To Poetry, from Caribbean Poets – World Poetry Day 2015

 

World Poetry Day was adopted as 21 March by UNESCO in 1999. It is an invitation to reflect on the power of language and the full development of each person’s creative abilities.

 

Do enjoy these choice pieces by gifted poets from Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica.

 

To Poetry…

 

I WILL WAIT

i wanted to tell u how u took my breath away,

i feared what people would think of me

rushing to you on a wave of suitors

at your door like salesmen

peddling their muscles and accomplishments

the desert is only great because it waited for the wind to tire the solid boast of rocks

and the false stance of mountains that mock clouds

but do not themselves know how to move with the tide that changes

the day screams and so hears nothing of itself

we play a game in the sunlight and are lost to the truth of it all

but the night silents its tongue to listen,

one dares not scream in the night without good reason

but the day is yelled at beause she is brazen

and lays her goods out on the pavement of our eyelids

i will wait with the night and the moon

with the patience of an orchid unfolding

my love growing, my heart a cocoon

i will wait like water seeping down into  rock

i will wait like the word a root tip longs to whisper to the core of this dust

i will wait like sour fruit turning sweet in due season

i will wait unborn in the belly of my becoming

and when your day is gone,

Muhammad Muwakil (Freetown Collective) – Trinidad & Tobago

 

 TELEMACHY

 

he is now nine

but feels like a teenager, his

mother calls

to tell me, since the first day he travelled

on his own to school and back

 

he is a chimera

of us – his mother’s flair for the

serpentine

my goatishness, and a

boldness his own

to which we both lay false claim

 

he is now the man

within his mother’s house

ever stoic, ever enduring the

staggered line

of suitors, yearning for his

mother’s heart

 

 

he is my own son

most on those nights with me,

after dinner, when he,

silent, stares at his netbook’s

screen,

mirroring me –

he working his work, i mine.

-Ruel Johnson – Guyana 

 

 

EVERYWHERE IS WHITE

There’s that smile

There goes that laugh

So many new age expressions

The theater is filled tonight

They’re showing old movies

With Charles Bronson and Vivien Leigh

How the black man found hope in white film

How Gil found hope in white powder

Among other things

I look inside myself and saw someone else

I was thinking maybe

I might have the courage to tell you I’m sometimes weak

Weak for the kind of women I should not love

The kind of love I should desire

And the truth still evades this confession

Prostitutes just taste better

I heard the new guy say

But what does he know

With all his heirs and whatnot

Scarfs and expensive sandals

Pocket watches and shiny flasks

Cigarette cases and engraved pens

A collection of time and places

Keegan Maharaj (Freetown Collective) -Trinidad & Tobago

 

 

 

She writhed

In the embrace of all that she knew

Love, expectations, norms, reason

Like four walls

Restraining her desire to just be

 

But, the free leaf

Is imprisoned by the will of the wind

Lost in the absurdity of its whim

 

She shook off

The shackles of self doubt

And her passions gave life

To her ungoverned existence

Where heart is law

 

But, the free leaf

Is imprisoned by the will of the wind

Its choice is manned by the vagary of its temper

 

She danced

In the new found joy of her whimsy

Cloth in recklessness

And pleasure, her sweet wine,

Wild with all that took her fancy

 

But, the free leaf

Is imprisoned by the will of the wind

Banished from the life source by the force of its caprice

 

She stumbled

Her gait weakened

Her thirst to stop and savour

Denied by life’s burning to keep spinning

She crashed, she burned, she was swept up

 

The free leaf

Is imprisoned by the will of the wind

Wearing shackles around it like wings

 

She let go

And gave in to wherever life took her

Resigned to embracing

The precariousness of her existence

Determined to live, till she died

 

The free leaf

Is unshackled by the dying of the wind

And lies muddied, broken, subdued and spent…
-Lloyda Nicholas – Guyana 

 

 MyGration

Butterflies
in my belly
become bats at dusk,
Vacating the cavity with intent,
To feast on the insect of my longing,
My heart slows to the pace
Of a rhythm-less blue, beating itself,
Loneliness offers unwelcome tendrils,
I shudder at your flight, Terminal B, 8:00pm
Then, swallowing the mountain of my confessional,
I pace the valley, coughing poems and blood,
Lamenting
That only the space you have left knows,
That I love you more
than words spoken
Can ever endure.

