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Poetry
The old lady who weeps for me

Why do you weep for me old lady?
Why do you grieve, pray and plead?
You feel my pain and my agony
You know my torment and my need.

You absorbed life's blows for me
When you were younger, old lady.

But now you are far away and frail
While life's blows rain like hail
Battering my bare head and broken heart
You weep for me Mama, far away and apart.

Etwaria R. Singh
New York, January 2011


Hidden Girl

That hidden girl you see,
She lives inside of me.
Sometimes frightened,
And sometimes free.
Why didn't she leave and go,
A long time ago?
Since high school?
Perhaps since university?
Oh why does she persist
In accompanying me?

You really should
Leave me alone.
You're not my shadow.
Wherever I go
Do you need to follow?

Etwaria R. Singh
New York


The Sea

Thalassa! Thalassa!
The Sea! The Sea!

Anabasis (Xenophon)

Thalassa! Thalassa!
The Sea! The Sea!
Afloat in the amniotic sea
From whence my life arose
A being visible,
And the face of the Great Mother limned
In the face of my mother.

Thalassa! Thalassa!
The Sea! The Sea!
The Sea of Life
Where on the rocks my bark shattered,
And the face of the Great Mother
The face of my mermaid, Ariel.

Thalassa! Thalassa!
The Sea! The Sea!
By Corentyne strand or Huron sand,
Where Earth and Sky horizon
And matter and spirit one fluid sea,
Rise many faces
And yet but only one,
The face of the mother.

Thalassa! Thalassa!
The Sea! The Sea!
The Cosmic Sea,
From whence my soul arose
In which I live and move and have my being.
I stand on the shore of this dream called Life
Awaiting the Face of the Beyond to emerge
For my merging.
Joseph Drepaul


Maybe
You go about singing your song
You know something is a miss
You know something is wrong
But you don’t know what it is
Maybe you had a breath! Oh!
Of the air President Kennedy
Breathed in 1963 with Castro
Over the Cuban missile crisis tes’
Nearly ending in a bloody mess

So you got that urge that rush
Maybe you’re breathing the bad air
As President George W. Bush
You are feeling good eh! Beware!
The last time he did after 911 attacks
And he went to Iraq hunting
With his Chiney and other contacts
They found no weapons to kill the mass
But a people fighting and kicking ass
The coughs you’re having here
Nasty coughs making you ill
Maybe belonged yesteryear
To Sir Winston Churchill
Who coughed his way too
In World War II got his fill
And it’s now affecting you
You will pass it on too soon
Just before the next full moon

Maybe that soothing feeling
Came from the great Mahatma
Mohandas Gandhi’s fasting
For 40 days stuck to satyagraha
The vicious Salt Act couldn’t break
The poor backs of the whole of India
The British way of eating their cake
And still having it all
Their ultimate downfall

That evil in your veins is no news
Maybe it came from Adolph Hitler
After he murdered six million Jews
He tried to conquer Europe & Africa
Spent his life to annihilate
Anyone who apt to choose
Doomed was their fate
But the lurking evil in his genes
Is still around in various means

And hey you! what about
On your neck see that gold chain
It’s too weighty you lout
It is mixed full of blood stain
With the ill-gotten share
Now it will take a dozer or crane
To return it to the coffers so bare
Stolen by racial corruptive pranks
Lodged by Burnham in Swiss banks
The wrath instilled in you means
Since you’re born one of a dozen
Maybe it’s your convoluted genes
Because you marry your cousin
Now using that as a bloody tool
Spreading evil in your denizen
To the elders and kids in school
To the third and fourth generation
Camouflaged as sacred creation

The diseases affecting you today
Maybe it’s the payment pardner
For the many lives you took once
For according to the Holy Gita
You have to pay for your sins
And you would never get better
Not even now if you grow fins
Many Holy Marys or sacred beads
Cannot wash away your evil seeds
Naraine Datt


This Land of Plenty (1998)

They come in hundreds of thousands
To this acclaimed land of plenty – and cold
Backs to the walls, with fiery tears
Motivated – and bold
To catch up for lost years.

At first excited, playing out the stories told, when
Stretched by colorful imagination
Then...
Society takes control
of you
your routine
your food
your dress
your speech

of your work
in New York

Aye! your culture
Until you’re consumed by the demanding vulture.

Then…
One day, haunted by internalization
Like a divine inspiration
Questioning your existence in the constricting web
Remembering the umbilicus in a land distant, and forsaken
Regretting the cracked linkages, often broken…

Your forerunners told you so
You did not believe – did not want to believe
Now, you tell them – not to deceive
They do not believe
They still come in hundreds of thousands
To this land with uncompromising commands.

