Poems from NaPo 2015 – Second Week, and …


April 8 2015: Bloodlist

April murder count: 40
———-and counting.
Most at risk from homicide: young men.
———-86% of homicides globally.
—————I want to disbelieve.
—————I can’t.
Per capita homicide rate: 3rd in the Caribbean.
———-I don’t ask who’s first and second.
Trees left standing: down by four today.
—————The chainsaws are at it again.

 

April 9 2015: Private islands

if you call them that you
think that they were empty
when you bought them and
you think that you are some
kind of lord or khan or potentate
or maybe you really are and
you are master of all you
survey and the little bits you don’t and
you shape the land to fit your
loves or lust or fantasy but
you really aren’t you really
aren’t the islands were there
before you they were used by
people before you the people
who knew them knew them
and money does not buy them
it only makes them orphans

 

April 12 2015: Double-Digit Dolour

just when april gets feisty, grows muscle, adds digits, turns ten
my muse grows silent. nothing comes from screen, page, or pen.

 

April 13 2015: Exercises (5 out of 6)

1.
Pigs’ feet boil down to fat and bones.
The priest speaks low in monotones.

2.
The ephemeral city builds along a beach.

3.
They tell me that blank pink facade
is a new resort.

Its flat windows unblink
from sugarpink walls

4.
and stare on neon vests, hard hats;

5.
beyond the perimeter, an apocalyptic hotel squats.

 

April 23 2015: My definition of a line

A line is a feeling, a movement, a thought. Even if it’s part of a thought, ending a line at a particular place makes that part of the thought another thought. Turning the thought at the end of a line adds a new layer of meaning.

Poems from NaPo 2015 – First Week


April 1 2015: Words on Wood

you’ll paint the words on wood
you tell me ——— without doubt it will be done

 

we propose to collaborate
—-a bulldozer sat on lily’s house

———-“the wrong house”
———-“the agent ordered”

weave words
—–images
———-poems—————plans————— models
———-“I told him to wait”
———-The agent would not give a name
reincarnate————————–what was destroyed.
I doubt
—–pick up a brush anyway
———-and under the mango tree
—————————————-I write

what do lily fear
—–cold of grave
———-lily question, question, question

 

April 2 2015: Pictures at the exhibition

you set up the walls:
milled clapboard slipped together
with hammer and nails
not pegged shipwise
fitted together to strengthen in weather
but hammered

I paint them
paint no longer frightens me

you set up windows:
silkscreen frames
salvaged hinges
a shutter turned to mulch

I stack and order books
you lay straw matting

we fight
make up

arrange the pictures of the dead

April 3 2015: Caribbean Memory Project

Caribbean memory is held in heads
in hands
in bellies in hearts in feet
we have nothing to burn
but houses set on stones
cut by ancestors whose names
we cannot know
they burned initials
in the angles of houseframes
a private code
deciphered by demolition

*

we have nothing to burn
nothing to look at

nothing to see

our cultures fall
invisibly

 

April 4 2015: Resurrection

1) Ruin

Take wood salvaged from shipwreck
pegged together with hardwood pegs
fitted tight to strengthen with age
and rip it.

History cracks. Wood becomes nostalgia.
The ripper rips. The great blade shoves.

Clapboard bleeds no blood.
2) Rescue

Stop the blades. Confront the teeth
and salvage windows, doorknobs,
shutters. Imagine restoration.
3) Remembrance

But stopping and salvage are not enough.
Desire and imagination are not enough
to rebuild. Thieves take the windows.
The doorknobs disappear.

4) Resurrection

The real thing comes with angels,
rolled-back stones, myrrh-smeared wrappings,
empty tombs.

This one fills a room
with salvage, trappings,
photos, charm.

Those who enter laugh. And weep.

 

April 5 2015: Thoughts on stained glass

Christ Church Cathedral
established 1670
Services in this building were first held in 1841

—–Easter Sunday service: this apostate
—–glances at the Dean high in the carven pulpit
—–and turns her eyes to the stained glass window
—–which burns with the eastern Easter sun

A stunning feature of the Cathedral:
the East windows which
depict the Crucifixion

—–The cross is grey. The stone of the tomb
—–is grey. (How does one stain glass
—–grey? In different tiles and sizes of grey?
—–How does one choose the shapes, design
—–the leading?) Around the crucifixion the sky
—–bleeds red. The red burns a redder red than skies
—–or roses or even blood. This red lives
—–although the Christ on the cross has died.
—–His mother is swathed in blue and gold.
—–The disciple he loved in sea-green and gold.
—–The skins of each one is conqueror pink.

the Empty Tomb

—–Mary Magdalene’s hair is long and gold
—–like sunshine on a morning sea; her robe
—–slips from her shoulders, red as harlotry.
—–But her shoulders are clad in a white chemise.
—–She kneels. There is plenty of white in this panel.
—–The angel’s robes are white. His wings
—–are white. Her skin is pink; his skin
—–is white. The wrappings spilling from the tomb
—–are white. The sky above is blue and pink. And white.

the Ascension

—–does not draw her eyes; it is a confusion
—–of blue, gold haloes, red robes, a Christ
—–with a face the bruised peach of a martyr
—–a halo the shape and colour of Mary’s hair.