Muhammad Muwakil (Freetown Collective) – Trinidad & Tobago

 

 

Once Upon a Daydream

 

I waited for you all night, on this night

there was nobody left on the dry streets of our journey

Not even me, I was long gone before I knew you had left me

Where is the rain when you need it?

It’s so hot here, the man outside is not me

I’m deep inside my own dusty memories

The gossip echoes and turns into a new sound of praise

and we look on as middle school children toss in their beds filled with hope and restlessness,

there is sex happening maybe in the other room, and if not that, then someone must be dying from being choked lightly.

I know sounds of nakedness when I hear it, even when I think it, I hear it.

Not to be too vulgar, but I sleep naked, even when I dream, it’s so bare, I remember nothing.

There are women everywhere, taking turns in learning how to love me,

It will take one to get to know me, one to understand me, one to stop me and one to break me.

Because the hardest creature for man to love is himself.

I have no neighbours where I live, the hills I’ve climbed was to get away from love.

It hurts to love, it will always hurt to love.

There is no pain in being alone if you’re alone.

The birds have stopped visiting me in my cage,

they know I have no place for house-guests,

no storage for freedom,

no entertainment for people sitting on my unused sofa, covered in soft linen given as a gift by a lover I once knew.

It’s so glaring,

I have removed my place of reflection, from all the walls in this grand box,

and now, only my hands tells me how old I am.

I miss my family and I wonder if I will ever see them again.

 -Keegan Maharaj (Freetown Collective) – Trinidad & Tobago

 

 

COUNTRY MEND

These tears beg you to see what we see

Standing in the midst of dry land

Seeking refuge in a palace that you have built with my blood

Sweat and tears were not all you took

As these hands toil nailless

 

All eaten because hunger is across the land

Made up faces are like made up minds

False happiness and false hope

written on a cheque checked by a fan set on high

 

High bills like high winds come blowing

As i keep blowing high trees all knowing

That these winds are blowing my thoughts

And knowing this last puff will blow in

My face now showing the same high bill

Im high!

this high is not lowering…

 

These highs are lowering my existence

A zero! No expectations of the silver lining

I’m caught whining in the midst of the gathered tired

 

Sick of dreaming and singing that “we shall overcome” crap

It never ends, as false hope and false life fills the air

The scent of self permeates the fabric of the village

More spillage of priceless blood that soaks the new foundation

 

Another soul on the wall

Calling! Screaming to a dressed up puppet with painted ears

An illusion of a listener, beckoning to a brush to stroke an ego

Seeking a hero that’s looking for me

Thinking the same “can you set me free?”

 

If we’re told we’re all zeros then how can we believe a hero when he appears

No longer aware of the price sold to him

But baptized in the real value of his worth

A real hero!

 

Speaking languages we only dreamed for our untouchable selves

Representative of everything we wanted to be until we bought his blood from the mall

a mere picture hanging on the face of the wall

we’ve wed the ideas that’s stuck in his head the ideas of a man that’s dead

no zeal to wield the wheels of change because we came up short

 

Mr. King give our deaf ears a ring

lift us from the melodrama episode that’s called Obama

cause we thought that we made it there! But that was just the beginning

The struggle continues in the midday sun

Where the lines are long and justice is undone

While we sing war songs of another nation

Our discrimination is one to one

No people, no nation, no destiny in between

Just bandits, killers and politicians for the green

 

You’re killing our heroes, feeding us woes of yesteryear that were never there

Rampant colors and escapades that you’ve deemed necessary

Division is key to this monstrosity you call democracy

Stop building the stage for mayhem

You keep giving us reason to condemn

 

Our heroes of old will speak through the ground

No whispers, but a SHOUT for that ill gotten crown

We the people bleed for you to see

Where diplomacy has failed

We’ll brandish new weaponry

Yaphet Jackman – Guyana 

 

 

TRIANGLES…

 

Caution…

This is gonna be deep…

 

 

 

First,

 

I love you like a man who knows he’s gonna die at the end of this conversation.