– Gary Girdhari


restorations

lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of israel
the book of the acts

churchill looked at saint peter and said
we have got to rebuild the british empire
what good is a churchill without the empire
saint peter glaring at churchill replied
the restoration of israel comes first
the british empire must wait till after

the amazon queen did not request
peters book she said was wrong
she funded herself for herself then claimed
foul is fair and fair is foul
in racial warfare and tribal hate
besides i need a palace by the sea
so newspaperhistory again wrote her name

tommy he goes to peter and says
at this time we should restore the fortunes of tom
after all you let my fortunes slide
like melting salt on the beach ate ebb tide
just let me have a lottery size three
i assure you i don’t need it for me
but to lighten the darkness all around
for sure this will give me the purpose i lack
and give my life the meaning that went
and then i will leave depression street

peter says to tom take a look out there
tom looked saw nothing ego melting nothing
a void a nothingness a nothingizer
his heart sank into his gut he passed it out
then peter continuing to tommy said
take a hike into that nowhere
if after you nothingize you are still there
humankind in your track will move to somewhere
– Joseph Drepaul
Stratford, Ontario

WRITING LESSONS: LIBERTY AVENUE
Poetry is perfection’s sweat...
fresh as raindrops on a statue’s brow.

Derek Walcott

How well I know
and do not know,
the images wrought,
metaphorically,
if you catch...
my drift

How well...my spirit
at the core of being,
the Muse’s own,
nothing less–
my northern
landscape

The South, too,
if you must really know,
we know--
I come to grips with–
this simplicity
I yearn for most of all

Not giving advice,
but taking advice–
from you–
the images...
coming to me
at a glance

Solid as diamond,
I daresay–
telling you
again and again–
with an honesty
I can only muster

From the core
of my being–
the senses most of all,
what’s truly felt...
freedom’s sweat

You’re bound to
know really know–
this instant,
I guarantee you...only–
if from a distance.
– Cyril Dabydeen
Ottawa


quid est casus belli?

Tiger! Tiger!
… Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

William Blake.
I
as i tiptoed along the right side
of the public thoroughfare
on the old railway embankment through buxghanistan
so renamed by its new masters
not as a symbol of liberation of any kind but a gesture
of don’t-care-a-damn insolence and belligerence
presenting a narrow sideways silhouette
not to call undue sight
to my transit
a necessity between point A and point C
which same is deemed trespass
here
for which when captured
reparation is exacted and extracted
by bludgeonings ransoms rapes and hideous deaths
and was almost out of the war zone
when i am intercepted by a young man
AK-47 in hand
and him still juvenile i thought
as if that should make him less lethal
idiotically for this is no boyish game
but war of the worst kind
(not that any warfare is ever of a good kind)
it being domestic and devoid of conventions for its conduct
its atrocities even though inherently compounded
of betrayals are never brutal enough
this amalgam of anarchy and depravity
that unrestrained one-sided and thus far invincible
ominously portends progression to pogrom
in which the sons of cain are blood-hungry predators
the guns are real
the bullets kill
the killed don’t get up
and reverse roles with the killers for the next round
visage vacuous of empathy
for another life that he intends to destroy
red and wild his eyes
spit hate at me
hate for which i have given reason none
and i proclaim now
and again
and again
i! i! i!
have given him reason none
him
this one
with gun at my guts
this young man
my countryman fellow human my brother
to hate me
who is not my enemy –
down any village road i go
school door i stand outside of
alongside a playground
at a cricket match
wherever young people assemble
dozens his age including my son i see there
pursuing adolescent affairs –
what is my enemy
and likewise enemy of all men
is the demon he has grown within himself
as part and parcel of the evil
that has descended deep into the dark caverns
of men’s souls in this land
how ubiquitous its hydra-headed occupation
suspicioned from unrelenting daily demands
bound by no barriers for blood and betrayals as bittle

to hate me
because my eyes are blue green or brown
or focus along diverging lines of vision
my birth hair is kinky straight or non-existent
my skin color is of a different tone
my physical features are moviesque mongoloid or neanderthalian
or for my ancestral origins
i concede albeit from distance
and not without trepidation
lest it is taken for leeway
into one square inch of which we humans can insert
any number of excesses and abuses
your right as a person
to have so chosen
(if cross is by your conscience constructed
and on your back will be carried)
in none of which matters is choice allowed any man anywhere
nor does he have a hand in arrogating to his being any of those features
and my right too most categorically never to condone any as ground
for anyone to go out and obliterate another human
as has repeated horrendous holocausts over and over in our time
in Rwanda Bosnia Kosovo Darfur and elsewhere …

©Balwant Bhagwandin
(Wednesday, October 26, 2005, 10:20 AM)

II
quid est casus belli?

