Mr Experimenter

i first met you
when i was twenty
in your office at
uwi mona

i brought you a folder
of poems i had not expected
you to read right then
but you did
as i sat unsure
where to look
what to do as
you turned the pages

my eyes roved your
shelves of books
stacked by your desk
scattered everywhere
i glanced at you as you read
and tapped your knee
your brows knitted
in concentration
the faded black beret
perched on your head
the angular face
with goatee
clean but a little shabby
my lady-like neatness
but you were kamau
the poet
a man whose head
eyes and ears
were too full of words
to appear as anyone
other than himself

and when you said
you’re saying something
i want to publish some

the smile i was feeling
did not spread on my face
nor did i leap up
throw my arms around
your neck and
kiss you like
i wanted to
like I should have

but that was the beginning
of our friendship
you taking my poems
into your delicate hands
your  long fingers
that should play the piano
touching the pages
and seeing more than
i could see
and pressing me


TRY a ting

See     Sea  Saw

you who forged
words like ogun
stoking  the fire
smelting the lexicon



no home
for       you
no home
for       me
to returning
to homing self
self home
the self is home

the  self  that is four
scores and five

still in the forest
still smelting
words that we
will yet have to decipher

as we limbo down
wheel  and  twirl
to wash your feet
on this your birthday

nuff respect
my mentor man

Opal Palmer Adisa is living a life of ease, spending eight months in St Croix, four in California, where she teaches in the fall. 4-Headed Woman is her latest poetry collection. For more information, visit her website: