SEWE WANGALA (A KALENDA)
- first part -
Sewe wangala bondye ba-mwen, woy
(God, hide the wanga for me)
robber man don’t get me
don’t blow me out down
wey they beat silver fish
on the east dry river
we come like ripe
guava when it season
full it ripe
and it drop like
a 12 gauge shot that shatt-
er the rain soakt wings
of our mountain gods.
young blood seep up on the sea and float foam
from brain coral
where my brother reel
reel so reel that the paddle broke
and tumble down
cliff and stony crocus bound
with the snakeskin mask and the kid-
nap bush hid in Orinoco navel string
robber man don’t lock my neck round
silence of my innermost
robber boy don’t make mud clog the tracks I cross river bank
don’t sell my eyes for sand puppet teeth
don’t seed my seppy for ransom
don’t brug my neck with
my ruse with barbed river time
fix my suffer with jumbie symposium
grief my root with rumours of wounds
le we pounce on wild quenk and gouti
make we shuffle in the jungles
spic and span a comin
spic and span mama
hide the magic
wanga: magical fighting stick
wabeen: A small ravine fish
Frizzle neck chickens pick padlocks under the cinema
midday Saturday when it hot in the cob
and that chicken shit buzz from the chopping board when
man watchin’ Chen Sing kick-up.
In the cinema the ground build tilt, the wall shaky-shaky
sound bounce round like few hundred radio
The film stock zog-up zog-up
(like chicken scratch it)
It jagged and it bruise
when man watching Shoalin Temple.
And the soundtrack get contaminate
with taxi horn an’ bicycle engine,
the market shout and the dub wax pump –
the heifers in the abattoir bawling.
pie mans slapping palm.
coconut head that slash.
cuss an’ cut an’ planass pass
get mix with the Wong Fan death-grip, drunken
monkey wrist, the praying mantis.
But the screen heng like curtain that twist
an’ kick missing instep
like chicken missing neck.
planass: to strike with the flat part of a cutlass
excerpt from THE MYST
My brother become the myst that night. He put his boots on.
(just out of reach is a long way to stretch, outsider status no string vest).
He fixed his mask. He slid a brittle edged gilpin cutlass into the sleeve
he pullt from his belt. Under arm grip his cow itch pouch and he ran through
the bush upper Kandahar hill.
(Joy juice that do it.)
He had been planning this arrival since May. And now his bulk was proper.
His gullet root tough. For months I watched, when he let me, and when he
didn’t, see me peep, as he assembled his implements. For the suit he
dyed and synthesized
tarpaulin|pure black with sandbox root, his gloves he proofed with
banga seed heart,
his jackboot steel he sanded off sheen. Bacano milk did his dada head:dread.
The mask made last with perforated pigskin leather, waxed and mold on his
sleeping head, with shallow holes for hooks and eyes
I saw him churn ol’iron on the riverbank morning, then he swam under
with a single column of breath and came back with handfuls of armoured cascadura.
He drunk duck egg, nog and cowheel porridge till the muscle to leap in his
legs grew across the width of one of five rivers. His cryptic grip was wire
bent, his speed through jungle: elastic. His cutlass slap would spin heads
around. His battle stance was brute and bad minded. Sudden so he get grim&snarling
when he put his suit on, and he mount the steep incline like a lizard.
By hurricane candlelight
her calloused fingers thread
Anthony Joseph is a poet, musician and lecturer. He was born
in Trinidad, moving to the UK in 1989. He is the author of two poetry collections: Desafinado (1994)
and Teragaton (1997) and a novel The African Origins of UFOs (Salt,
2006). In 2004 he was selected by the Arts Council of England for the historic ‘Great
Day’ photo as one of fifty Black and Asian writers who have made major
contributions to contemporary British literature and in 2005 he was the British
Council’s first Poet in residence at California State University, Los
Angeles. As a spoken word artist he has performed internationally, including
The Chicago Humanities Festival, Festa International De La Literatura, Barcelona,
Spain, UCLA, Howard University, Washington and London’s Queen Elizabeth
Hall. He has taught creative writing at London Metropolitan University, University
of Surrey, Roehampton and currently lectures at South Thames College, London.
[ Top | More Poetry ]