Tiger! Tiger!
… Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
William Blake.

of history too young to be so aggrieved
he cannot see clearly
death is the cruelest of all cruelties visited upon man
deceased and survivors alike
and so much more so when sudden and malevolent
for he has seen the tears
he has heard the wails
he knows the grief and disarray death brings at first hand
the absolute cessation of a life
a loved one’s presence – a relationship – happiness
and what tragedy to be so immersed in death
when life is
for living/for making/for moving onwards and upwards
for creating/for playing/for growing
for loving ourselves and each other and our world
and too far overboard gone
to design as defence for his ire on his own
some ancient tribal wrong
but so much so
for him and his criminal cabal to conclude the scores
of rapes robberies rampages
abductions bludgeonings and murders
without reason across the board and in all seasons
are not yet enough to avenge whatever is the grievance
perceived by brains driven insane
by resentment and crack-cocaine
for these cubs sweetened by the richness of human blood
its copiousness and the ease of the kill
have become maneaters
nor have i response but of wretched prey
with hands paralyzed and tongue tied
by the fatal stare of this time’s hatchling of the basilisk
and the gun jabbing into my abdomen
and similar advancing like riled-up soldier ants
out of stronghold safehaven and bolthole
killer sharks base in the compel of a feeding frenzy
emasculated commanded to chary judgement
lest i be consumed
by the fires of any response of my own
albeit warranted
as will this enfant terrible of this town
renowned in history’s account under its revered name
who will not learn before his road reaches its inevitable and invited end
and fortunately for him lest he be born truly of the devil’s loin
how unlivable what is left of a life disgraced by deeds
too brutal and final for him to redress
too horrendous to be forgotten or forgiven
and in the moments of his distraction by the hails of his posse
to wait up for them to join the party
i ran!
i ran!
not as for meal or medal
not for an el dorado of bullion
nor to catch a last train!
i ran!
i ran
for my very existence!
i ran to save myself from extermination
by a child-killer!
dignity and self-respect shed as encumbrances
as well guilt for those – all those – who did not leave this road
walking or running – even crawling …

©Balwant Bhagwandin
NYC 7/28/2006

III
quid est casus belli?


Tiger! Tiger!
… Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
William Blake.

saved not by a sudden reversion to humanity
nor by divine or any other intervention
but by the unsteadiness of his hands and eyes and mind
and blessed to be breathing easier and moreso still
in the bordering village not on war-footing i presume
until startled by the wails
of another child
another brother
another mother
another wife
of another canecutter and his workmate vanished
two months this day
from site of where they humbly toiled
clearing a canal that provided service for all
presumed murdered and disappeared
anthropophagy whispered as cynical explanation
too horrifying a fate to contemplate for what had been
muscles sinews skin and bones
with beating hearts breathing lungs streaming blood
the only property truly possessed by the poor
each a man as good as any other
and far better than many where it matters most
with hopes and dreams
emotions of anger and love kindness and unkindness
each a man
with a story of his own thoughts and opinions
a song of his own
each a poem
each a human
each effaced
without a trace
always poor and now what was most precious
to them and their familes and their only true treasure
has been viciously and irretrievably obliterated
with le coup de (dis)grâce to their existence:
denial of the one final little bit of dignity no man deserves
to depart without
all because they were too trusting to heed the old adage
that if you live nextdoor to the territory of a maneating tiger
you are advised best to know when he goes out for the kill
lest you become his meal

Ooh Gawd! Oww mi Gawd!
Wheh meh husban? wha dem doh wid am?
Wheh meh son? Gawd wha wraang e doh?
Wha mo Gawd? how much mo?
Gaawd! ansah noh!


widow or no?
desperately hoping and praying frenziedly
it is no
and down the road
the screams of another daughter
another son
another sister
another wife
another brother
another father
another mother
of another son
robbed
murdered
and incinerated
in his hire-car his tool of trade his pyre
his crematorium
his personal Babu John
on the same road i had just run ...

Gawd if yuh nah bline
yuh gat foh bloh dung dem dawg dis!
God what wrong my Dad do to end like this?


©Balwant Bhagwandin
NYC 8/28/2006


IV
quid est casus belli?


Tiger! Tiger!
… Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

William Blake.
i remember when
for weeks even months
the newspapers and radio did not report
a single murder in the entire country
and when they did we were shocked and saddened
even though we did not know the victim
but now
in this time
in this place
there have been single days of murders upon murders
day after day of murders
making murder so humdrum
discovery of the corpse of another murdered person by the wayside
elicits just about as much distress and outrage from the public
as for the nightly carnage of crapauds
by passing traffic on the roads
albeit worse may be happening elsewhere
and has since our appearance on this planet
but before it was given over to the care of its children
who had not enough of a clue about how
to keep the flowering shrubs along main street alive
prologues their stewardship of a nation born colicky
and like all who come suddenly into riches or power
made pompous by the omnipotence of their elevation
scornful of skills and short of sight
rapacious of appetite
promptly drove it down deep into the retromidas filth
of turd world typicality
this place was pristine and innocent
where men’s honor needed no other bulwark
than their words and good names
which to bring shame upon was a kind of death
and any adult would be commended in no uncertain manner
by the parents of a youth such as this for dealing soundly with him
for nothing more delinquent than use
in youthful brashness or by drive of hormones
of a word or phrase considered inappropriate for his age
and who would again be taught at home the error
of letting his lips loose
in a manner that would most times make repeat unlikely
here
not a breakaway state within a state
neither a rebellious petty pashalik
or insurgent fiefdom within a dissolute kingdom
nor territory liberated from tyranny
nothing but a half-mile militarized zone of iniquitous enclave
labeled by itself taliban
not out of feelings of fraternity or shared faith
but for the bigotry and brutality therein
warlike and bristling with hostility towards all without
the boundaries physical and otherwise
it has demarcated with blood
and with no regard for any niceties of neighborliness
and within a strutting intolerant quick-to-rage warlord
its only response ruthless to any questioning of its domination
and quite apart from the immediate intents
of garnering profits and pillage settling scores and satisfying its bloodlusts
its frequent eruptions of violence and depredations are also meant
to an equal if not greater extent and in a not inoblique way
to remind the rulers of the nation
how emasculated is their rule
how tenuous their hold on power
none of whom are possessed of more
than rudimentary matadorial skills
and to a man (and woman) lacking los cojones
to take a mad bull headon by the horns and bring it down...

Ooh Gawd! Oww Gawd!
Seh something noh Gawd!


©Balwant Bhagwandin. NYC 9/27/2006

wetlands

i move in silence
and longing with you
as you embark from
dry parched ache,
to wetlands of
fervent hope,
even while trickling
fear becomes a
thundering falls,
and you feel you
will drown.

(you will not drown)

your journey, if you
desire, does not ever
have to be taken alone.
there where water
bubbles from below
raw earthy swelling,
the soggy shame you
feel you must wear
transforms to
soothing liquid
that will quench your
intense thirsting.
but you must want
to drink. you must
want to heal your
parched spirit,
body, mind with moist
pleasure, with overflowing
trust.
irrigate your too-dry
field of vision.
soak your skin as
you search for
what already knows you.

become the sea.
become the river.

hammer down the
dam that is feeding
your precarious drought.
drink your voice in
full fragrant knowledge
that life and death
are kindred mirrored
ponds, in which beauty
forms, and decay
writhes, side by side.
you are of both.
and beauty speaks here still.

– margot van sluytman


Good Morning

Good Morning! How do you do?
Some bark What's so good about it?
Some snarl and ready to chew
Your head off as if you're a dim wit

This is heard many a day
The answer to a daily greeting
When others try to say
A simple cheerful Good Morning

What does good morning mean today
Is it a way of saying hello
It’s the first greeting of the day
To give every-one as you go

It is more than that I think
It means it’s nice to be alive
To anyone in rags or in mink
It’s the same as a high five

The people who detest Good Morning
Are silly, selfish and shows no emotion
Have an attitude which needs fixing
Their mind and body are out of relation

They are afraid and need love
Too proud to show or ask for it
They need some help from above
In society they are a misfit

They want their way with everything
They never look out for another
They are forever too busy babbling
And never 1isten to the other

Only pessimists hate good morning
These people had a rotten childhood
Maybe were abused or are abusing
They can't decipher bad from good

Such people are a wet blanket
They are party poopers, a waste
Folks you wish you never met
And they always leave a bad taste

Good Morning means I love you
I love life which is so short, yea!
I want to wish you a nice day too
For I am going to have a good day.

– Naraine Datt  

Biting The Hands That Feed Them

“Yes, Uncle David.”
Arti, my niece responded.
“My dad was robbed at gunpoint
On Monday at break of day,
At Plaisance over the line.
While earning his bread, selling bread
To feed them nemak-haram.
He was robbed of all the money.
His own and that from sales.
But that was not enough.
They beat him with the gun
Until blood gushed out his ears,
And his mouth a bloodied pulp.
Then they broke his knee
And he fell…
It is true what you said,
Uncle David,
It’s not just biting the hands that feed them,
It’s a racial Russian roulette
To everyone who earns his bread
The bitter old-fashioned way.”

Gokarran Sukhdeo
03/01/06

The Unrepentant Killer

I feel the knife arc through my heart
In payment for my deeds.
From its pith gushes a bitter taste,
A latent magma that fills my throat –
I close my eyes to hold it back,
And infinite lights flash
Like dying stars afar.
And reminds me suddenly
That only one moment is left,
Out of a billion moments of existence,
One moment only
To say the greatest unsaid words –
I’m sorry,
I love you, my brother.
But my eyelids close
And the dying thought swallowed in extinction.

Gokarran Sukhdeo
03/01/06

Broken People

They splay, they spat

bang, butt, bust
hidden broken glass
one step on
slide… slip… slash…

Lure to catch
with the promise of cure

prod… probe
horrendous foray!

Broken people cannot see whole

their lives a twisted role
so must scar and char
fuss… muss and combust.

Leni (Naleni) Singh
01-13-06 @ 6:04am
Aliens
This creature is not human
For like her counterpart man
A killer, a maniac and a destroyer
This alien is a gracious, sweet, soft lover
It’s said God made her from Adam's rib
But we now know that is a real fib
A fallacy and an ancient sham
She could never come from Adam
She's a sweet flower and a gem
No man is qualified to touch her hem
And boy when she climbs on heels
It makes men wild, like cartwheels
They’re worthless, without competition
To her, God's own beautiful creation
This petal of man's mercy it seems
Is really man's nectar of dreams
When she bats an eye
Can make you so shy
And a smile even so little
Can make a man so belittle
She's a perfumed flower
And she has all the power
Yet man treat her so inhuman
Surely she has to be an alien
No human can stand such maltreatment
And still comes out smiling and content
For one so sweet and beautiful
Can't come from earth so cruel
Just like how the plants love the earth
She's a jasmine, her every worth
This creature of beauty and perfection
If not protected would be man's extinction
Norman Datt

LIFE

I wouldn’t make peace with God
Because I live with the truth
Gandhi says the truth is God
I wouldn’t change anything
If I have to live this life again
For although it was a cruel life
The pains made me a better man
For I can understand others
When they talk of poverty
I know what others go through
When they speak of separation
When they speak of bad aunts
I know what they mean
When they speak of unemployment
I have experienced that
When I read of people and patches
I have been there

But despite all these cruelties
I do not hate Nature
I have not lost my sense of humour
I still enjoy the lapping of the waves
The crying of the sea gulls
The nocturnal mating of the hog
And the croaking of a bullfrog

Maybe it was good that I was poor
For I've seen very few of the rich
Who has not lost their souls

I am a simple man
I love the seasons with myriad of colours
I love the culture pattern of other folks
I do not blame anyone
For life was not all that bad
I remember the good times with friends
The first outing I had
Even my first glass of mauby
My first mouth organ for Christmas

And as I grew
I was proud to know
That although I was hungry
I never stole
Although I wore patches
They were clean
And though life was cruel
I can still smile

And I am glad
I can still feel anger
At oppressors
Who kick the under dog
I am glad I can feel or cry
When I see a sad movie
And proud to be aware
That I feel real good
When I help someone.
–Norman Tewarie


“no good-byes to momma”
how to say goodbye
when there’s so little time left
and you didn’t want to know
the words wouldn’t come
couldn’t form
how to say goodbye
when no one should be going as yet
so little time left…

divine mark on door
the night before
silent summons – it’s time to go
she said she’s afraid, afraid of traveling alone
will “b u s h-c a t” come to accompany her
i tried to ignore; didn’t want to know
where she thinks she’s going
so healthy and young yet
‘cause, how to say goodbye
when there’s so little time left
and she shouldn’t be going as yet
so your heart begs, so…

how to say goodbye
when there’s so little time left
and you didn’t want to know
the words wouldn’t come
couldn’t form
‘cause, no one should be going as yet
but it’s not your call

she stood by the elevator waiting
didn’t look me in the eye
such a sad and lonely smile
“see you this evening,” a no-man’s lie
she couldn’t tell; didn’t want me to know
i couldn’t wait, had things to do
but said, “please be safe”
and closed the door
how to say goodbye
when there’s so little time left
and she shouldn’t be going, not as yet
so your heart begs, so…
so my heart begs so
as i ate the last slice of
my momma’s bread salted with tears

– Leni (Naleni) Singh. Queens, NY 04-06
(For my mom. BushCat was a beloved family pet & my guard whenever I got sick.)

By the Subway
I sat by you reading my newspaper
And I watch as your children caper
You are a total stranger
But we're in this together
With much patience we sat and waited
Watching the rat-race we've all created
At last the train came
Ending our waiting game
As your kids giggle, eating chips of potato
You fell in a trance with the ad of Wintario
With the measly pay I live on
I too wish to win the million

Your eyes flash to Eaton's fashion
And your cheeks flush with passion
I tried to read the lines between
Watching your blue eyes got green
I know deep down in your heart's core
You longed for the long dresses she wore
By your clothes and shoes I know you're poor
But when the train stopped I lost you at Bloor
I changed trains and headed northbound
As we plied over valleys and a mound
In your place came and sat a man
Who apparently was a Pat Boone fan
White Swede shoes and well dressed
Women heads turned I confessed

As I watched the passing tracks
I remembered the nasty dastardly attacks
By unprovoked punks whose stench gave vent
And crippled innocent Khimje in an accident

We went lickety clop, lickety clop
Right up to the Sheppard stop
Down the platform up the stairs
Passing two men collecting fares
Then I breathed fresh-air in the city-space
As the golden sunlight hit me in the face.

– Naraine Datt
Toronto

Villages
I met dis gyal from Berbice, and you know dat gurl was mad.
She run me wid big pot spoon and holla “leff me yard!”

I met dis gyal from Letter Kenny, wid dimples on her face.
I meet she 5 brudda… and so began da chase.

I met dis gyal from Canje, she was black fah spite.
We meet up in the day… cause she geh lost at night.

I met dis gyal from Albian, and boy, was she a dish!
She pick the fattest mango and catch the biggest fish!

