Poetry

THE CONSTANT GARDENER


Each day at dusk, in need of quiet affirmation, a constant gardener hops
from branch to strand of electric cable outside our patio to remind me

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GOSPEL OF NANNY-OF-THE-MAROONS


Black blood veins palace walls—
Whitehall smearing Pall Mall—
drains under auction blocks,
stains rum and sugar docks.

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Waterwave (from Prayers at the Beach by Kamau Brathwaite)
PRAYERS AT THE BEACH


An Oriki for KAMAU 85

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BROTHER MAN – FOR KAMAU BRATHWAITE

I shall not remove my cover
My head is sacred ground

I shall not cut my beard
It is a monument

I shall not speak with your tongue
I have my own

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BLACK SKIN (FOR KAMAU B)

My santan tone teecha
Read me the story—
“Scrubbing The Negro”
And whenever I see
A tub of boiling water
I cringe and I cry.
 

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9—le ressouvenir

this is owed, in the recollection of things
the precarious accounting of confessions
and their alleged crimes—your graces,

i did not mean to murder my brother

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THE PHILOSOPHIZING SLAVE


As thirst discourses best on water,

and night is the expert on day,

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DOS DAFFODILS (AFTER EDWARD KAMAU BRAITHWAITE)


Dere dey are, dem daffodils, out on de lawn wif dere heads
bent like candle-snuffers making de light go out.

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MARY TELLING JOSEPH THAT SHE PREGNANT


Joseph, my betrothed, I don’t know
where to start. I was into the red
of this egg a long, long time before

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WORKER CHANT


tell dem
tell dem
that dem cars
with my blood in dem gas tanks
soon run dry
soon stop run

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