Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Every day I grow a little more "old."
I become what "old" should be.
I fall into the dictate.

This is a choice
Perhaps even a concession
Perhaps a conviction.

The choice, concession, conviction
is freeing
It hides me away.

Me who had youthful lusts
Me who had ambitions
Me, I, who had hoped for love and fame.

I can escape now into old age
and succumb to contentment.

I was one who, as Hopkins states,
was marked when young
marked by death
marked for pain
And even in my youth I was never young.

That is what bothers me
I am to become old, having never been young.
I am to slump toward death, having never lived.

I was lovely once
But only for an instant.
I grew fat.
Loving eyes poured upon me once
But the wrong soul peered out at me.
I have felt joy some three or four times.
Mine has been an embattled life
And I fought valiantly, though badly.

Since youth
death and holiness were poured upon me
Against death, I fought.
For holiness, I fought.
When young.
But now...old age has come.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Wavering seas

You were always like that
Like fire and water.

They say the two do not mix.
But with you, they did.

Alternately passionate, burning everything before you
Then dousing it all, dousing us all
with waves of grief.

Your red hair too
curling around your face
like flaming waves
that the wind could not hold
like a fiery halo
surrounding a passionate angel's face

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Poem: Candlesticks

My mother-in-law gave these to me on the day I got married.
Along with a conch shell, and something else i don't remember.
They were made of bronze, she said.
Had been in the family for years.

I imagined those candlesticks in their ancient setting
An embroidered or lacy white tablecloth flowing over a large rectangular table 
and the table itself laden with food to feast on.
Turkey, ham, lamb on the like.

For, in my imagination, the mood had to be festal.
Bronze candlesticks were not for everyday usage.
Only holidays, marriages, births, would call them forth.

Of all her gifts on that day
I preferred the conch shell most.
Unlike the candlesticks, it did not speak of my husband's heritage
It did not call me to be what my mother-in-law wanted me to be.

It called me to nature
to the sea
Looking at the candlesticks, 
I held my ears  to the roaring within the shell
and listened.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Poetry: On inheriting my aunt's house in Jamaica

This was my aunt's
This house
These gardens
These mango trees
In this yard
she walked, cooked, raised hell.
It was in that room there
that she argued with a ghost deep into the night
when he came and stood by our bed.
In our family
only ancestral ghost were allowed.

This was my aunt's
these apartments
this tenement

And there, there,
was where she cooked the corn meal porridge
she tried to feed me.

She was fierce about this place.
Hers! Hers! Hers!
Even on her deathbed, 
she railed against giving it up
Against giving life up.
Although her life was nothing much then
Only ravings, and jealousies, and ownership, and greed.
No, i do not think i want this house.
Not its lime trees
its luscious mangoes
its gardens filled with hummingbirds and hibiscus.

Wouldn't she begrudge even the smallest mango i place on my lips?
Wouldn't her ghost continually roam it?
And i have neither the spirit nor the stamina
To argue long into the night with an angry ghost.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Poem: Looking at my novel "The Constant Tower" which few have read

With conviction, hope, and endurance, i crafted this
I spun it from my heart
yes, and from illness too
And all my hope was intricately woven within it.

That is the way it is with most art
whether book or painting, music or dance.
For time, times, time and a half, we pour out our souls.
And, finished, we set it adrift
(without money or power, we can do little else)
We imagine a favorable wind 
or some kind wave
or a groundswell will toss our making into the world's heart
Now, finished -- finished seven years now and writing newer stories--
I am tired and sick at heart at the praises my famous friends receive.
My teeth and jaws ache when I see 
their lists and posts of acclamation.
I am not as kindly or as saintly as I should be
The happiness of the famous and acknowledged
is too great a burden for my unwhole and petty heart to bear.

My dear sweet perfect little book
you who contain so much of my heart,
although my fame and wholeness rested on you.

I did love you for yourself
 --for you are a thing of Beauty, and all who have seen you have praised you--
I grieve for you continually.

Blog Archive

Popular Posts