NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 1 - Winter 2018 - Page 18

After Alfred Mendes, Pitch Lake, 1934 Your brother, too, drinks. You flee to Trinidad. Our bones as good as yours, Walking along the walls of Lapeyrouse Our slavery the same slavery, to music The rhythm of the Atlantic, true poet of slaves. The Atlantic, that makes countries passable, translating The untranslatable. What kind of Carnival band is this? You shake your cane like a Fancy Sailor, Chipping away at the asphalt. It cannot support the weight of your volumes. I am with you. You stop for pholourie and doubles, sip water From a coconut, kneel to tie a man’s shoes, Glitter in your silver hair. What kind of song is this? — Canboulay sticks hitting steel pan Notes dressed as poui trees. Stop this day and night with me. But your brother, he returns In these crowds, his face like A cowl on each jewelled reveller Who knows what they are yet not what They will be. Bones beneath the streets. The road to Balandra curves. At last, the cold breeze, the moon, The sea. On Ash Wednesday, our Poem folds. We no longer read. Your first book was your last. The dirt, the steam, the tar. The path that takes you far from the shop, the smell of a hot kiss — soft, spongy and then unyielding like hardened pitch. The wound, the cut, the oil. The scientists disagree: why is there life where life should not be? The corpse, the bird, the spell. Time a carpet that bells. We break up. Clumps of regret bathe in molasses. Walk on, on the first roads of Washington and New York. The bottle, the rope, the ship. The crenulations of bark, the circles inside a tree, the waves of asphalt, feelers growing like the sea. In these sulphur pools I see the craters of Titan. The indecisive grass is drowned. Under this marbled tarpaulin spirits fight. Mark their rounded mounds, their bubbling cries. The stomach, the whale, the curse. Should I? Could I? What will they think? What do I feel? Will I heal? Will I break? The pit, the pith, the piche. Bacteria wed to stone, yearning for home. Go to the door. Open it. Step onto it. The house, the wind, the ache. Remember, nobody sees the same lake. Walt Whitman in Trinidad II