New work


The following poem received first place in Room Magazine‘s 2015 Fiction and Poetry Contest. Read about this award here. 

Cut From Guyana Journals


Air strikes like police batons.

His handbag and knife,
lipstick, condoms were found
at the scene of the crime.

‘Hunker’, I tell myself. Stay. Live
like life here. Not many can fly
to other possibilities.’


refuse piles miles

along Guyana’s coast

seawall’s ribs shoeless feet


the South Atlantic churns
Styrofoam, plastic,
of crack pipes


cocaine runs to cardboard
chunks of street

Joseph’s stolen dream


we fly ladders into heavens
we cannot feel, summon

honey with skinny
bodies, promissory


look at the lashings in my eyes
they are the same as those
who fell from Wall Street

the woman who came
to holiday in a Benz
left in a later bag


true, my grandmother

her grandmother

years back

she told me


sick faith I surmise
at the root
countries, continents

scavenged by gods
of prey, paths
to life


from myths
of El Dorado


if I could put a stop to excess in this poem I would

but Starbroek News, Guyana Times, Kaiteur News, The Chronicle
are real, piled high upon my desk


I’m sick
of confessional

its army ant bites

the way the forest fogs
with sudden weeping


Bow’s Haunt was inspired by McKenzie’s longstanding interest in the fieldwork of American scholars Milman Parry and Albert Lord. She spent three months in Serbia studying the gusle and the oral literature that accompanies this instrument. Years back, Parry and his then student Albert Lord conducted extensive and groundbreaking research in this area, studying the epic traditions of Yugoslavian singers, in particular, Serbo-Croat singers. The culmination of this research was Lord’s seminal work The Singer of Tales (1960), influenced by Parry’s much earlier scholarship on Homeric verse. Parry and Lord produced a catalogue of characteristics that defined these Yugoslavian poems in order to understand how they had maintained themselves for so long. As Herbert Jordan explains in his introduction to his own translation of The Iliad, “[a]mong other conclusions, Parry and Lord found that the bards ‘performed’ their songs from memory, often having learned the material by listening to a senior artist. The same song was never sung twice exactly the same way, and, indeed, the bards improvised to a large extent, while remaining faithful to the essential core of the song.”








Earlier Work


Ditty for Death


Heads of Peasant Women in Brabant


The Pink Peach Tree (after Van Gogh)