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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/

Lucians at JFK International

January 31, 2011

By: Natalie d’Auvergne

Boy, I tell you,
in my day,
fruits used to be free
as long as you could climb a tree.
I climb for breadfruit, mangoes, plums.
And them tall tall coconut trees,
you see by de beach?
Well, lemme tell you, boy,
I climb them tings like water.

Them times
I was a lil’ boy,
short like dat suitcase deh.

You tink is joke?

If I caah climb a tree an pick a breadfruit
I might as well tell my mother
she caah cook, and das ting I never do,
I mad man? You know how much
licks my mother would give me?

Read more…

Nappy Natured

January 31, 2011

By: Natalie d’Auvergne

Yes, I think I would be perfect
for your institution
I have great people skills
and a genuine interest in helping.

What?!

No, I won’t consider
straightening my hair.
To be honest, my mother
relaxed the kink out of it
when I was only nine,
she couldn’t manage
My father’s “ole hair,” as she called it.
I cut it all off when I was sixteen
and what you see now is me
the way God intended.
Just looking at me you won’t believe
that my great grandmother was a Carib,
with black, straight hair down her back
and my great grandfather was a white man
from France, and my grandmother
has hair like a horse.
Is just that the women in my family
love their black men.
My mother, though she look like a Latina
loves their dark skin too.
So, when you say you won’t hire me,
because my hair is nappy like chicken scratch,
that it clings to my scalp
like great coarse o’s of wool,
that cornrows, plaits or corkscrews
look too much like a Zulu,
which leads you to believe that
the clients won’t feel comfortable
trusting me with their money.
Well I have to ask…
Why won’t they trust someone
who looks just like they do?

 

 Natalie d’Auvergne is from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. She holds a BA in English from Southern University and is currently pursuing Dual Master’s degrees in Literary Studies and Creative Writing at Chapman University in Orange, California. She is a writer of fiction and poetry. Read her interviews and book reviews at Chapman University’s Tabula Poetica website http://www.chapman.edu/poetry/ and subscribe to her literary blog at http://aphroditeares.wordpress.com/

Peter Parker Contemplates the Election Results

January 30, 2011

     after Nov. 2, 2010

By: Alan King

Here, the weather’s never
what it says it is. And shine
as she might, the presence

of MJ tonight won’t combat
the absence of something else.

Even now, while wishing Uncle Ben
were here to explain what happened,
a rogue gallery of adversaries

has overtaken the House.
Even Captain America’s delusional

about what this means. My country
will never be what she says she is.
Where do I seek comfort now

when even Spider Man seems
outmatched by what’s already airborne

and cackling, as if it wore an overlapping
tunic, cape and hooded garment?
The thing that keeps Web Head

on edge, what sets off alarms in darker skin
that goes off like Spidey Senses.

March 1, 2010

By: Lesley-Ann Brown

Today
I saw
Toussaint L’Ouverture
on
the train

He sipped
cider
& spoke French

His face
Sun
amongst
Snow.

He spoke
to ghosts
and spilled
liquor
for the
ancestors

He
broke
Out
finally
in English,

“I am
a Big
Man
in My
Country.

“In my
country
I have a
mercedes
benz…

“In my
country
they
cannot
even
put
me
in Jail…

then he looked
at me
squarely
and
said,
you do not
belong
here…

“I do not
belong here…

to all
others
you fit
the bill,
but to me
Toussaint,
I see
you &
the way
you cup
your dreams
in your hand
like a
hummingbird
its wings

broken &

“problem is
Toussaint
is
they
don’t
know
who
You
Are.

Even
though
I
do.

For Caribbean Girls Who Lost Their Accents: Poem #3

December 31, 2009

By: Lesley-Ann Brown

She is gone now.

The sight of flour on skin,
age spots form an
archipelago
across her
arms.

a clutter
of dusty
pictures and
rosaries
under her bed.

Life, you’d sometimes think, hadn’t been that good to you.

Girdles that
squeezed
your fibroid
infested womb—
An old hallowed out home to five
Barricaded
Against
Life…

Read more…

Slight pepper

December 24, 2009

By: soyluv

One of those classic
Trinidadian oxymorons.
Slight pepper
like saying, cut
me please. But not too deep,
just so it hurts, just enough.
A trickle of blood
will do. Take care,
don’t sever any major arteries.
Just a drop or two, to burn
and singe one’s tastebuds.

Slight pepper–
a term that is also the earmark
of a Trini who has been away
too long, they say. Now estranged
from country and culture,
culinarily speaking that is.
Buh like yuh cyah handle
de heat or wha?

Not true I say.
I scream,
I have never
liked pepper anyway.

A scotch bonnet
simmers slow
gliding adrift
in a pot. I watch it swell
and steam and sweat.

Don’t you burst now,
don’t you burst.

 

soyluv is Soyini Ayanna. She is a graduate of Barry University and the Stonecoast MFA program—where pen tuh paper was started, as a student. She reads (way) more than she writes and sometimes thinks way too much, consumed with unraveling the mysteries of people and the universe (fuh real). She has work on racialicious, in The Caribbean Writer, Black Renaissance Noire, tongues of the ocean and in The Guidebook.