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Musing in St Lucia…with a Bajan memory

July 21, 2011

By: Paula Obè

As I wash my feet in the ocean
the hills dry them with her shadow
perhaps the same one you cast
on my affections
right before I venture to put this love to bed

re-reading childhood storybooks
re-educating my desires
and didn’t sleeping beauty sleep for 100 years
before her prince arrived
5 years and counting
still stifled by loneliness
masking one night sweat-sheets
in remembrance of love
although there is nothing loving
about a stranger’s embrace
after an hour passes
no matter how much
I close my eyes and pretend

and when intimacy does call
in the form of a loving touch
a loving embrace
our governments wage wars
over flying fish boundary-lines
and your lover wages war
over this deepness we share
even though our lips have never tasted
each other’s kiss

Read more…

The Baptist War

July 18, 2011

By: Marc Morgan

Samuel Sharpe preached of equality
in men and his words lifted up slaves
judges considered chattel property.
He said “let us strike!” and the moral waves
swept across Jamaica. Freedom was rebel

music played at the Baptist deacon’s raves.
A peaceful protest began, and when work’s bell
rang, none went to sugar fields to dig graves
for future seeds of Africa to dwell
in pregnant labor for an elite’s sadistic

plan. The plantocracy profited jolly well
from wielding whips and cane sticks that could pick
backs bloody. Tongues were cut out but scars tell
of the generations of pain in graphic
detail. British newspapers spoke of a ban

on servitude, but the text did not stick
to polished mansion floors of Jamaican
plantation owners. The military with a click
of each musket put bullets in man, woman
and the strike. Some angry servants continued

to fight; estates were razed, and the heat evenly
tanned planters who watched as their fortune caves
in to the chants for equal rights. Eventually,
Samuel Sharpe emerged from hidden enclaves
and the Redcoats hung him; from a tree he fell
as an example to obey, or face barbaric

death. Hundreds were executed by the devil
hangmen until justice removed the demonic
beings. In the end, abolitionists won
(along with economics), and a new attitude
prevailed in the New World. Chains were undone,
and freed men were left to till Earth’s soil for food.

 

Marc Morgan was born and lives in Jamaica. He is an attorney by profession. He is also a web entrepreneur, founder of Caribbean Destination Website – Rum and Relaxation (http://www.rumandrelaxation.com) – and other internet ventures. He has always had a passion for writing. He first began writing poetry when he was 13. Most of the poetry he has written to date has been really for private consumption, but he is opening up and intends to share some of pieces with the rest of the world.

Raza

July 16, 2011

By: Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro

When I was eight years old
I was already astute
a smart worm
a perceptive cactus
who knew at that point
that during school recess
in order to prevent
my classmates’ jokes about my hair
my skin color
mis bembas grandes
big lips
big hips
I must get into the bathroom
to hide
or to picnic there
to write novels
to talk to my imaginary friends
there were many
legions
to laugh
to recite poems
to practice what I was taught in class
to review the math test
to fancy the teacher
and imagine she was my girlfriend
to conclude my science project
to inhale the albuterol medicine
for my asthma attacks
to cough
to practice an invisible kiss
waiting for it to happen
I learned to see my world
stuck in that bathroom
of Colegio San Vicente Ferrer
spent many years making this place my den
my cave
my hideaway

I also knew
that once sat in class
if Mrs. Guzmán mentioned the word “Africa”
while teaching Social Studies
I was supposed to wear a stoic mask
pretend it did not happen
assume an I do not care attitude
thereby obviate the long awaited reaction
of José Manuel or Eliseo
or anyone else who joined in the harassment
there was always the cry proclaiming funny
Yolanda, you are African!
you are so black
so ugly black
so bembetrueno
big lips thunder
big hip hurricane
while the teacher tried to scold the commotion
(silent children
show respect for others
remember that God punishes without rod and no whip)
to implement bullying policies
that have not yet been invented
in 1978

Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro (1970, Puerto Rico) is the author of Caparazones (2010), the first lesbian fiction novel written in Puerto Rico, published by Editorial Egales in Spain.  She won the National Institute of Puerto Rican Literature Prize in 2008, the Woman Latino Writer Award Residency from The National Hispanic Culture Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2011 and the PEN Club Prize on 2010 and 2006. Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro is the Director of Puerto Rican writers participating in the Second Puerto Rican Word Festival in Old San Juan and New York on 2011.

