Thought-Flotilla

A depression sinks
Thick teeth into my bay.

Brazen, sharply emblazoned
Within my beacon’s sleep,

One final action
Before the king of myself

Exiled himself in a fit of treason
To his most inhospitable island in

Far rough southern waters
Beyond starry St Helena and

Tar-deep lavas of
Tristan de Cunha,

And even beyond the other island
Of shimmering immateriality

And such impossible wealth,
With more lakes than land,

More puffins than people
And fathers’ mouths

Mastic with less teeth in number
Than they bequeathed children,

And statues of elders
Each chiselled with just one foot;

Well, he commissioned hundreds
Of such pitch-pots over

Coastal paths and marshland routes
To alert his nation’s duties

Towards resurgent armadas,
A thought-flotilla

With canons trained
On peace and seasons,

On woodlands and hope,
On fisheries and reasons,

I woke to an ocean of
Platitudes in old Spanish

And also Greek calligraphy.
Blood on my wrist,

Alpha is Omega
In this new script.

Why do I enjoy numerically
These blood-clot sensations,

These idyllic notions
Beyond posts of my death.

Guadeloupe

Our little band, our merry troupe
Had just arrived in Guadeloupe
Filled with mirth and junipers.

Island clouds, mangrove lush,
A chartered man from the Hindu Kush
Landed us where a giant dune occurs

As high as three knees of the God
Of Iguanas, verdant mountains at odds
In their majesty with smaller dwellings

Of colibri, territorial, proudly emblematic
Of a land where a slightly rheumatic
Castilian caraveller (and with swellings)

Imported moose to banish snakes
Like San Patricio of the Lakes,
Only those Eurasian deer grazing would devour

With gazes obtuse as atheists as they chewed
All native flora and fauna viewed
A few hundred years ago, an hour

Of ingestion at a time, and no longer.
At the harbour I found a fishmonger,
Lobsters as bright as the famed red paint

In the sacristy and the credo
Of Santa María de Toledo,
He boiled the claws and prayed to his saint.

In a fever my genuflecting libido
Summoned dreams in a white tuxedo
Worn in that club at Les Abymes –

(The club they told me not to frequent,
Entrance shaped like a one-eyed serpent),
Where a barman garnished a large Ti’Punch for me,

Where a Caribbean singer
Whose hips within my view would linger
Gave birth to the shape of Guadeloupe.

I woke in a deep and heated sweat
And for a moment I would forget
That I had not flown before, nor my troupe,

Nor travelled to her sheltering lore
Where I lost my mind before
On the blue shores of Marie Galante,

And in that hazy nightclub smoke
Holding someone’s panetelas, I woke
In the concave dreams of an Ashanti

Slave-trader, only I was the slave
And he softly spoke and gave
Advice which has ruined me to this day,

For I was to be imprisoned in his seam,
Neither stirred nor sleeping with a beam,
But somewhere in between the fray.

Still, somewhere out beyond my prison cell
My people there have smiles to quell
Storms which filled a holy stoup

Of less green seas, their hills of gold,
Where rains remain our friends of old,
We steered our flight, to Guadeloupe.





Dina Morgabin

These kisses we missed
In other lives elsewhere,
These exquisite moments,

No wonder we arrived
At inevitable reunions where
I dreamed for years

Of lifting you up in my arms,
Passionate embraces,
Time repaired.

For as long as the seas
In our heritage are green,
And as long as the skies

Are propped by the dreams
Of atlases may we continue
To breathe and complete

The abstract truths
Dormant within our ribs
For such profound time

We almost forgot we exist.
My focus here is solely on
Your beauty and your gifts,

Your experiences,
Harmonising pleasure,
Retuning the truth

To satisfy the needs
Of an uncompassed ocean.
Here on this island,

Here with your bliss,
Now and forever
We will exist.

West Island

A misty creek,
Derelict fishing fleets,
Salt marshes.
A quay where
Lifeboatmen
Would take their leave
To make a widow
From a wife
And orphans
From children.

Main town
Slips by,
Little more than
A row of tightly
Huddled cottages
Asleep beneath a
Precipice, one street
Along the front,
A couple of boarded-up
Empty pubs, I could not

Tell too well as
Through the low-hanging
Clouds gripping
Like lobsters’ mouths
The shells of our minds
There are no lights
Discernible, no life.
We sail on, for some
Parts of these islands
Are only reachable

By waterways
And rising currents.
There is no ferry
These days from
Mainland ports;
Abandoned, an
Airstrip resigned
To weeds, brambles,
An empty map.
There are no trees here,

Nothing higher than
Shoulders of shrubs.
Routinely, unforgivingly
That renowned mist
Which tourists
Fought to see
Now blinds islanders,
Abducts their tastebuds
And tactful languages.
Waves make funnelled

Wrong-way passages,
A distant alarm
Sounds in reverse,
We observed the
Crewless lifeboat return,
Hauled by our yearning
Thoughts up ramps, into
Its empty station.
There is nothing left
But waiting.