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Books & Poetry

Poem: Jolie laide

Books & Poetry

Poet’s Corner contributor Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad turns her attention to a topic both seasonal and timeless.

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Jolie laide

Flanked by a row of oddball Christmas trees
marked down for their awry angles
and rowdy foliage,
the veggies in the ‘rejects’ aisle lounge casually
in their racks, next to the placard that says
Imperfect Produce –
the contorted capsicums
the pumpkins with lumpy bums
the carrots with polydactyly.

My lifelong preference for the jolie laide
over the conventionally handsome, holds true
for groceries too, and always one to root
for the underdog, I pick out a kilo
of malformed carmello. Then,
my freak tomatoes and I saunter past
the boxes of their impeccably formed
beauty contestant counterparts –
the heirlooms, the romas the glorious sungolds,
pausing for just a moment to fix
stray wisps of my hair,
clearly mirrored
in their taut and burnished skins,
before winking at the wonky Christmas trees
in all their unorthodox glory.

Editor’s note. Jolie laide: ‘The unconventionally beautiful; the unlovely that is beautiful; the very French art of appreciating imperfection.’

A child refugee during the Gulf War of 1990–1991 and holder of a Masters in English from Delhi University, Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is an artist, poet and improv pianist living in Sydney. A chief editor for the literary journal Authora Australis and member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project, her own art and poetry has been published in a number of print and online journals and anthologies. She was the winner of the Moon Prize awarded by the journal Writing in a Woman’s Voice, while her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her art for the Best of the Net Journal. Oormila has her own poetry page here.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.
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