Not a love poem

July 14, 2011

By: soyluv

This is what it’s not about.
This is not about the way
you trudge out of bed at ungodly hours
life-infused Frankenstein, too tall;
arms and legs like Tolkien’s Ents,
lumbering to the bathroom where you always remember
to put the seat back down. This is not about
how you said you could wine (but didn’t)
and you learnt about J’ouvert, third-eye aflutter
so you saw beneath my paint and mud.

This is not about
how you said you weren’t a smoker, but really
really you are one–
and when you told me how your mother died
lips tasting like cheap cigars and ‘dro–
how when you curled your mouth
around the sadness, I felt sad too
but I didn’t want you to think I was pitying you.

This is not about
your head beneath my fingertips
pecan skin
or your big-big feet
or your big-big hands
how they wrap around my own
your body enveloping mine,
all fetal reabsorption-like
or a giant burrito, warm and delicious
making me feel tiny, which I almost never do these days.

This is not about
how I wouldn’t mind if you loved me
if you wanted to go down that road again
even for a moment
barefoot, to feel the dust and fresh
dirt between your toes. I’d carry you if I could
me, my bad back, my heart an open birth canal
oozing, thumping, waiting for a bloody head to crown.

Sweety Locs

May 20, 2011

By: Regina Hall

No, not Goldilocks
As in the fairytale
This is a tell all fantasy
so pardon me as I
crown you as sweety, no, Sexy Locs
Make me stop
To catch my breath
And drop my jaw
But don’t need three beds
or three chairs
Just you
Well maybe a cabin in the woods
Or a bed of tropical sand
Yes you
Sweet brown sugar
Toasted ginger root
My luscious tamarind ball
No story book at all
Nor am I lost in any forest
Shade of toffee
like sugar cane
Roasted after harvest
Those bears can keep their porridge.

Bush Tea

May 5, 2011

By: Regina Hall

Watching the steam rise up out of that
Old cast iron pot
Reminds me of how my body gets hot
Anytime I’m in your presence
Come on with the medicine, come with it
Say water got to boil a little while longer
Although I’m sick gives me more time
To rest and gaze at ya
Dark strong something like a miracle man
Sexy fine with your magic herbs in your hand
Sprinkle, dash, I even love the way that you stand
Come heal me with the green of the motherland
Sweet exotic Black African man
No one else can brew it the way you can
Gently sifting the roots in the midst
Reminding me of the way that we kiss
Deep in the warm purple night
Picked from Eden under a starry sky
Temperature got to be just right
Almost done now you’re adding honey
Saving a little for the latter to drip on my tummy
Give me the best healing as can be
I need and want to drink your antidote
Of special bush tea

Stuck

February 3, 2011

By: Linette Marie Allen

I refuse
to use the words
West
         Indies
to describe
the Caribbean
last time
I checked
Jamaica was not
part of western India
Christopher
got lost
and ever since
his label’s been stuck
to the roofs
           of our mouths
like sweet potato
pudding.

 

Linette Marie Allen is an author, poet, activist, and inspired-entrepreneur. Founder and director of DreamZu, a personal development consultancy based in Washington, DC, Linette frequently lectures on the economics of imagination and is a regular contributor to EzineArticles and print publications. She holds a master’s degree in organizational and social psychology from the London School of Economics. Her new book, Operating in the Dream Zone: How to Kick Your Dreams to the Sky and Thrive in Any Economy, is now available in US and UK Kindle Stores.

To learn more, please visit: http://alanwking.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/how-linette-got-her-scream-back/