Poems From Ground Level

By Jennifer Rahim

Turn from Dark

Who will be guardian
of the season’s turn from dark
when we sell so cheaply the lining
behind every cloud?

Who will make noise,
point the accusing finger,
risk losing a head
for those fallen among us?

Who will dare
stir Carter? Write, now,
the poetry of bread,
put aside decency’s level
to stand in rank
with poems that bawl-out,
shout what even the trees
will un-bare like the ravaged
belly of Matura?

Those poems will come
spit-fire like that father
crowned with his dread-
authority
let his word
drop
on the conscience of a nation,
demanding justice for more
than his no-saint son:
“Not so! Not PO-lice,
NO-BODY
must take
a life so”

his right grief rattling
every undefended bone

while we watch the screen

DUMB

II

Six-dollar High

red band maxi
en route to the city,

keeping time
to the road’s zesty line.

the driver, a born again
wanna-be Usher

watching we
watch him lock down

and shades up,
loving his cool air-

condition ride
from Arima,

lavender fresh
piping through the vents,

we sailing easy
in three o’clock

beat
down
heat

TIME BANDIT
eating the Priority.

inside is grey-
tint-comfort, clean

semi-recline seats,
alleluia non-stop on CD

and before eye
could blink twice we fly –

by Curepe’s madman
pantomime, past

the brewery where Carib
brand is sky,

then the woman,
stranded by the Quazay

begging for change –
addict dry.

but the twenty-four seater
close its eyes, praying

for the green, praying –
race on BANDIT,

don’t stand here, Brother
juice the accelerator,

don’t stop this smooth
six-dollar high

III
Pelicans at Evening

(for Pat Bishop)

Pelicans,
as many as seven,
steadfast as pointers
press heaven,
push east along Toco’s
unquiet run of coast.

News comes here
unhurried
as the beat
of ample wings
holds the eye true
to evening’s fall.

Now, –

when an ocean’s peace
is gathered into beaks
that could deliver
the miracle of a child,

I hear you are gone.

And what is this word
bequeathed us
as you pass into earth ? –

Our souls full yet
with every
bold
and fragile
note
you shepherded to birth –
not one
orphaned
or unformed sound
left unhoused.

So Miss B.,
what is this nothing
as you go your way
to Mucurapo?

What parting gift –
your baton’s final command?
Our tongues stilled,
grief left broke,
for your wanting
no more
than servant’s pay,
wanting too
a sunflower’s witness
at the close
of your giving days.

In this crude season
of curfew
from ourselves,
your cowbell’s
chosen metre
is perfect song, you
knowing well
Silence earned strikes
the purest note,
speaks clearest,
being free
of all regard ,
being free blesses
with its own question.

So, Sister Pat,
is it that you saved
your best wine
for last? –

Saved us
from our noise.

Your passing’s ripe Art –

this holy hush
as that arcane flock journeys
routinely home.

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