These poems do not necessarily reflect my life or my feelings now or ever, but they must come from somewhere inside me. I hope you feel them and enjoy them, but I warn you, some are not for the faint of heart.
“Poetry is a window to the soul. My soul is the world outside a moving train of thought.” – Leno
Isles of the Last New Morn (originally published in The Nature Conservancy’s 2011 Report on Achievements)
As Nassau leaves her name behind
We shove off to the war
We know not when we shall return
What troubles are in store
What torments may best this ship,
What creeping death and dark
What sorrows may we see this time
We drift on heavy hearts
Now we arrive
Our hearts and eyes
Reach out toward the shore
Now with great cheer,
We see them there.
They all are as before.
Untouched by night,
The isles of the last new morn.
Love and Honor
Look around you.
Our brothers and sisters are hurting.
Visions of Love and Honor lost in plain sight.
Each and every one with a beautiful story to be told.
How do you see them?
Outsider? Unamerican? Unworthy?
Now is the time to find Love beyond tolerance, Honor beyond lawfulness.
Our choices create our communities, our future.
Reality is what we make it here and now.
Love and Honor. – 4:00 AM January 14th, 2017
Threats of Kindness
I just got to campus. There’s a tightness in my chest
I’m sitting at my desk,
reading about the bomb threats.
Considering this is one of the best
Schools in the region
but it’s the post election season
and everyone’s lost their reason
Lost their minds and making mindless
Threats of violence
In their blindness
They can’t see the opportunity for kindness
The chance to come together
politics is just weather
make the the social climate better
your leader don’t represent you? then forget her
Do you. I’mma do me.
For Leonardo and Alma the reasons that I breathe
For Nature and my country I pursue the PhD
For the God I believe in and for me.
This is where my heart is
This is where the science and the art is
This is where the start is
The place that I can do my part is
This is where my mind is
Follow through on threats of kindness
I am different now.
There is no way to hold the most improbable of God’s creatures without feeling such a connection. A hummingbirds eyes hold no guile no anger, just acceptance. They seem to know they cannot fight you. Or, rather, they cannot win. They don’t bite like the bullfinch, tearing at the hands of fate. They don’t scream and wail like the great lizard cuckoo haranguing their tormentors. They don’t cling to every tangible foot hold like the Bahama Oriole. Hummingbirds give up. They give in. Your misplaced finger may bend their beaks making them unable to feed. If they move in the gummy grip of a sweaty hand, their feathers may be lost. They sit and wait. Not like the wood pecker, who takes the first opportunity to nail your hand so you remember your folly or the mockingbird who flies free at the first chance. Hummingbirds give over to you their future it seems.
I held a hummingbird on Andros and I am different now.
There is no other sound at that time between twilight and true dawn. The owl has tucked herself in and the early bird is contemplating how early is early. The sea breeze is waiting to make the shift as temperatures balance out for a minute or two. It seems all the trees hold their breath. The birds are gathering their thoughts for the songs they will sing. But the something is about its business, a raspy sound, sand paper on a tooth. It’s kind of creepy at that hour in the morning to be honest. It’s singularly difficult to locate, when you have no idea what you are hearing. But when you hear it you need to know. What could be so disrespectful at such a delicate hour? What could be so important that there is no quarter given to the holiness of the silence? A snail’s hunger gives no quarter, it has no respect, it is the most important element in a snail’s life.
Somewhere in Eleuthera, I heard a snail eating. I am different now.
I did not ask for it, but I imagine I deserved it. Or perhaps the merits of my accomplishments did not matter. Perhaps, she being a shark and me being a lowly human with the barest modicum of grace in the water, this token of pity was what she deigned to give me. She in her grace as i floundered in the water snorkel out of my mouth. Me mouthing words to the photographer 20 feet away and miles from comprehension. She hearing every movement of my body. And she kissed me. Undeserved and unexpected, the feel of her scales on my lips. And that was it. No foreplay, no follow up.
I was kissed by a shark in the Exuma cays and I am different now.
The eyes are the window to the soul. Shining perhaps they light the dark corners or perhaps they let guilt climb in. Perhaps your soul can peer out across the world into the open window of another soul. Perhaps blinking shuts our soul off from the world. I gazed down the length of my arm and the harpoon. I pointed death into the eyes of the lionfish. But their pupils are shaped like tears. Constantly crying in the ocean. My spear, my sling, my arm, my heart, my sense of right and wrong, were pointed with the sureness of death at one of the most beautiful fish I have seen. Those eyes, those tears, told me the story of life. No guilt, no anger, acceptance.
I killed a lionfish while our eyes met. I am different now.
Under water sounds surround us: the rhythmic hushing of our own breath in and out, the trickle of bubbles over our ears as they rush to the surface in a playful gallop like children to recess. We hear the clicks and grunts of the fish and shrimp all around. We hypnotize ourselves with the rhythm of movement. Our legs stretch long to the ends of our fins and our bubbles stretch long to the roof of the underwater world. And our ears reach out to hear a distant boat engine, the tang of a dive tank. And our focus is on our work. Our hands reach out to the lobster that will become bait for a grouper trap. The research to protect our natural world. The silence of the sea holds us floating but firm. The lobster flexes his powerful body and his antennae point at us, the stiff arm technique that would protect him from a grouper or other predator. His legs struggle for purchase against the gloves that protect our hands. Our left hand joins the right and we commit to the deed. We break the lobster in two. He screams. The sound of a frightened Guinea pig. The tail is silent but thrashing. The head screams, for what seems like minutes at a time, but when it stops the silence is deafening. The silence chokes us. The apprehension pushes us to bait the trap, to leave the evidence, to swim away. The silence is broken by another scream and the time between has the sickly sweet reprieve of a crying child gasping for breath. Underwater you can hear lobsters scream.
I heard a lobster scream. I am different now.
I met Patchy in my first week as savior, the cleaner, feeder, protector of souls. I saw his wizened eyes. His longing for love. His confusion about the place he was in. His gentle acceptance of the distance from his family. His resignation to the fact that his right side would no longer hold his weight or obey his commands. His new home was eight feet long, the food was regular and the saviors would come to clean him daily when he soiled himself. I spoke to the veterinarian and started his rehabilitation. Daily I would walk him. I would carry his weight as much as he needed. He would lean on me as he tried to lift the leg that had abandoned him, to pee like he felt a grown dog should. I watched him fail. Time and again, but I watched him grow stronger. I watched Patchy heal. I watched him stagger and limp and eventually walk. I watched him become whole again and I called his family. I told them of his success, I told them he was ready. I told them he could go home. They told me the price was too high. They told me they could not pay. They would not pay. I walked patchy to the freezer room.
I gave him the needle. I watched him go to sleep. I am different now.
THE FOLLOWING POEMS ARE EMOTIONALLY DARKER AND GENERALLY UNPLEASANT. I am not going to tell you to stop reading, but do so at your own risk.
May your winning streak never start.
May you go through life with a broken heart.
May the hooks that hold on to your soul,
Never lose their grip, their jagged hold.
That worried look
Take that worried look off your face
It’ll all be over in the blinking of an eye
We’ve shared our lives, shared our futures
Now we’re sharing our demise.
The loss of love, the loss of kindness
No more reasons for our smiles
It’ll all be over in the blinking of an eye.
take that worried look off your face…
Because it doesn’t have to end.
We can work on finding smiles
We can do it all again
We can find forever
We can make this never end
We can trap ourselves in the loop that goes forever
If we just decide
Choose. In the blinking of an eye.
You took that worried look off your face
Its all over
To our fates we’ve now resigned
It’s all changed
Eyes and smiles
Curls and curves
Late night words
Late night walks
To something. Maybe.
Maybe less than love, but more than lust.
Less you, less me, but more us.
It seems death
Ain’t nothing but a tide away
And I’m already buried neck deep in sand.
It seems life
Has already done passed me by
And I’m already that much less of a man
But if you
That you’ll set me free
take my body, send my soul to the sky
I could promise you
That I’ll be true
Once I die.
I’ll stop living this lie
It seems Love
is just a little too deep for me
So i feel safer in these Pools of Lust
This is not what I expected.
To have my identity inspected.
My past and present dissected
Redacted then repackaged.
Reborn in your conformity
Sterile, Starched and Stuffed in uniformity.
For me, a personal fatality.
For you an exercise Normality.
Take my voice, my agency, again and again.
Call me black, mixed, african american?
You can’t conceive of having my identity left up to me.
To simply let me be me.
My choice of dress
The foods I eat.
My manner of speech.
The fact is you know noone on this planet.
And the way you manage to damage
Soul after soul With the weight of your labels
So tomorrow, amaze me.
Walk up and ask me who I am
Ask her ask him, ask them
Because I can tell you I don’t like your labels
But who I am doesn’t fit in a poem.
I am Earth
I am earth so put your ear to my body and hear me coming
Up from the depths of the oceans down from the mountains as hot gushing fountains set me free in the majesty of volcanoes that bring black snow.
Warmth instead of cold.
You can Feel me
And my energy
But every day earth movers try to move me.
Lumberjacks denude me
You do this
You steal from my veins to create your riches.
My gold my silver
I am raped to decorate you.
And you don’t even understand the gravity of the situation
I’ve mapped the plans to avalanche civilization
I can flatline every hillside you hide behind and just to see you try,
Ill chase you with a whole mountainside
You need to realize, i am frigging hard.
Follow the rivers, hide in the oceans
To me it’s a game.
You’re surrounded by underground rivers that carry my flames.
Hiding out on the roof.
Waiting for emergency rescue
to come and get you?
But you can’t fly forever,
Earth’s still gonna get you.
I gat you!
Sunshine, fresh air, cartoons and blossoms
You say you love me and i believe you.
Great to be back
It’s great to be back in the land of the sun sand and sea
coconut water fresh from the tree
Seagrapes, i love em purple and green
The beautiful hues leave my fingers stained with all of the juice
Food for the soul like a snorkel with the fishes
Or diving with the sharks that are tamed instead of vicious
And island hopping always amazes
Birds and flowers more colorful than a junkanoo parade is.
The only disappointment are you lot, the natives
How can you live in paradise and be so unappreciative?
If there’s rubbish in my hand I’ll find a bin you can trust me
But not you lot, you disgust me
Oh! Don’t get offended now. What you gonna do?
Hit me? With a jitney?
Speeding around downtown like their in the bleeding jetsons?
And kicking paying customers off to speed ahead for the next one?
Although they’re still stuck in traffic and cursing at the school kids
Who are walking in the street because the sidewalks haven’t been fixed.
Who now have more profanity than please and thank you in their toolkits.
It’s bleeding ridiculous
When cleaning your rims you can be so meticulous
But spell checking a government notice is frivolous?
Wish me dead
So wish me dead
I wish you everything you ever want and ever need
I wish you everything except enough.
Wish me dead.
I wish you find the idealized object of your affection every night
I wish you fall in love every day
In the worst way
I wish you perfection in every line, every step, every action every deed.
I wish your hearts bleed
And you yearn for each other
at every turn
I wish you burn for each other
I wish your souls resonate
Through the entire debate
on whether you should be intimate or just cuddle
So sweet, until you both fall asleep
Wrapped in those arms where no one could be harmed.
And at 5:30 AM I wish you violent explosive diarrhea
The kind the neighbors can hear
The kind that feels like an angry wet cat is fighting its way out of your rear.
The kind so putrid you can almost smell it with your ears.
That makes your eyes water
The kind like hot road killed skunk soup, but so much hotter
The kind that makes you pull the curtain off the shower.
That makes you scream louder and louder!
I wish you don’t wake up until 6,
To the sounds of your lost love’s, screaming, cursing retching exodus
From 6 to eight,
I wish you shame and hate
And a singularity
of recollective clarity
That returns every gory detail of this having happened so many times.
I wish you turn your mind back to that one time, you wished I died.
Then I wish you forget and another day of finding love.
You broke, financially, yes, but not literally.
Half and half
Privilege is being able to walk out of class
On the way telling the teacher to kiss your ass
Not your anus, but your ass entirely
Telling your employer Fuck you, fire me
Privilege is the expectation
that none of your actions
Reflect on any people culture or nation
That none of your choices between this that or other
are perceived to be caused simply by your skin color
Privilege is when each of your achievements
And successes paints a clearer picture of the best you.
Academic, Social and biological experiments test you,
But just you.
You are not a proxy for a people or vice versa
You ain’t da firs’ person from dat place dey eva hearda
And still considered anomalous to their manner of grammar.
When you do better than what they feel those people are thought to
The conversation isn’t those people are so blankety, blank, blank, blank…but not you.
Privilege splits the world in two
and measuring everyone else against you.
Privilege is being the norm, not the raisin in the rice ó la piedra en los frijoles.
Privilege is not having your identity dissected, knowing what being taken whole is
Privilege is thinking you are who the target of this poem is.
Why you angry?
I’m not just upset
I’m outraged at this contagion
That’s sweeping through our nation
Education to immigration
From the environmental sector to public health and safety
It’s like our country bent over and told the politicians
Tape my eyes shut tape my mouth closed
Lay me down to sleep spray malathion through my windows
Don’t let me see don’t let me speak up
While our cities are being gripped by poverty and violence.
I guess we could be convinced if we see you all smiling
On the parliamentary channel
But how much can we handle?
Which is the last straw because we’re people not camels.
Now this is what I don’t get
If you responsible for power, why the people gatta sweat?
If it was up to me,
You would be,
in the hot seat
Shutting off your power for what you owe to BEC.
Now Im the first to understand
That every woman and every man
Could ease up on the A/c and start using fans
But here’s another plan
Why we don’t change the channel
Install all public schools with a bunch of solar panels
We have Three hundred sixty days of sunlight
Girls and boys
The energy savings alone could keep the good teachers employed
And in the summer! Ain’t nobody there!
You would never have a school with power bills in arrears.
Plus they could see first hand the sense in conservation
A whole new group of sought after occupations
Solar and sustainable energy generation
Formal and academic education
Maybe a debt free nation
But we waiting for you.
You need to get a clue
Politicians stop bickering you know what you gatta do.
And I ain’t upset
I’m outraged at this contagion
That’s sweeping through our nation education to immigration
Let’s face it
Your policy is racist
they’re not just nameless faceless
Beings from other places
They came chasing hope and maybe that’s where there mistake is.
Because, Where’s the hope?
To you, education is a joke.
Public healthcare is getting choked
And mental health is at the end of the rope.
If you were born Bahamian, Kudos to you.
You lost your job to a Haitian? That’s something you chose to do.
One hundred twenty dollar shoes? That’s a great look.
Do you get paid for that? How about Facebook?
You can’t pull your weight but you showing off your muscle.
Spend your rent inside the club and claiming that you on the hustle?
When your fancy car’s rusted
And your toilet is a bucket
When you realize you was gutless
and you never was hard.
Look outside. Ain’t no more Haitians in the yard.
They were smart
They were working hard
While you were sitting on your backside and calling it an art.
You messed up
When you was more focused on getting fresh up
Than getting your grades up
I am angry
I am angry because equality ends at the borders of nations
Between Mexicans and Americans or Bahamians and Hatians
English as a first language and everybody Asian
This need for this dichotomy is lost to me
When every country is begging for equality
As soon as you hate or harm someone for whatever religious reason
From their perspective your gods become their demons
Tell your man you hate him
Tell him he’s a jerk
Tell him that you’re disappointed in his work and his net worth
Tell him that you told him that you love him but you lied
Tell him that you wish you had a man that could provide
Tell him that you’re sick of waiting
Tell him that he’s not successful
Tell him that because of him your life is so stressful
Tell him he’s not worthy of your marriage and you regret it
Tell him that marrying your ex would’ve been better
Thanks for bringing me in
Thanks for the welcome back
Thanks for the smile across the room
The happy eyes
It seems like forever and like I was never gone.
Share your freedom with me
Share your justice, your kindness
Share Your truth and your religion.
Give your freedom to me
Give me justice give me kindness
Give me truth give me religion
Make space in me for your freedom
Make space for your justice and your kindness
Make space for your truth and your religion
Take my freedom
Take away my justice and kindness
Take away my truth my religion.