For Scratch

Filing past to offer respect to the remains
of the giant who slept in a casket so small
you would have thought it was built for a child
still dressed in his red schoolboy cap and rings
that bedazzled spirits to give up secrets
whispered into the ears of machines
that surrounded him like a wall against a world
that grew more insane with each revolution,
where he offered libations of blood and whiskey
and spun a swirl of sound thick as the clouds
of Lamb’s Bread Colly that blessed his studio.
For only a master of silence could create
a sound so heavy it could shatter notes
into thousands of I-ncient echoes, and, yes,
so light it could lift countless careless Ethiopians
out of their rent-a-tile trance into a space
that obeyed the commandments of dub
and followed his angels past the rat-a-tat-tat
of Sly’s drum kit, the bright allure of Glenn’s horn
into the sonic boom of his craft entering the fire
of our atmosphere,  the orbit of nature’s grace.

Geoffrey Philp is the author of five books of poetry, two novels, two collections of short stories, and three children’s books. His poems have been published in The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse, sx salon, The Johannesburg Review of Books, Bearden’s Odyssey Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden, and Crab Orchard Review. A recipient of the Luminary Award from the Consulate of Jamaica (2015), Philp’s work is featured on The Poetry Rail at The Betsy in an homage to 12 writers that shaped Miami culture. In 2022 Philp was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal by the Council of the Institute of Jamaica for outstanding merit in the field of literature. He is currently working on a children ‘s book, “My Name is Marcus” and his poetry collection Archipelagos has just been published by Peepal Tree Press.