line “Do I dare disturb the universe?”

 I also love anything by Rumi.

 

Q2.      Favourite place to write

Wherever inspiration hits me. And then I tweak and work on my poems and stories generally in the dead of night at home when it’s quiet. Nighttime is very evocative for me.

 

Q3.      Favourite snack while writing

Coffee.

 

Q4.      Favourite poem you wrote

Yikes! Hard one!! I do have a few that I really love, but I think I’d have to say “Of A Place” and “MaryJane”.

 

Q5.      Favourite supporter(s) of your work.

Gosh there are so, so many. LXP and all the associated poets have always been incredibly supportive, as have most of the other writers I’ve shared my work with.

I do have two honourable mentions:

DJ Simmons and I would exchange our work and encourage each other while we were at school, since we were around 15.

 And Mark Jason Welch was the person who, after reading some of my work, personally placed my very first NIFCA forms in my hand and encouraged me to enter. I won three medals and the Most Promising Poet award that year. He has always encouraged me and challenged me artistically.

Click to learn more about Mandy the MakeUp artist

 

Poetry by Mandy

 

Mandy Cummins

Mandy Cummins

 

 

GUILTY

Night’s ink spills

      thick indigo-black across my hands

              like blood

 

I’m afraid of the dark’s

lonesome howl

 

              It rips through my lungs

               catching my breath

                and wrenching it away

                 rending flesh

                  searing bone

                   with a gasp

 

     leaving a cavity

  that aches with the stink

of emptiness

 

I yearn to pour

my heart out to the day

to relieve

the stench

of this heart’s decay

 

            But this midnight pen

                            will not write for one

                                      whose hands are covered with blood

 

This poem won the NIFCA Silver & Most Promising Poet 2004.

OF A PLACE

I

I am in the salt
and the spice
of a place
you could never know

My shores are
not yours for the
tasting
the raping

My skin
smells of
cinnamon
is in the colour of sandalwood
But you will never know
its flavour

 

My hair is in the earth
in the wind

the dance of tides
is in my step

My eyes are in the
amber honey sunsets
of this place

 

My love is thick
it would
stick
in your throat

You could never swallow me

I am a woman of
this place
big as the sky
small as its stars

 

I am
fire and dust
air
that would rust
your ignorant desire

The heat of summer night
is in my blood
blood
that will
never warm
your fingertips

I am of this place

I am the salt
the spice
of a place
you will never know

 

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This poem was composed and performed specially for the Crop Over Read In 2010

AVATAR

Mandy and Aeris

Mandy and Aeris

I am running

The cane blades scratch my arms
The ground crunches underfoot

I am breathing
Hard

The morning is crisp
And full of earth
A Caribbean moon sets silently

My heart is beating
Echoing each footfall
The sparrow’s song and
The black belly sheep’s call
Make stalwart
Timekeepers

I am singing
A flamboyant sways
Boughs bending and waving
regal in the distance
The ocean dances against the sand ahead

This is not a dream

I am singing
A song of belonging
I am breathing
A sigh of home

My soul lies
Calm and alive
Within this ground

I conceived here
under a dense and humid rain

My child was carried
beneath this sun
Born
To these shores
The palms and the sugar and the allamanda
Run through her veins

She is my blessing
A gift
Our joy
My exquisite creation
With a
Son of this place

She is a daughter of this soil

I am a prodigal daughter
Returned to the birthplace of my father

And I claim my space
My square of land
I have dug my toes deep
Put down my own roots

But
I bear the burden
Of the sins of men
Whose greed knew no bounds

Unwilling
Unjustly
I am an Avatar

I am an Avatar
of the founders
and leaders
and makers
Of centuries of torment
For these transplanted
Dissected
Separated
People who
Check my hands
Looking for dirt
For blood
For the tarnish of souls lost

Against their midnight skins
I become pale as a cloud
And gleam bright white in the sun
Glaringly different
Unable to hide
Useless to defend myself

In another lifetime
I may have been herded too
Driven like cattle
Treated like chattel

Centuries away from now
I may have wept
Clawed at the ground
Mourned a lost husband
A lost sister
A lost child
My lost people

Today I ache
For the families rent apart
For the lands
The valleys
The gods
The cultures

The birthright
Stolen away

Displaced
Placed in a home
Not their own
Forced to replace
The long gone Natives
Of this new land

But these
Beautiful
Strong People
Have become the children
The masters
Of this new Home

I share it now with them

In my lover’s strong brow
And proud nose
And rich skin
I see the history
Of his People
And I am humbled

It is as lush
Complex
As my own heritage
A story of gold
Mountain temples
Of Slavery
And Shame
And Annihilation
My own
Deep legacy

Our baby
Has kept his
Strong nose
Married his brow with mine
Kept my mouth

She is the Avatar
of who we are
Not displaced
not replacements
But placed inside each other

And I cannot explain

How at one I am
In the Cane
On the Shore
Beneath the trees
How this island’s smell
Fills my nostrils
Slides beneath my tongue
And seeps into my skin

And I could never be rid of it
It has sunk into my core
Become my essence

My face is not dirty
This golden human stain
Is just my flesh
Beneath it my heart beats
In time
to the sweet ring of steel
And the green smell of limestone
And the song of the men
Sweeping the streets
And the call of the women
Peddling yams and breadfruit
And the clatter of the children
Racing leaves down the gutter

This is the rhythm of my home

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Mandy is an unapologetic free spirit who enjoys all forms of passionate artistic expression. She’s an avid and proud member of certain fandoms (she’s dubbed herself a superwholockgamewalker, subject to change as she adds more and more fan-worthy stuff to her watch list). She staunchly supports social equality and daily tries to be kind, to give back, to learn and to grow. Mandy has dreams of one day doing makeup on TV and films sets, publishing a book and starting her own makeup line. She loves writing, drawing, dreaming, posing for pictures, cosplaying, painting faces, dancing with her daughter, snuggling her fur babies, cooking, watching the stars, being silly, twirling in the moonlight, chocolate and coffee. 

 

Connect with Mandy

Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest @LadyMandyisms
Youtube www.youtube.com/mandyaboutface
Facebook www.facebook.com/mandy.cummins
Tumblr aladymandyismsblog.tumblr.com
Business Email mandythemakeupartist@gmail.com