THE WHOLE OF THE MOON (Pt. 1) | the unicorn’s lament for Frida Kahlo

Artwork by Jen Frankwell
unicorns and cannonballs
and palaces and piers
trumpets, towers and tenements
wide oceans full of tears

Every time I come across her dear beloved face — on pillow-slips and paper plates, Barbie dolls and skinny tees — I wince. Mostly, she is wearing red roses in her hair. And her dark eyebrows meet in an inscrutable stare.

Lipsticks and handbags, and worst of all, baby grows. She, who could not bear a child, a little Dieguito, who shared her pain in blood and paint, in pelvic bone and scalpel steel. Emblazoned on baby grow.

Frida. Dear Frida. Lo siento.

I saw her once, talking with a wee man from Dundee. In the image, she is smiling. And they’re bathed in blue light. I sense he understood her, as not everybody does.

“she was a woman to whom life had been cruel” (Michael Marra)

All Will Be Well by @gillgamble (prints at her Etsy shop)

I knew them both, for I know them all: the poets and the painters; the dreamers and the seekers; the ones who blaze like comet tails and reach for the stars.

Too high
Too far
Too soon




I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
Please. Please. Would you hold it again?
Illustration by Jen Frankwell

Trust me, I know what it is, to be a sign, a plastic souvenir or a glitter-frosted cake. I see myself in windows too, shiny, pink and fluffy, on rucksacks and pyjamas, and on packed lunch boxes.

I was powerful once, you know. I was mythic. I was strong. I was not a child’s plaything, or a politician’s lie.

I was purity of heart.
I was something to aspire to.
I was courage.
I was magic.
I was harmony and hope.

And now I am derided as the scheme of venal men, who decry the vassal state whilst Building Their Own Empires.

And meantime, dear beloved Frida dangled on a wrist, the wrist of a woman who has flicked it in disdain at those who hurt, as Frida did. Insult to injury.


Me, and Frida Kahlo, twin symbols of the times: the fantasy of hope; the reality of pain.

Mock me, if you will. But right now, you need me because I am not real. For what isn’t yet real, is the only hope you have.

I can take you to the place where every precious dream and vision still resides, and bides its time, although there isn’t much left.

I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew

How did we come to think imagining was easy? It is not simple. And it is not safe. It is the labour of living.


Climb on the ladder
Cut through the lie
Stretch for the stars

Learn how to fly
With a torch in your pocket

Seek Brigadoon!

And sing it, and sing it,
The Whole Of The Moon.

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