I met dis gyal from Bush Lot, she daddy planted rice,
She bend to pick a ball and she hair full ah lice.

I met dis gyal from Paricka, she like to dance and sing.
I take she to rum shop and she ask me for wan ring.

I met dis gyal from Best village, with curls in she hair
I ask for piece candy but she nah like fah share.

I met dis gyal from Georgetown, she was a lot of fun!
I drink till I sober, cause she had all de rum!
– Steven Jagnarain

The Charmer
You think I do not know you,
You say you have just arrived,
I have long been watching you,
Through my people with their secret eyes.
Your King and Queen have sent you,
To voyage East among the tides,
Out of many they have chosen you,
To find the Heathens who believe in pagan lies.
I can see that your eyes betray you,
You did not expect an Empress,
but a man, The sight of me enamors you,
I will tell you what you feel for me
as only a woman can.
The words rolling off my tongue fascinate you,
The kohl on my eyelids sends shivers up your spine,
The sweetness of my voice intrigues you,
No one has heard of a heritage like mine.
The serpentine movements of my hands touch you,
The silks of my garments erase all your loyalties sworn,
The marble of my palace impresses you,
Nothing but the best is good enough for my perfect form.
The black of my flowing hair invites you,
The anklets and bangles chime in a melodious din,
The ancient paths of my soul cannot be seen by you,
Nature has made it impossible for men
to see past my golden skin.
Come forward and touch me, for your eyes don't deceive you,
I am Beauty,
Sensuality,
such an embodiment you never will find,70
I am Devi, a veritable Goddess to you,
Maharani forever with centuries of memories in mind.
Now that you have surrendered,
I possess you,
Beneath the moonlight you have fallen in love,
The confines of your land no longer hold you,
Try to sate me with kisses filled
with fire from the stars above.
Oh, my pretty Englishman,
I am too much for you,
You were never meant to encounter a woman like me,
Oh, my blue-eyed traveler, you say I've seduced you,
Now you'll never want to leave
the East for your
home across
the sea.
– by Samantha Raghunandan. 11/29/01

The Chosen Few

Religions have taken their toll
And many have died
According to my very last poll
Although they’ve tried
It’s like fighting a tide’s clones
A tsunami on the rise
Some say they’re the chosen ones
As their cries hit the skies
Some say their rewards
Would be milk-and-honey or 32 virgins
Scurrying with holy cards
To wipe out their sins
Some look on and daily wonder
When this darn madness
The evil of the Middle East yonder
Would end the sadness
Stop the violence using religion
I again say it would never
For from since times of Goshen
Its warring nations forever
’Cause man is so very egoistic
Vain, malicious and so greedy
With spastic fits so sadistic
Ruining the lives of the needy
Using other men as a crutch
To fight their sorry lost wars
Can’t find the end to nonesuch
Leaving fury and hateful scars

– Naraine Datt
Toronto

POISON (broken ties)

Glitter she smiles
insidious whisper
words trickle – climb
up higher, higher
through the ear globes

So what if she’s your sister
just let her fall; who cares
surely, not you? definitely not i!

words trickle – climb
up higher, higher
through his ear globes

Whisper, she whispers
insidious whisper
then he says “look at her ... she lives in a dump
her life ignominy”
then she says “you’re the one above her
take it, take it, all for you!

words trickle – climb
up higher, higher
through his ear globes

Whisper, she whispers
over the years
insidious whisper
so what if she-s held you
when you were falling
no one knows here! no one knows here

words trickle, climb up higher, higher
through his ear globes

Then she-wife bridles he-husband
as the words flow
noxious and bitter
in full control; children and all
working him to the bones
on and on her words needle
up higher, higher
through his ear globes
until he banishes –
his sister
his mom
his identity
and when that sister saw him
much, much later
so infected from she-wife’s poison was he
he was not even a stranger
his look at her was stone

– Leni(Naleni) Singh
Queens, NY
02-27-06 @11:15am

Richmond Hill’s Beach

Place been hot and school nah deh
Me wan go beach and mammie seh yeh!

So me ready and put meh sandals and hat,
Jump in the car in front seat I sat.

Rolled down the window to get some breeze,
Mammie ask if I want bread and cheese

I say no mammie I go eat just now!
Daddie seh beach closed down and I seh how?

We pull to the side and read the beach sign,
It seh danger! Don’t go past this line.

So before I cry I run to see,
Why the beach don’t want to see me.

I cross the line and went past the sand,
I went too fast and fall down on my hand

When I get up I felt a lash!
And daddy seh why yuh run in all the trash?

When I look up I see the water smellin bad,
Bottles and paper and even Jandi flag!

Mammie seh that this is a shame,
And coolie people was to blame!

So the moral of the story is not to be mean,
Just be nice and keep the beaches clean!

– By Steven Jagnarain

Paradox

yesterday, i saw the first favorably faint
new moon. the slim crescent hanging loosely
boomeranging its
pristine power and potency
silvern, simple, serene
’midst the ventriloquistic noisiness
of evening cicadas, cavorting, conversing
incessantly, monotonously, penetrating
my ears
bringing uneasy awareness:
amidst the quiet, the clear, the tranquil
is also a world full of chaos.

– By Gary Girdhari
(In memory of the victims of 9/11)


CONFESSION

If I could create with calamity,
pellucid calamity,
I, also would be victim to
chaos,
disturbance,
the hate.
I ponder to myself
amidst the hate in souls,
I confront the birthing dawn
eulogizing
In my working class way.
I’d shoot my orations to them
like poison
to decimate
or, if not,
I’d place my hands on their heads
with blessing
to purify
my loathing with theirs
inspecting
blood
knotting a tie
on their smiling necks.
If I could create with calamity
I would sooner die
than be diplomatic and speak
to them,
becoming
a heir
not to Burnham’s
racism,
and Cheddi’s ideas of
communism.
If I could create with calamity
pellucid calamity,
I’d burn the rioters, killers down
and pen my poems
from the ink
of their ashes.

– By Samuel Singh


Brothers

We share so many memories
Since we were kids
Memories that always
Give a special understanding
Of each other.

Memories that would
Keep us close
No matter how many
Years go by
No matter what
Separates us
You’re a very special brother
And I’m happy you’re mine.

– By Gaitrie Nandalall (13 year old, winner in Guyana Journal poetry contest, 2nd Prize. Richmond Hill, NY


Pig Taken to the Slaughter

For chops and ham
Trapped pig fearful
To market taken tearful
Some call it say abattoir
Or slaughterhouse
What’s the difference?

Pulled straight from truck idling
Dragged as if drugged
To cold concrete floor of final doom
Sensing death instinctively
Alive yet unable to resist
A human man inhumane
With object blunt not gun of stun
Showing no remorse
Struck sordid swine
Into a daze
Bashed pig still not dead

In this food chain of command
Homo sapiens organism
Wiser, higher, carnivorous
With death knife for food and taste
Lunged into my cage of lungs
Severed deep carotid and jugular
I still not unconscious
Acute pain unbearable
My helpless body hapless
Now weak and getting weaker
Unceremoniously dumped
Into boiling pool not cool
My searing pain O Pog!
Beyond excruciating
Like Lord Jesus transfixed
On suffering sacrificial crucifix
My God My God
Why hast thee forsaken me?

Onset of rigor mortis
As life now less unbearable
Me paying price supreme
Unhalalled loins for palates
Not for lions in forests

Killing and eating of beast unclean
Haraam but supposedly cleansed
For Saul and sundry all
Now with new age meaning?
Should we not unmindful be
Of Auschwitz slaughterhouse
It’s only a pig?

–By Roop Misir

Housekeeping

I was walking one day
along the sea shore
my feet got tangled
in long sheets of cotton
at the bottom
cloth shrouded rocks
and broken bamboo sticks …

Looked out to sea
saw a baby seal
stuck in tossed tire
there goes a shark, struggling
sawed-off fins for shark-fin soup
beauty just butchered
shot him in the head
least I can do
Six-pack plastic rings
floating translucent
who cares if they cause
slow starvation deaths
same with discarded fish-nets

Strolled around a lake
man-made this one
saw a swan standing
so pure among her peers
fish-hook dug deep into her slender neck
glistening cat-gut, dangling short
slashed by the owner
who just wanted his line back

Asthmatic factories
belching gray-black cancer
bulging clinics
with their used needles and pricks
spewing waste matter
into the sea-residents’ platter

Mercury levels on the rise
keep digging for more gold
oil-slicks, cans, bottles …
toxic-wastes, barrel-placed below
the sea a veritable garbage dump
for all; floating free
And we keep our homes clean
Oh so, soooo clean!!!
– Leni (Naleni) Singh 03-19-06, 5:30am

earths rape

I just woke up
in the old age of lost youth
the motion punched me
with thousands of little deaths
Where did it all go?

Human maggots sucked Life
leaving only claws of desperation
Stripped all that they touched and
killed all that had triumphed
What chaotic parody ordained such destruction?

I then looked up and saw
blue skies stained and
falling rain soured
Earth cried for through the years
she gave birth, and, those of her
human children swallowed
their eco-siblings, O n e by O n e
I skewered shut my eyes.

– Leni(Naleni) Singh
1996 (edited 5/30/06)

To Sleep Hungry and Cold

Some hug their parents
Others in holes in want
Too chilled to the bone
Or dying, dead or can’t
Abandoned or left alone

How sad to fall in this plight
Homeless and was never taught
Only and lonely to be caught
As child-parent without an end
Abandoned and nowhere to fend

And meanwhile the world
Debating, meet and discus
War-mongers in the UN flailing
To help the aids enigma thus
Tsunami victims still hurting

Millions go to sleep
On earthen floors
Amidst bugs and rat infestation
With no cures
To the bondage and corruption

What is Santa going to bring me?
As western children today ask
Of parents who dumped surplus
Kissing babies in another mask
Behaving normal without a fuss

And the world goes on
Late debating until tomorrow
Children go to bed so hungry and cold
With parents drowned in sorrow
Hoping someone will break this mold

And before you go
To your warm bed tonight
Thousands would surely die1
Of starvation before day-light
As many ask why! Why!!?

