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from Spain Town to outer space and other poems


from Spain Town to outer space

clad in khaki and hush puppy shoes
young boy with old man walk
I  hunt the Thursday-new comics

from the magazine rack
in Victory drugstore on Cumberland Avenue
to that dark shop on Adelaide Street
where comics hang like clothes on a line
I trod these narrow Spain Town streets
my wide open head
smeared across galaxies

and night time in the churchyard
bed just steps away
from the claphand congregation
tambourines and tongues
of fire
as lullabies
my closing eyes
open doors

to multiverse
interstellar void


love story # 8

we approach this love like armies
marching in the open but
wearing disguises
we hide our armour
beneath designer high class ghetto chic
replace our voices
with mass produced auto-tuned
mating calls
and as we move together
to the gunshot music
we mistake the grind and grate
of metal on metal
for the kiss
and hiss
of skin on skin


church sister

scars and scabs hidden
beneath band-aid pages
of holy books
she runs for refuge
to the warm comfort
the dark dis-comfort
of dogma

in the choir
tight eyed
she strains for the purity
of that higher note
searching for the
chapter-and verse
to end all aches
yearning for the promise
the golden land
the light

the light is
that naked bulb in the back room
and pastor’s holy
burning gaze

Mbala is a poet/ percussionist / visual artist. He has worked in theatre as set and graphic designer and musician for Sistren Theatre Collective and other Jamaican theatre groups and has created and played music for a number of the University of the West Indies French Drama productions directed by Jean Small as well as for one woman shows by Jean Small and Amina Blackwood-Meeks . His poetry is included in several anthologies – “The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse “, “Wheel and Come Again” and others, and his collection “Light in a Book of Stone” was published by Calabash Literary Festival Trust as part of its Chapbook Series. He plays with the percussion group “Akwaaba De Drummers “ and with saxophonist / flautist Hugh “Papi” Pape performs as the jazz / improv duo “ The Papiumba Big Band “.
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