Red Shift I: Impregnation (detail) by Cildo MeirelesCildo Meireles Red Shift: I. Impregnation, (detail) 1967-84
Collection Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Minas Gerais, Brazil © the artist. Photo: Pedro Motta 

Kayo Chingonyi presents his poem, 'After Cildo Meireles', based on Cildo Meireles, Red Shift I: Impregnation (detail) 1967-1984, which was on display at Tate Modern until January 2009 as part of the Cildo Meireles exhibition.
Visit the Tate Collection online.


After Cildo Meireles
      Take this lamp in pillar box,
for instance, first seen brazen
in a furniture shop’s attempt
at a window display, a chink
in the glitz of crystal encrusted
bureaus, art deco light fixtures,
faux Parisian ambience. The flat
needed things, I was told; lacked
character. So, you see, I had to
have it. The fire engine telephone
came free. The two of them alone
looked off, somehow. I saved for
a persimmon throw for the sofa,
which–alas–was neutral.
       The throw too needed balancing
and who buys just one cushion?
It followed like this ‘til my thirtieth,
Luca, from the second floor, gifted me
a terra cotta fruit bowl wrapped in puce
tissue paper. It escalated then. Friends
brought crimson trinkets back from far
flung trips, even mother took to sending
sangria stained postcards from her yearly
sojourns to the Costa Brava. She’d return,
with tales of broad backed flamenco dancers,
to my front room and its new acquisitions.
The day after my thirty seventh I bought
a tin of pink emulsion, took the laden
brush to the whitewashed walls and smiled.


KAYO CHINGONYI is a poet, performer, workshop facilitator, events promoter and compere based in London. He completed an undergraduate dissertation on the American poet Saul Williams at the University of Sheffield. He has performed his work at venues as diverse as Buckingham Palace, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate Modern and Soho Theatre as well countless live venues in London, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. His work has been broadcast on Radio Five Live, Sheffield Live and Colourful Radio. His poems also appear in print in the third tall-lighthouse poetry review entitled City Lighthouse as well as Now Then magazine (published in Sheffield).

Kayo previously won The Poetry Society’s Slambassadors UK championship, a competition dedicated to spoken word and the professional development of emerging talent. In 2008, the competition was taken online, featuring young people aged 12-18 living in the cities of London and Liverpool.