 

April 6 2015

When we got to the graveyard there were parrots in the trees:
their acrylic green chests swelling and glimmering
as they clattered to one another high, high above us.

Parrots are terribly noisy birds. They clamour
at rest and while flying, sounding like bad tap dancers
on wings, irregular, without rhythm, so loud

one thinks of wooden trays tumbling downstairs.
Their hyperreal beauty: green breasts and red heads and blue tails.
Their gold hard beaks. Their castanet cries.

 

April 7 2015: Why I love graveyards

It’s not the presence of the dead. No; in-
stead it’s the presence of the trees, these
living, carbon-breathing guardians of our lives.

They grow big here, roots creeping through the earth,
sneaking under stone, crooking graves and cracking them,
fingering the sleeping underground, incarnating them

in wood, in rings, in bark and boughs, in whispers on the wind,
bursts of colour, the red of flowers, the rust of leaves
which fall and rot and sod and feed and fall again.

The leaves feed the earth. The earth
clothes the dead. The dead
feed the trees. The trees

the dead
the earth
the leaves
are why I love graveyards.

 

NaPoWriMo 2015

So I’m trying it again.

On Blogworld, I’m working on a long piece on immigration, and planning a second on Junkanoo Carnival. I’m working on two long-term research projects and overseeing smaller student projects. My cousin Margot and I created an installation at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas based on our grandmother’s house. And every day this month, I’m supposed to be writing a poem.

Maybe I’ll let you know how it goes.

On That Island of Broken Penises

I follow Kei Miller’s blog. I saw this post pop up over on Facebook. It is something we must read and think about. The violence with which we live every day is endemic, is cultural, is inherited, and is fundamental to the way in which we see ourselves. The dancehall culture in Jamaica which engenders daggering is replicated in various ways around our region–Jamaica is a cultural engine in itself–but it is not always unpacked, not always understood, not always interrogated, most often not by those for whom it is part of survival. Here in the Bahamas we don’t deconstruct words like “jungless/junglist” and “ghetto” and understand that they are more than descriptions; here, the practice of “daggering” is similarly more than a dance. It is an enactment of something, something that may be beyond our collective comprehension but that at the same time re-enacts again and again our collective violent cultural subordination.

I got up in the middle of the night to write about Bahamian independence on Blogworld and will do so before I go back to sleep. But this post of Kei’s caught me and would not let me go. Read it, digest it, sleep on it. I did.

Under the Saltire Flag

Those apologists who make the spurious claim that it is always the violence of Caribbean society that spills over into the violence of dancehall music, and never the other way around, will not know about that curious time when Jamaica’s Kingston Public Hospital saw a sudden spike in cases of broken penises.

Note the x-ray is a comic exaggeration. Penises don't have bones. But 'Penile Fracture' is a bonafide condition. Note the x-ray is a comic exaggeration. Penises don’t have bones. But ‘Penile Fracture’ is a bonafide condition.

It was in the time of daggering – which is to say, not so long ago – and a friend was working as an anaesthesiologist at the hospital, applying icepack after icepack onto weeping men’s groins before wheeling them into surgery. But how did they get there? Well, in Jamaica’s Dancehall culture, Daggering was as bizarre as it was a perfectly natural culmination of what had always been a space in which an aggressive masculinity was affirmed and constantly performed…

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There is a new Year-long Artist-In-Residency Program in Toronto Canada…

watah school flyer inwards front page

The Watah Artists-In-Residencies (WAIRs) are year-long programs based in Toronto Canada, exploring the self, art, and community using The Sorplusi Method, facilitated by globally celebrated artist d’bi.young anitafrika. Each artist works diligently for the year, creating a unique work of art, catalyzed by their biographical experiences, supported by the womb of the Watah Residency.

Based in Toronto Canada, WAIR has 5 tributaries: BMI – Biomyth Monodrama Intensive, TAP – Transdisciplinary Artist Residency, PATI – Performing Arts Training Intensive, YAM – Youth Artist Mentorship and YEMOYA Intl Artist Residency (hosted globally for 3 weeks yearly).

The Watah School (womb arts and healing) is a w/holistic artist development institute, grounded in d’bi.young anitafrika’s Sorplusi Method, that cultivates and nurtures artists as healers, mentors, and keepers of the sacred. Watah is a conceptual and physical space where the potentialities of arts and healing flow into an ocean of the self with(in) community. Arts-education…

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Closed for business: Brazil 2014 and productivity

Well worth the read!!

Jamaica: Political Economy

Conventional wisdom has it that productivity declines during World Cup tournaments. Judging by what we usually see, with people looking to take time off work legitimately or without permission, for part- or all-day, we think that much less work gets done and what is done is likely to be half-hearted. However, a contrary view exists, which argues that interest in watching World Cup matches makes people more focused on the work they have to do, complete tasks faster to avoid missing matches, and avoid other distractions so that time is available to do what is necessary and also watch matches.

I am very sympathetic to that latter view, as it conforms with how I arrange my time. I work backwards from game time and make sure that the essentials are done and that I can rock back and get crazy in peace (that is an unintended oxymoron). It is…

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