 

A temporary burst of inspiration, determination, fear… life… love…

 

Just enough for me to put pressure on the bloody knee that you left splintered; so I can regain height

 

Just enough to chuck you a bit further into….

 

Further away from…

 

this destiny.

 

Just enough to make you scream something at me that then is just enough

 

to make me violently chuck you once more, into the wall that you have been trying to ignore for

 

the amount of time it took us to find ourselves here in the first place.

 

 

 

Second,

 

I’m angry but not enough to hate you.

 

Just enough to—

 

to slam my right fist into the concrete, impact beside your faith–

 

I mean face

 

It was not to hurt you, just to scare you enough so that when you think you don’t know

 

what’s left of me can be enough for

 

my left to caress your face,

 

 

 

and then I whisper…

 

 

 

Love me more.

 

 

 

Not too much.

 

Just enough to hit a home run.

 

 

 

Third,

 

You swing like a man with child bearing pain as I pitch to you my vulnerability,

 

And you hit me, not hard enough to kill me—

 

Just enough to move internal organs that shouldn’t be neighbours into a one bedroom apartment on the narrow street behind the Rum shop

 

Just enough…

 

Just enough for me to miraculously shove you again, away from… closer to… in to…

 

First

 

Second

 

Third.

 

1…2…3…

 

Triangles…

 

Caution, this is gonna be deep.

 

But Depth is the Death that I ask for…

 

Love means nothing without it.

-Andrew King (Drewthoven) – Guyana 

 

 

PART THREE

 You appeared in my dreams too often,

A stranger.

Before I could put a face to your name,

Before your name knew the inside of my mouth,

Before time said, ‘Okay. Enough.‘

You, were a prayer in my mind,

Over and over.

That shadow of a doubt that followed every relationship

That nagging voice insisting, ‘he is not the one’, and

he was not my friend,

and how unfair,

That there are people in the world that can recite a million things about you

When I‘ve been waiting to meet you for the better part of my life.

And when finally you came,

You didn’t stay

Because it wasn’t you, but your voices sounded the same, and I was blind,

and forgive me baby,

but seeing is difficult when all your other senses get in the way.

And isn’t it crazy,

That conversations hang like corpses in the closets of ex-lovers we are still trying to forget?

Lovers that keep secrets of night and dawn folded under their tongues,

Who can probably describe to me in great detail exactly what you tasted like,

That night.

In the park.

Three years ago.

When I lay in bed less than a hundred miles away,

After my third breakup

With the same boyfriend.

And isn’t it funny,

That even fate has a sense of humor

It takes experience,

To rip the wool from over our eyes

And after we have given,

So much of ourselves freely to strangers we have met along the way

I can only hope,

That when time

Finally clears a path from where I am, to where you are

There will be enough of us left over,

To still be able to call it home.

-Dreylan Johnson – Guyana 

 

 

If you’ve made it to the bottom… we thank you.  Here’s just a bit of input from me, about the role and the woes of writers…

 

A WORLD OF THEIR OWN

A writer paints his words like freehand art

and wonders not from whence his muse appeared.

The canvas touched is now his heart you share,

a feast of truth that fills the hungry soul.

 

But troubled thoughts compose the mind of him

who dares to play with words and prose at will.

For he who masters such a worthy skill

is wrought by charm from mysteries untold.

 

A writer’s tale is one that writes his life

into a rulebook  read by thirsty minds.

The mob feeds on the artist’s sculpted lines

that seek to evoke theories strange and bold.

 

But lonely days lead those who write their lives,

for no man knows the burden that they bear:

a writer’s heart is often times ensnared

by nightmares past and dreams of lovers old.

Jasmaine Payne 

 

Jaz

Writing is my life. That is all the bio there is.