Golden Shovel Borrowed From Derek Walcott and Gwendolyn Brooks
In that ragbag Calypso down in Trinidad
The braggadocio of the frontloaded word, bad,
For how good steel drums shaped for pan sound
With a Spock-like ear to the wok-burnt ground.
A manual, as yet unwritten, begs all who celebrate
To step, dip and throw hips from side to side,
Arms stretched for balance as if testifying, and breathe,
Oh sweaty body caught in rapture with nothing to hide.
But who will feed the hungry as they choke down weed
To suppress a hunger that cannot be assuaged?
I ask as I lift a gilded flask, throw back my head,
Swallow over-proof rum to add backbone to this page.
In the field beside the residence of the President
There’s a serious football match (soccer to you),
The boys in red take on the boys in blue in a recent
Signed peace. I send this from my I-pad, in a stew,
In a funk, for this is not the usual me; not the me,
Of me and you; but of anger, over hunger; of enemy,
Over enema; of no socks left to pull up, hangover;
In a blame game of Wikipedia fame; jilted lover.
One way up this cliff face, our feet steering us straight ahead,
Backs rigid, as if eyes looked out from behind our heads.
And one way down after a six-point turn, so high over water,
Its blue resembled sky under us, anchored by white yachts.
‘I got no lobster and no more crabs, buy me two beer.’
The price for nothing must be worth this something.
If only the two of us enjoyed it together for longer
Than it takes these burst clouds to sweep through.
A green coconut to slake our thirst and a spoon cut
From husk to scrape out the jelly later, and we’re back,
Facedown, in shallow water, looking for treasure
In a hidden cove, favored by pirates and now us.
On a clear day you see Trinidad, or cloud impersonating
Islands separated by sky and joined by water, or the reverse,
Or both, if both can be true, as I am to you and we are
To ourselves; us, twinned, as these two emerald isles.
Vulture in El Dorado
Of the mind
Of unruffled feathers
Of bird above bushy cloud in space flight
Of breeze flying me
Of my shadow racing under beside ahead behind and yes on top me
Of my beak fast asleep on a pillow filled with meat
Of nightmare vegetables dive-bombing me
Of the guy in Guyana and his Ana and me
Of the venison in Venezuela
Of the pepper in Cayenne
Of the felled feathers of trees floating down the Demerara and Essequibo
Of my hollow bones all ready to be a flute
Of my beak for the end of a spear
Of my claws stringed for a warrior-necklace
Of the gold pieces in my stomach that help breakdown my food
Of my high up lookout look down on this live theater-in-the-round
Of my wishes granted everyday to sniff out the dead uprights
Of my rocket-climb in my sleep up up up to greet my stop-time