– Naraine Datt


alive as you and me

i dreamed last night i saw joe hill
alive as you and me
but joe I said you’re ten years dead
I never died said he

– joan baez

i dreamed last night i saw rodney
borning one people on bourda green
but walter i said you’re decades dead
i never died said he

i dreamed last night i saw father darke
photoing guy christ on his guy cross
but father i said you’re decades dead
i never died said he

i dreamed last night i saw bola
his blood staining the box at sixty-three
but ram i said you’re decades dead
i never died said he

i dreamed last night i saw kaywana
wombing one gene pool of many bloods
but kaywana i said you’re centuries dead
i never died said she

– Joe Drepaul

War. War. Everywhere is War

It’s a bloody bloody mess
In Guyana
Iraq
Varanasi
Here and there and everywhere
Eruption of violence
Making no sense
It’s fashionable to shake the rattle
To do battle
In Agricola
With no positive response but palabra

What a mess!
A bloody bloody mess
Children of these lands everyday
Know no other way
They are born in violence
What is their future
If they know nothing else?

Listen to a man of real valor
Gandhi:
Liberty and democracy
become unholy
when their hands
are dyed red with innocent blood
.”

See how they brainwash:
Pray, dear children of the flock
Devotees of the churches
Your blessing will overflow
The more you tithe
And the less you know
So it is written
In the good book
Lest you be smitten
Just give, don’t look

And when you hear them say
“We are spreading peace and democracy”
Humor them for their lunacy
Humor them in pretence
And on your face let a shadow overlay
The scorn; and offer no recompense
They are not champions
Of democracy and peace
They sell their souls
And willingly they would their body
To find the kind of release
Only harlots and whores
With unshaken jowls
Can fool you with similar story

Too much hate
Reinforced by Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Now it’s my turn and your right
Ask them how they sleep at night
Through ‘lies, lies, and damned lies’
The sanctity of life it defies

Too much hate
Stop
Before it’s too late

Strive for peace
Remember Spinoza:
Peace is not the absence of war;
it is a virtue;
a state of mind;
a disposition for benevolence;
confidence;
and justice
.”

Gary Girdhari
09 march 06 11:30 pm


cell phone syndrome

An aching ear?
A tooth ache?
I wonder
Looking near
And yonder
Out of the subway
Out of the bus
From a hard day
Into the car
Even if near or far
Walking
Smiling
Talking speaking
Frenzied soliloquizing
Unhinging unsettling…
Like the acousi in a flurry
With one-track focus
They scurry
New acquired hand-neck deformity?
A vision of silent conformity?
Communication technology
In business or idle babble
Here to stay
So they say
Even for babblers just out of the cradle
At work
At home
Local
Or roam
Now diagnosed: the cell phone syndrome.

Gary Girdhari


Goodbye

Death, you asked me the question
“What would you do if…?”
What profoundness in its absurdity
“What would I do?”
how can me mortal augur
the bile rose and i pushed and
i shoved and your voice was quelled.

You didn’t let me rest
slammed me seventeen suns later
“What would you do if…?”
what damnation; what pain;
are my thoughts going mad?
I must be dreaming
no, no, my eyes are wide open –
I’m staring at the morning sky.

Oh beautiful day
people are smiling
we are smiling
lazy, lazy day
Phone rang, oh just another call
“Hello, are you home?” “Can you leave?”
“Is there someone there with you?”
“There’s been an accident.”
with each word your punches flew
boxer’s aim.

Can’t stand, i’m rubber
“Are you still there?”
“Don’t worry, it’s not serious.”
But I knew she was gone
“That’s okay, i’m fine.” click
rubber, i’m rubber
stone, i’m stone
numb, i’m numb
acid tears, i’m acid tears
slowly melting, slowly melting…
my answer: “what would I do if my
mama dies before me?”
still melting….

Leni (Naleni) Singh
02-10-06 – 11a.m.

Drink From My Calabash

You came to my house
As sneaky as mouse
I offer you water in my calabash
I’m open I have nothing to stash
You felt bad maybe
I aroused your curiosity
What a simple life I live
I have nothing to give
‘Cause I gave you water in a calabash
Which I use to cook and to wash
I am not rich - I do not horde
I give you what I can afford
I do not make false promises
And do not live up to the Joneses
The calabash came from a tree
And it’s clean and healthy
It was not made by man
It came from the land
Man has to go back to the basics
Put aside science and physics
And try his bleddy darn best
To be sincere and honest
And use the truth for his cure
And take a lesson from Nature.

Norman Datt
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