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.

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