Hood Top

TANYA SHIRLEY

Some big fat gyal cyaan handle buddy
yet still waan ride pon Kabasaki, mawga slim
gyal cyaan tek winery . . . hood top, hood top
if you love bike back, hood top.
Shabba Ranks

Your buddy is not a bike.
The feel of this body bending into corners
isn’t the same as you cornering this womb.
Left, right, a flashlight searching for your ego.

The cocked-up batty on a bike, the naked body,
the carnival-clad body is not begging
for the hard death of hammering by a hood top
or the remedy of killing nonstop, sending me up
like a rocket, a gunshot.

Our mawga bones wining to the ground
are not bass and lyrics for your lust.
Let us be our own selectors, riding hoods and bikes
as we please without pressure to prove these bones
won’t break.

A man grinding the air between us said,
Fatty, when I done wid yuh, yuh haffi call ambulance.
My fat, clearly a challenge, so many pounds to plunge,
to pound, to pounce upon, so many chances to win.
Which woman dreams of sirens?


Tanya Shirley has published two poetry collections: She Who Sleeps With Bones (Peepal Tree Press, 2009) and The Merchant of Feathers (Peepal Tree Press, 2014). She is a featured poet on http://www.poetryarchive.org. She has read her poems and conducted writing workshops in Venezuela, Canada, the U.S.A., England, Scotland and the Caribbean. Shirley was awarded an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland, USA. She teaches in the Department of Literatures in English at The University of the West Indies, Jamaica. She has been writer-in- residence twice at Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe and is a proud Cave Canem Fellow. Her second poetry collection, The Merchant of Feathers, was longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and shortlisted for the Guyana Prize for Literature, Caribbean Award. In 2017 she was awarded a Silver Musgrave Medal from The Council of the Institute of Jamaica for her outstanding contribution in the field of Literature.

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