Poetry

New work

 

The Half-Life of a Lapsed Ex-Fisher, first published in World Literature Today


 
i

He once sold a portion of himself to a fish
packing plant, slipped in the crates
of the headless and dressed when all
eyes were bludgeoned. Cloudy.

Between the jagged tooth of dogfish
he placed the holy gift of tongues, crescent
moons from whoring acts.

He wished to sail to Denmark or Japan,
swear with sailors there.

ii

Righteous in ghettos he cast
anchors deep in wet
sidewalks.

Fish twisted like humans, reeked
of truth on the ground. Some fell
on their knees in frozen fish
sections, cast nets to catch
loonies or bills.

He tossed coins in the hold of a bus,
snarled “float me the hell outa here.”

His eyes cut steaks out of them.

 

Above the Blue Mountains, first published in Caribbean Quarterly


 
Roads hewn by machetes, it seems; sharp
scythes drop to families below. Huts jut
over precipice, lush greens of Jamaica.

The coffee pickers who work for a pittance,
each bean chosen like a rosary bead
to sum up some strange penance. Yes,
these are the days of Independence,
Jamaica’s 50th (and Emancipation Day
right around the corner).

From Papine through Gordon Town, Irish Town,
you’ll come to Redlight, haunted by old soldiers
who sewed seeds in young girls. Up to Holywell
where you might wander the tourist trail. Back
down and make a decision. Go to Starlite Motel,
the road to Port Antonio another day’s hymn.

If ever you go into the Blue Mountains to pray
take dirt roads to centers. Remove the soul
that wants to hover along roadsides,
presence of others.

Backdrops of mountains protrude ribs
like those of Calvin Klein’s inspired
by mountain men.

Remember what has led you here.
The churches of Kingston caught
in the language of streets. Strange faith
despite minimum wage ($186 J
per hour).

Remember. You’ve been told you can
go higher than Blue Mountain
Peak.

 

Earlier Work

 

Ditty for Death

 

Heads of Peasant Women in Brabant

 

The Pink Peach Tree (after Van Gogh)