Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé (b. 1971)
J is for Jericho because walls exist
J is for Jericho because it has an incredible history.
J is also for John Wilkinson.
Wilkinson's lyric poems have a varnished purity.
They glisten with every turn of phrase.
Wilkinson has a book titled Reckitt's Blue.
The book begins with an ekphrasis of The Swing.
The woman in The Swing is wearing a pink dress.
It could be carmine or coral or amaranth.
In Tornada, there are flames and how they smoulder.
The final two lines are portentous.
There’s the image of a bat, pink like the woman.
How it glides through a vast body of light.
Sundown in Jericho had the same orange-pink.
Jericho is the City of Palm Trees.
There were settlements there as far back as 9000BC.
I named a character Jeremiah.
Jeremiah has the same burst of sound as Jericho.
Then there was Geronimo too.
I knew a woman from Jericho.
She showed me the two scars across her chest.
She used her finger to trace their lines.
I could hardly see them because she had a tattoo.
Right across, it was a bridge of all kinds of flowers.
They might have been carmine or coral or amaranth.
She told me her cat climbed Zaccheus’ Tree.
What did he see? I asked.
Enough of Jericho, she said.
She told me about the monastery.
It’s built on a cliff on the Mount of Temptation.
She said she ate dates there, and scattered the seeds.
What did you see? I asked.
All of Jericho, she said.
All of Jericho but the Wall.
J is for the joy of small acquaintances.
by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
from The Wrong/Wrung Side of Love (2015)