Monday, 3 January 2011


Written By Zena Edwards 2001©

Melanie's nails tip the scales beyond the balanced rational of modern architecture.
Rhinestone encrusted, they arch entrusted to an adhesive, bonding live nail to acrylic
Unifying her in a mirage marriage of sophisticate Ameri-carib elite to brown girl in 
Beauty College from Tottenham high street. 

Mel got her nails from “US GAL, from a real Korean chick with her high heeled,
tiled floor cracking, sling backing tight jeaned or shorted skirt wearing, little tittied,
hair flicking, eye flitting but perfectionist focus for nails building self.

Three Saturdays of her minimum wage slave was the price Mel paid. Her manager points out the impracticality of her newly acquired appendages. Mel points a beclawed index digit retreating, hissing her warning like a lioness, cub protecting, "Don’t you come between her and her ten reasons for living!"

Mel's nails entrap the gaze of the mind ticking the gansta rap on MTV box - big black six packs and guns, undulating brown flesh in thongs... Mel imagines it’s her choice of rhinestones on her thumb that catch the sun and leaves them struck dumb.
Mels nails tell a tale of her clawing her way through a thicket
of charmless males, who liked her thigh, her buttocks tight and high
Her breast pointing to the sky, her clean wet eyes.
Mels nails meant she never washed a dish from that monumental day.
Like a buzz from a passing fly were her mothers the complaints -
Ignored or irritatingly swatted away with a curled lip
Her ears had closed to that voice long ago anyway.
The space between which was not full of air
as  maternal blusters and playground blasts had blown her to believe
from pubescent rebukes alluding to her bodily parts
that chose to round and swell before she had lost
her clumsy schoolgirl gait; those bulges that attracted 

an attention she only knew made her uncomfortable
made want to origami herself in to shape of a boat
or something even less interesting.
Poked at for contemplative visage mistaken for shy
inaccurately diagnosed as "Well She's just stupid, innit."
And her inclination for re-potting plants was not a reflection
on her personality as being an unanimated as a wallflower.
She just liked to help things grow.
somewhere down the line she had put down the gardening gloves
and picked up shears pruning that soft touch don't say much
into a loose lip l such and such
it wasn’t enough to just dispassionately exist
scratch the varnished surface and see after the eclipse

You find a small tongue cannot articulate big pain lying under cover, could not choose
which night was dream filled, could not wish away
the rain that fell on Mels small world. Her blamelessness
bent over backwards a rainbow under those dark clouds smelling
of thick mans smell and Tennents Extra unmasked
by the favourite aftershaveof her stepfather seeping
under her door and into her bed.

And between the mothers back teeth laughing, his big hand
her  mothers broad hip stoking and heavy whispering
in ears only open for compliments and good girl pay offs,
mother rationalises blindness for the impossibility
of his preference of her daughter over herself….

Thus after nose, brow, dimple navel and eighteenth ear piercing
through which her frustration escaped, Melanie painted
her nails a shock of colour  She chose herself. Definitively.
Uncompromisingly -  Nefertiti on her left pinkie with a tiny gold ring
punched through representing her vague knowledge of self, a sun setting
on an Island beach and solitary palm tree, firework, stars, explosions of a kaleidoscope 

Mel got her nails and face painted to accentuate the light and shade
of her dreams not to cover up the shabby seams of tear darned recoveries. No…. 

Misadventure was a survivor’s test. She knew this and her promenades into womanhood
Were strewn with the waste of her hurts.

But she prettied them up with polish and flares of yellow brick roads, 
glitterati carnivals, and the lazy sound of droning bees pollinating 
in a park in Tottenham filling 
her body to bursting, shooting out of her fingers tips like car headlights.
She had fine art Picassoed over her nails in the colours she chose 
for herself definitively and uncompromisingly. 
Cos Mel's nails were her dreams manifest. 
Her conquest. What she claimed.

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