NaPo April 19

Christ in Trinidad (2)

Up here, space and light. The ceiling’s tall enough
to harbour birds – live ones, not stuffed and posed
(but none are here, not now at least; perhaps it’s the lights
that drive them away, too dazzlebright against the white
of the walls) – and the doors are French and tall.
The ground floor is a maze; this upper room’s all space.
And on the walls, in colours that speak of earth,
walks Christ in Trinidad. The story’s deconstructed.
We know it all too well: birth, baptism, temptation,
calling, healing, stormstilling, triumphal entering,
passover, betrayal, mocking, passion, crucifixion,
resurrection, revelation. But the first painting
hangs the God. There’s nothing divine about it.
A thin brown man’s T-spread upon a power pole,
a poster at his feet advertises Bunji and dance-hall.
The second: thirteen men at dinner in an upper room.
Among them, the artist seated before a painting
(a painting in a painting) – a palm tree and a purple sea.
Thirteen at dinner. The place, the Rec. Club above the city.
Behind them, two windows that look out on roofs.
Coca-Cola’s behind the Christ; at the artist’s feet, a curled-up cur.
Turn around. Behind you, the temptation: Carnival devils
(blue, the bad kind, and three, an unholy trinity)
drag their chains and wave their forks at Port of Spain.
The thin brown man looks on. His rod’s a staff to comfort him
but his face is turned away.

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