Poem: Viola Davis

[Image Description: A realistic graphite drawing of Black actress Viola Davis.]

Poem by Adaeze Onwuelo


Viola Davis

On a bus to Sutton

a broad black brick builds to a button

the reflections mucus is black molasses

twigs and sticks sprout in flashes.


In her hand, she grips

the plastic package of The Cosmos.

 

Up turned with a Surrey Shine

like Chamomile, like a long line

no bead bumps or speed humps

no crows beak, no tree stumps

just a mould of cream cheese

exalted, animated on the magazine

 

Outside, in the clipped air,is a billboard

with a nose like hers, real broad

the nose exudes a special plucked gloss

-Statues of The Cosmos are swiftly tossed

Her halo of hair stretches in all directions

Her apricot cosmos clutching her attention

the Malta melanin skin, sings of summer and spring

giving her bruised back a pair of wings.

The nose at the centre - lovely and large

narcotised, she scrambles and puts away her clay card

Her conjure and core is her adjacent star

her grin grows grand in mint and cream pride

for her nose from Abuja.

 

She looks to a new Cosmos.


I choose the noun Cosmos in the poem as a play on words- Cosmos is another word for universe, it is also meant to refer to the fashion and entertainment magazine Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan acts as a metaphor for the lack of racial representation. The speaker regards the magazine Cosmopolitan as their universe, their whole world, giving their whole undivided attention to the magazine, despite the insecurity it creates.

When the speaker sees someone like her- a black woman with black features- on a billboard, she feels represented and proud of her African features and discards the old Cosmos, the old magazine featuring mostly models who don't look like her and now looks towards black models - as the ''new Cosmos''

Adaeze Onwuelo has been writing poetry ever since she was sixteen years old. Drawing inspiration from personal experience and events she witnesses, she attempts to express herself through poetry. She has been published in Ink, Sweat & Tears.

Eman Mohamed is an artist from Egypt. She writes, my dream was to enter art school but I was met with lots of difficulties, one of them getting diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis which was difficult mentally and physically but it wasn't going to stop me from pursuing my passion for drawing so I pushed through and I taught myself till I achieved my dream now my goal is for my art to reach lots of people around the world. She can be found on Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook