Category Archives: poetry/prose

2 Faces or 1

opal87The poem asks who is this child woman and where has she gone? Does her poems still grow in sun-flowers? Does she still dance in the rain?  How has she faced the disappointments and with whom does she celebrate the successes?

opal2016The poems asks who is this other woman?  Where did she come from and why does she have the eyes of the woman above? Are her poems still soaked in dreams submerged in molasses? Does she still hide among the tall grasses and interpret the shapes of clouds?
Are her songs still melodious and do birds sing her awake?

The poem really wants to know who are these faces and where do their truths intersect?

If poetry is the only truth and life is a lie where flows the water of our legacy?

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Tribute to Jamaican-American author, Michelle Cliff (11/2/1946-6/12/ 2016

mcliff copy 

Color ain’t no faucet

You can’t turn it off and on

I say, color ain’t no faucet

You can’t turn it off and on

Tell the world who you are

Or you might as well be gone

(Excerpt from Within the Veil) by Michelle Cliff 

Michelle Cliff’s Abeng came out in 1984. Browsing a book store in Berkeley, I saw the title and wanted to know who was this person writing about my Jamaican culture. The Abeng horn was connected to freedom and liberation in Jamaica, especially among the Maroons. It announced, called the people to action and was a signal to unite and fight the enemy. I bought and devoured Cliff’s first novel, in the bildungsroma genre, and could well empathize  with the young Clare Savage, the protagonist of that novel that is set in colonial Jamaica. I wanted to meet this Michelle Cliff.

When my short story collection, Bake-Face and Other Guava Stories, was being published I asked my publisher to reach out to Cliff for a blurb, and she very generously wrote:

“I greet this collection of writing by Opal Palmer Adisa with enthusiam and joy, and a touch of awe…Adisa’s stories chart the experience of island-women with a deep understanding and compassion, and a true sense of their terror and pride, the ghosts that dog their tracks…Adisa makes Jamaica and her women live for us as few before her have done.” Michelle Cliff

I was blown away by this endorsement as we had not yet met or had contact, but I was determined that this would happen.

I sought out Cliff, and we became friends, especially after she moved to California in 1999, where I had been living. Cliff always encouraged and supported me and my work. When I was working on my doctorate on Caribbean Women Writers at UC Berkeley in 1987, Cliff was one of the first writers I interviewed, and after I completed my degree an excerpt of the interview was published

Journey into Speech-A Writer between Two Worlds: An Interview with …

https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/10.2307/3041999.pdf Among the subjects Jamaican born writer Michelle Cliff ex- … The following text is based on two separate interviews: one … 01994 Opal Palmer Adisa .

The Michelle Cliff I knew was shy and soft spoken, a gentle soul, who wanted to lead a very private life, despite being the partner of the very famous and late poet, Adrienne Rich. Although she felt estranged from Jamaica, and refused to return because of Jamaica’s homophobia and violence, Cliff was nonetheless deeply in love with Jamaica and researched its culture which is the setting of both Abeng and No Telephone to Heaven, her first two novels.These works, like her other works explore the very thorny issue of race and class in identity formation, and the impacts and residual effects of post-colonialism.

I spoke with Michelle Cliff about a month ago. She said she was not feeling or doing well, but thanked me for the call, and like always asked about my children. I promised that I would visit with her in the fall when I will be in California, and perhaps do another interview, a continuation of the first. Michelle Cliff’s works are important contributions to the Caribbean canon, and her death will leave a void. Her poetry/prose collection, Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise, 1980 is an important work that I have taught, along with her other novels.

I hope you are rocking in the arms of peace and the cool breeze from the Blue Mountains, our island home, enfolds. Be well my sister in letters and friendship –Michelle Cliff, you will not be forgotten.

Michelle Cliff is the author of the following books:

  • 1998:The Store of a Million Items (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company). Short stories
  • 1993:Free Enterprise: A Novel of Mary Ellen Pleasant (New York: Dutton). Novel
  • 1990:Bodies of Water (New York: Dutton). Short stories
  • 1987:No Telephone to Heaven (New York: Dutton). Novel (sequel to Abeng)
  • 1985:Abeng (New York: Penguin). Novel

Prose poetrymcliff2 copy

  • 1985:The Land of Look Behind and Claiming (Firebrand Books).
  • 1980:Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise (Persephone Press).

 

 

 

Purple Rain: Inspiring Poetry in Youth

Summer of 1984, a girlfriend who was a long-standing, avid Prince fan invited me to see Purple Rain with her. Up until then, I had been on the fence about Prince, but Purple Rain made me a believer. I cannot express the electrifying transformation.  However, the movie and its theme song captured me with its lush purple majesty. I heard the song in my sleep, and the following Monday I went and purchased the album.

I had just been contracted by two  schools in Oakland, deemed challenging, and located in the flat-lands (another term for ghetto/underfunded marginalized) to do poetry work shops, with 8th graders who were failing.  I had convinced the head of this program that I could get students reading and writing through poetry, working with these students twice weekly for ten lessons, under the umbrella of California Poets in the Schools.  I was motivated.  I was determined.

The Tuesday after seeing the movie, I brought in the sound track of Purple Rain and the class went wild. We had one of the most engaging discussions we had ever had, and several of the boys who had not written any poems before, (only turning in blank sheets with their names as I had insisted every time, every student had to turn in something) actually wrote poems about what they taught Purple Rain was. The last 10 minutes of the class when I asked for volunteers to read their poems, almost every hand shot up, and we went over the class period. I was elated.

I wish I could put my hands on the class anthologies I produced that year with those two classes, but they are in storage somewhere. I was as proud of those students as they were of themselves, as were their teacher and the school. They all dug deep and wrote some amazing poems. I used Purple Rain for many years, but it was that album, and that moment, that made me incorporate playing music and discussing lyrics into teaching young people to write poetry, and I still do, even with college students.

Purple Rain expanded my pedagogical practice.  To be effective at teaching, you have to meet students where they are before you can take them somewhere else. You have to know their language, what turns them on, who they are being and who they are afraid of being. You have to delve into the mystery of Purple Rain and see what you make of its meaning, just like they are trying to fashion meaning out of their life.

Prince, thanks for helping to make me a more effective teacher, and for providing a space for students to hear, translate and share their voices.

purple rain, purple rain

i find you in the wetness

of this magical purple rain…search

 

Jump and Make It Happen

You dream must be bigger than your fears.

Your reason must exceed your own limited world.

Do support: Ay-Ay: Junior Caribbean WriterPrint

My beloved California College of the Arts mentor, Opal Palmer Adisa, is creating a magazine for kids in her home of Jamaica. Even though she has made a full life as a writer and academic in the Bay Area and around the world, she constantly finds ways to give back to her home, her place of origin. She is a true inspiration! If you have any amount of money to donate, I assure you, it will be put to good use. Before I traveled anywhere beyond South East Texas or South West Louisiana, I traveled the world through books and stories. Putting a book in the hand of a kid gives them a key to the world. This is your chance to help make that happen.

Growing the Next Generation of Caribbean Writers and Improving Literacy | Crowdfunding is a democratic way to support the fundraising needs of your community. Make a contribution today!
INDIEGOGO

Thar She Blows: Nancy Anne Miller’s Star Map

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OPA: Nancy, in this your 5th collection of poetry, do you notice any changes in your poetic, and if so in what ways?

AM: This particular collection is one written over a period of decades, poems I’ve been writing while living in Northwestern CT as a response to the seasons, thus there is a variance in voice and tone.

The earlier work is more about capturing an image, exploring it without a narrative. The poem “Sticky” is a good example of that. Of late, my work is more voice driven. I unpack the image metaphors more and incorporate them in a going narrative as in “Let’s Not Pretend.” This makes the poems less stiff and opens up the reach of the metaphors. They perform their duties more completely in the thrust of a story.

OPA: Are you a stargazer, and does the constellation affect you work?

NAM: Not at all, and I’m not even a horoscope girl although I came to America in the 60’s. However, I am always thinking of my sea captain ancestors out on the sea with the stars overhead to guide them. It is a permanent archetype in my psyche, one I am strengthened by.

OPA: This new collection is entitled, Star Map, how did you arrive at this title?

NAM: The book is about my interpretation of the seasons as a Bermudian, seeing my environs from the perspective of an islander. My writing about such is a way to locate myself, place my body in the landscape.

I had a grandfather who traveled a lot and kept a log of his everyday life much like former sea captains in my lineage. He sent these diaries around to the entire family. I think of my writing poems as keeping a log of sorts, as a place I locate my being like one might out at sea. The star map metaphor comes from the line “The frost on my windshield with/ connecting white stellar shapes/ is a star map to guide me.”  Yes! To guide me in a new country, to guide my journey in my car (Such an American metaphor for being!), and to announce that my poems are the maps that make my journey happen, possible.

OPA: The last line of the title poem intrigues me, “its slit eye, a tongue slips through, speaks.”  It’s vivid, revealing, yet mysterious. I am curious about the tongue that slips through and manages to speak. Sounds like a coup. Can you speak about the trajectory of this poem?

NAM: A coup is a good word here. I had to learn to speak about the loss of my island as when I first came to America the transition was an invisible one. I did not have to learn a new language for instance, and Bermuda was a known to the community I moved into. However, that knowledge was in a skewed context. It was the knowledge of a privileged tourist destination that postcolonial writers, myself included, write against.

There was no concept of the backstory of slavery in that perception, nor an awareness of the true complexities of colonial life because of the silence around my home country caused by a lack of island literature to bear witness to it. Thus, people would often say to me “I didn’t know anyone came from Bermuda.” It was such a dislocated and trivialized place in their minds –one that existed only for touristic exploitations by consumers. So when I began to write about Bermuda there was a lot to write against and for. And like many writers what I had to say, put down in poems was sometimes uncomfortable for my longstanding family there. In that sense I must say writing in exile from afar had its advantages.

OPA: The poems are primarily about winter and snow, with a few scant references to you home, Bermuda.  What is the setting, and where does Bermuda reside in these poems, in your life away from Bermuda?

NAM: Bermuda is my North Star. The location all other locations are seen from. The Bermuda landscape is inside me. The New England landscape is outside of me, although my poems have mapped my way into it. Thus I, of course, see the bucolic environment around me through a semitropical one, and hence a comparison is always present. I’m employing contrast by what Coleridge referred to as “the likeness within the unlikeness.”

As a poet, I generally think of writing about the seasons as comparable to life drawing. It is a really good place to improve one’s skill as nature is so immense and already very daunting to approach. And in the case when I’m writing about Bermuda as a direct subject, winter itself provides a vacuum for memory, creates an almost sublime aesthetic distance, a removal from the lush island life which hones one’s skill to recall it, bring it back into being. Exile has its perks.

OPA: Is poetry your first and primary medium?

Yes! Although painting orders my mind and there is a way that my Semitropical Paint Huts bring the island environment stateside. Keeps it close so that it facilitates my writing poems about Bermuda. My poetic language is highly visual because photography taught me to observe the world, and painting to physically embody it. Both inform how I take it in and write about it.

OPA: How do you know when the poem is done?

When it is satisfying enough in carrying a narrative, an observation and also when the formal aspects of it, tone, diction, imagery, are doing the best job they can and are” bringing things together into a unity which is original, interesting and fruitful” to quote Schwartz.” The judgement that it is good enough, happens on an intuitive level when I am mostly satisfied, and hence can let it go.

I am an advocate for sending poems out because that final read before you send poems off to another editor will make you really hone the poem in the manner Wilde describes as “spending the morning putting the comma in the paragraph, and then spending the afternoon taking it out.”

OPA: Which of the senses would you say is strongest or more dominant in this collection?

NAM: I would definitely say the visual as I start poems from image metaphors that I log in my notebook. The sense of sight carries the weight of the poem. It is the cell that Rilke speaks of when he says: “Somehow I too must discover the smallest constituent element, the cell of my art, the tangible immaterial means of expressing everything.”

OPA: The poem, “Summer’s Beggars,” has a nostalgic tone, walking on the beach, collecting shells, idle and idyllic. But life is never that simple or is it?

Summer’s Beggar

It all points to going to the ocean at the end

of the season where wave by wave summer

is covered, buried taken into the deep. Shells

are scattered at the edge of the tide, loose

change falling out of the rim of a skirt

for me to pick up, summer’s beggar. I will

bring a large conch back, itself a whirl,

a turning. Place it on my shelf to stay still,

slow. A snail crawls endlessly through winter.

If it was that simple, there would be less art in the world!

 

NAM: To quote Cernuda: “The poet tries to fix the transitory spectacle that he perceives. Each day, every minute, the urge to arrest the course of life falls upon him, a course so full at times it would seem to merit an eternal continuation. “In “Summer’s Beggar” the collecting of shells, the hoarding of that which held something as the shell itself is imprinted with what it contained, all of this is a metaphor for writing poems, collecting the imprint of the world in language. The conch in my work (ever since my first chapbook titled Conch), is a container for the voice of the subconscious (i.e the ocean.) So bringing the conch back is bringing back the voice for my work which unfolds, unravels, spins, yields slowly through the absence of place as Simone Weil notes when she states: “We must be rooted in the absence of a place. We must take the feeling of being at home into exile.”

OPA: Are you currently working on a new collection?

NAM: I am sending around a collection to publishers titled Island Bound Mail with some interest so far. I am beginning to start another collection titled Boiling Hot. So yes, I am busy and am forever aware of what Eliot implied when he said: every attempt/ Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure/ because one has learnt to get the better of words/ For the one thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which/ One is no longer disposed to say it.

https://www.amazon.com/author/nancyannemillerpoet

Star Map Cover 002_1_1 (1)

 

 

 

Mona Lisa Saloy’s New Orleans: Returning to Family & Culture

An Interview with Opal Palmer Adisa

 OPA: You attended Graduate school in the San Francisco Bay are, and then you returned to New Orleans, why?

MonalisasaloyMLS: The San Francisco Bay Area was great for my growth, grad school at S.F. State, where I met YOU! Then attending workshops & readings at later working at the S.F. African American Historical & Cultural Society originally in the Filmore, was a writer’s dream; it was there I met Bob Kaufman, who heard us young poets read; it was great time. Top that with the events listed in The Poetry Flash, many of which I attended. I was a performing poet. A reading was a literary and social event. I sold Broadsides of my work, so I was encouraged to keep doing that, but my work was not deepening. Typical of performers, I was beginning to cater to audience preferences for “popular” pieces instead of digging deeper. Then, the Afro-American Museums’ Association sent us to the World’s Fair in New Orleans. There, the great Danny Barker, musician, and Mrs. Sybil Morial (wife of a Black NOLA Mayor and mother to another) reported their disappointment that too many New Orleans youth left for higher education and did not return. Their pleas hit me in the gut. Couple that with missing my family with our wonderful culture, cuisine, and music. Within a year, I returned home to New Orleans. Not only did I deepen my work, but reconnected with my family roots, grew emotionally, and have two books to show, two additional degrees, and a career as a Folklorist in addition.

OPA: How and when did you come to poetry?  Does poetry matter in today’s society/world?

MLS: After marrying too young, and suffering through a terrible car accident six months into the marriage, I was left with a broken pelvis, a hole in my lung and no memory. I wrote to remember and met poets who told me I sounded like a writer (had no clue what they meant); they introduced me to their teach, Colleen McElroy, who became my mentor and nurtured my new-found love of literature, especially literature by people of color. It was on from there, and I never looked elsewhere.

Yes, poetry is the world’s lyric, the tale of today, the comment on our times, the quandaries considered, blasted, blessed, praised, and condemned. Poetry will always be essential.

OPA: What keeps you writing?

MLS: Something inside that makes me speak for those to can’t or won’t, to tell our tales, hail our uniqueness, so much of which is the sweetness of life. Then, someone has to speak up for injustice; otherwise, it will continue to exist.

OPA: Who have been some of the important voices that have shaped your poetics?

MLS:   Black Writers, Asian, Latino, Native Americans and Whites. This is just a partial list.

Carolyn M. Rodgers, Frank Chinn, Federico Garcia Lorca, Joy Hargo, Emily Dickerson, Jessica Hagedorn, Nicolas Guillen, Roberta Hill, e.e. Cummings, Sonia Sanchez,           Li-Young Lee, Pablo Neruda, Simon Ortiz, Leslie Marmon Silko, Rilke, Ishmael Reed, African writers such as Okot B’Tek, Wole Soyinka and Derek Walcott from the Caribbean. There are many more, but these came up first!

OPA: As a writer/folklorist committed to documenting your family and cultural history, how do you decide what story to tell?

MLS: As a writer, I’m compelled to tell the story that erupts strongest from my sensibility, of which sometimes, I have no control; it comes up and must get out. Other times, I aim to tell something that needs telling about my people as a whole, or connections. In the world, Black people are united by culture and separated by sea, but we are so much more alike than different. I’m often moved by the similarities and enjoy the differences, the many delights of this life.

OPA: You were living and teaching in New Orleans when Katrina happened and the poems in Second Line Home documents your journey, and the personal cost since that event.  What has been the worst aspect of that atrocity in America’s history?

MLS: The worst is that this was not a natural disaster but a Federal Flood as we now call it. We, our parents-grandparents-and us, paid for substantial levees sturdy enough to hold back the sea, as the Dutch hold back the North Sea with our design; at some point, politicians and the Army Core of Engineers scaled back to a cheaper model that did not work. To add insult to injury, we cannot sue the Federal Government. 80% of the city of New Orleans flooded due to levee failure after hurricane Katrina was gone. There was no place to live, no grocery stores—food deserts. We were exiled to all points across the country. Returning to tend our land was expensive. Before the Federal Flood, the lower 9th Ward (Arondissment in Paris) can boast as the largest Black neighborhood of homeowners in the nation, a statistic one never heard over the sensationalism of the “Black Poor” there. Over ten years since the Federal Flood, and I and others are still not in our homes. Many cannot afford to return. Too many of us lost everything.

Worse than that is the tremendous interruption of our culture. In New Orleans, even with very little, Black people have a tradition of living gloriously, of giving thanks for each day with style and swag. Our cuisine is beloved as is our music and style. We made a way out of no way when we had to during Jim Crow and lived gloriously making cultural all along the way. Now, our neighborhoods are toothless; our families interrupted. Some of our names return 300 years; there’s a different sense of place in that respect, and some may never return.

OPA: Has New Orleans healed from katrina? Is there still support that is need? How and where can folks help?

MLS: Certainly, New Orleans is in healing mode still; there is so much more that needs to be done. To begin, help those who need it instead of sitting on it. We’re the only place post-Katrina, who did not get replacement value, and the insurance companies were allowed to stiff us after paying premiums for decades. Now, many cannot afford coverage. This is a travesty of what America purports to be. New Jersey shore is rebuilt. No one is NYC is crying. New Orleans is one of the jewels of this nation, but we need help.

Help out: write your Representatives & Congressmen. There should be a national outcry that too many cannot rebuild or do not have funds to complete rebuilding. President Obama,
http://www.pen.org/blog/federal-flood
http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/features/12982208-171/new-orleanians-fighting-their-way

OPA: What are you working on now, and what support do you need as a poet?

MLS: Currently, stealing time to complete 1. My manuscript on contemporary Black Creole culture; 2. My manuscript on Kids Games: Sidewalk Songs, Jump-Rope Rhymes, and Clap-Hand Games; and 3. Re-writing my manuscript on Bob Kaufman. In the interim, I’m designing future works focused on my communities, which will be group efforts.

Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy is the Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Professor, Coordinator of English in the School of Humanities at Dillard University

For more information about Mona Lisa Saloy and her work, visit the websites listed below. Here is one of her poems:

On not being able to write a post-Katrina poem about New Orleans

It wasn’t Katrina you see
It was the levees
One levee crumbled under Pontchartrain water surges
One levee broke by barge, the one not supposed to park near ninth-ward streets
One levee overflowed under Pontchartrain water pressure
We paid for a 17-foot levee but
We got 10-foot levees, so
Who got all that money—the hundreds of thousands
Earmarked for the people’s protection?

No metaphors capture this battle for New Orleans
Now defeated and scorned by the bitter mistress of Bush-era non-government
New Orleans is broken by the bullet of ignorance
Our streets are baptized by brutal neglect
Our homes, now empty of brown and white faces, segregated by
Our broken promises of help where only hurt remains
Our hearts like our voices hollow now in the aftermath

Our eyes are scattered among T.V. images of
Our poor who without cars cling to interstate ramps like buoys
Our young mothers starving stealing diapers and bottles of baby food
Our families spread as ashes to the wind after cremation
Our brothers our sisters our aunts our uncles our mothers our fathers lost
Stranded like slaves in the Middle Passages
Pressed like sardines, in the Super Dome, like in slave ships
Where there was no escape from feces or
Some died on sidewalks waiting for help
Some raped in the Dome waiting for water and food
Some kids kidnapped like candy bars on unwatched shelves
Some beaten by shock and anger
Some homeless made helpless and hopeless by it all

Where is Benjamin Franklin when we need him?
Did we not work hard, pay our taxes, vote our leaders into office?
What happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of the good?
Oh say, can you see us America?
Is our bright burning disappointment visible years later?
Is all we get the baked-on sludge of putrid water, your empty promises?
Where are you America?

– See more at: http://www.pen.org/blog/federal-flood#sthash.tA31hmCO.dpuf

www.monalisasaloy.com Tweet to: @redbeansista
http://www.pen.org/blog/federal-flood

http://www.theneworleansadvocate.com/features/12982208-171/new-orleanians-fighting-their-way

 

Enter Your Cacoon

perhaps today

is the day you feel

out of sorts

DSC05057there is a glow

but there is darkness too

 

you want to stay in bed

with the covers over you head

you should curl up and read

have someone bring you tea

tell the mosquitoes

to leave you alone

fling caution to the wind

but be cautious

especially with your words

today is not a day

you can be your usual chirpy self

you don’t want to help fix

anyone today

today you need fixing

you need someone

to be there for you

to say

here i am

i’m your super hero

i will make it all happen

for you

i believe in your dreams

i am your patron

your personal cheering club

you godmother with a magic wand

and everything you want happens

today

not tomorrow

or in the some vague

distant future

today you don’t feel

optimistic

or positive

or even about changing your mind

today you are in the dumps

and want to stay there

no pep talk

no new age guru

just you and the dumps

feeling like these stonesDSC05059

chipped and hard on soft soles

you believe no one gets you

no one understands how much

you want or why you want so much

or how tired you are of always trying

today you want to be left alone

to stay in bed

find a dark corner

where you can hide

no light

no noise

no thank you

no thank you

today it’s okay

to be out of sorts

a little needy

DSC05058

today the blue sky

does not make you happy

you are hiding

in the bush

 

A Special Breed -St Croix Sheep

sheepJimmy said

they were crying

tears running down

their faces

these sweet gentle

sheep that looked on

huddled in dismay

as a stray dog attacked and killed

two of their members

 

sheep2adisa15 

white hair with a smooth coat

that does not require shearing

hornless and hardy

they resist parasite

and similar to the people

of this region they are a hybrid

miscegenation

between West African and

European wooled sheep

brought about two hundred years

after the first enslaved Africans

their manure proved

valuable to sugar production

known to be very fertile

ewes often breed twice yearly

yielding twins

occasionally quadruplets

great rummagers

they are better than lawnmowers

oversee land management

sheep3adisa15

as lamb to consume

their meat is prized

smaller bones/less fat

 

in an ideal world

a flock of sheep

peaceful and harmless

grazing and wandering

all the live-long day

COCONUT- ALL in ON

greecoconutadisa15

when i was s child

you were never a dwarf

always grew to 98 feet

i was sure you were

god’s neighbor

and the men who climbed you

–a task i never achieved–

were angels swaying in the wind

to bring down your nuts

which i savored

rum and coconut water

was my father’s choice drink

i drank you straight from the hush

without a straw so that some of your juice

inevitably dribbled down my chin

onto my clothes tattooing me

a coconut drinker

 DSC05223

the botanists say you

are not really a fruit

rather a drupe

with your three layers

exocarp mesocarp and endocarp

your coir was once stuffed

into mattresses and almost

every part of you during

ever phase of your life is used

my grandfather carried your

hard flesh around in his handkerchief

and chewed on you throughout the day

my mother would grate your dry nut

with your three eyes showing

and make her own cooking oil

on saturdays she baked

coconut drops — your hard meat

cut into small pieces, mixed with sugar and ginger

a favorite candy among many children

on sunday you would be grated and juiced

your milk sweetened our rice and peas

brian puts your medium jelly in his green salad

he sandwiches your dry oily flesh

with dried mango and banana into

a fruit sandwich

 DSC05250DSC05267DSC05266

your childhood is brief

six to ten years

then you begin to propagate

producing as little as 30 and as many

as 75 children yearly for about  twenty years

clearly you don’t believe in birth control

and perhaps that is because you’re

monoecious and cross-pollinate

although the female flower is larger

they claim you appearance

was first introduced by sinbad the sailor

who in one thousand and one nights bought

and sold you suggesting you are

originally from Malayalam

but the controversy continues

between those who believe

you originated in the Americas

but no matter

we claim you in the Caribbean

nobody kyan tell we

yu nu one a we

 

coconut man is coming out

and everyday you can hear

him shout:

get your coconut water

it is good for your daughter

make you strong like a lion

gives you iron…”

DSC05224

The Couple

They perch on the edge of the shore

perfectly familiar

intimate

and comfortable

in each other’s company

2birds.adisa15

Their eyes are fixed

in meditation on the sea

are they studying the rushing waves

or scanning for fish

or perhaps

like my partner and I

they are out for a morning stroll

giving thanks for this life

of simple grace

the beach

the sea

the air

the company

nothing more

is required

of this divine blessings