When We Die

Sara Bastian 

What happens when we die? Do we forget? Do we reincarnate into something else?  Were we human to begin with? When we die… do they forget? 

Heat swirls into my skin as soon as I step off the plane. I walk in with tourists. Tourists in floppy straw hats and Red Sox baseball caps, tourists in shorts embellished with tiny anchors, tourists with pre-packaged tans they’d sprayed or rubbed onto their frosty skin the night before. Tourists already moaning about the eighty-degree heat once they deboard the plane. They have prepared for everything except the sensation of heat stomping onto their skin.  

“Mom, it’s so hot. When are we going to the hotel?” 

“I know. It’s only for a while, okay? As soon as we walk inside the airport it’ll be cooler.” 

“Will everyday be this hot?” 

“Maybe. I don’t know.” 

“Why don’t you know?” 

“Because we don’t live here, bud.” 

They will rummage through their bags—hot off the carousel— for sunscreen, but sunscreen cannot hinder heat. The heat bruises them. They are unsure which bothers them most—the stomping heat or the black and blue impression of bruising it will leave. 

They sojourn to preserve. To dwell in such heat would kill them, send them spiralling. Every day they would have to run into the ocean and coat their bodies in the clear blue water—the water they marvel at from the sky. From above, their infatuation with my home reaches its peak. When they sleep in their unforgettably white hotel sheets, they’ll dream of looking down. 

“Wow. It’s so blue. Look, babe, look at the water! God, have you ever seen water so blue?” She stares down in awe, her green eyes wide and ready to wander. 

“All water is blue.” He laughs and pats the miniature beer belly that rests underneath his Patriots t-shirt. 

“Just look! This is the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. It’s probably the best view we’ll ever get.” 

“It’s pretty blue… what a rip off, though. All of this money just to get the best view on the plane.” He repositions his shades from the top of his head to his face and grumbles, “The rum better be good.” 

It must be different from up there, but I am unsure. Up there, I close my eyes and dream of being down below. From my dreams, I place myself outside of the airport with my luggage, waiting for my mummy to pick me up and take me home.

Home heat home. As soon as I deboard the plane, heat encompasses me and caresses my back before sending me into the artificial chill of the airport. I’ve forgotten such comfort.

What happens when we die? 

The heated island will be engulfed by the sea. Other countries will mourn and blame the climate crisis. “If only, those people didn’t live near the ocean. They should’ve moved when they had the chance. Anyway, it was bound to happen. Isn’t that how life goes? …It was just their time.” 

They’ll send their helicopters to watch us bob up and down, arms flailing, begging for the heat and its caress. With each pleading gasp, we’ll swallow salty water, seaweed, and minuscule sea creatures. News reporters will wave at their cameras for attention—they must tell the world what they’re seeing. A white woman in a blood-red suit will swing slowly from a ladder, beaming up at the camera pointing downwards at her. Blurred in the background, we’ll sink. 

They’ll marvel at it all and wonder how she hasn’t fallen yet. They’ll pray for her safety. With or without prayers, she’ll be okay. The corporation’s ladders were built to hold her up, blood-red power suit and all.

Years later, they’ll come back. They’ll come back and wonder what happened. Rumors will spread about a Canadian family that survived on a hidden cay. News outlets will call them miraculous. “How lucky are they? I guess the ocean didn’t want them or the cay. …Coming up next, this year’s biggest Black Friday sales.”

Do we reincarnate into something else? 

When people ask how much longer I have left, I tell them I’ll be done in December. They inquire about my future. To be abroad is not to be psychic. “Not sure yet,” I tell them. “Whatever you do, don’t come back here,” they advise. They laugh, but there is no joy beneath it. Home is swallowing itself. Home is lamenting its own departure with the waves. The Bahamas is no place for the future. I try to laugh, but sorrow swallows me silently. How ironic. 

I have spent enough time tottering between home and elsewhere to know that sometimes it is better to sit still for a while. To breathe. But I cannot. Didn’t you hear me? Home is swallowing itself. When I return home in December, people ask me what I’m going to do next. They continue to pester me about my future. They ask if I plan to go back or to stay home. I shrug, mumble something about eventualities, and remind them of my unsureness. Homecoming is not meant to outlive the holidays. For a homecoming to be respectable, it must cease. We must leave again to seek out something better, a place where the waves will not gulp down buildings. A place where the sea minds its manners and knows not to trespass. 

The illusion of relaxation, of paradise that did not exist outside of their resorts. Paradise existed because it had to; because it funded the people.

The descendants of these tourists will not fly onto our land that they once believed was theirs. They will float their way into our waters, the waters their ancestors coated their bodies in when the heat was too much, when they feared they would be blackened and blued. They will float on devices that resemble land—devices that can be both land and claimants of the sea (and its people). 

The sea sprouts seashell spawns of soon-to-be spectacles. There will be tourists waiting above water to behold our gills and fins passed down to us by the miniature sea creatures we swallowed and swallowed until we sank. The news reporters will have told them we perished with our land. No memorials will have been held. The tourists will have instead reminisced about their time on the island. The food. The poolside service from blurry-faced waiters they would’ve quickly forgotten. The illusion of relaxation, of paradise that did not exist outside of their resorts. Paradise existed because it had to; because it funded the people. The clear blue water. So clear that after we would have drifted below the surface, they won’t bother to search, to excavate. There is no more land… what else would they take?

The Canadian family will be rescued by the Royal Canadian Navy and they will tell a tale of a magical Negro mermaid who saved their child from drowning. Anthropologists will return to the sunken island on their boats and submarines. Billionaires will follow with natives who fled before the crisis struck. Out of curiosity and the promise of money, the former natives will agree to test new pills that allow them to sprout temporary fins and gills. Most of them will drown. Not in the way we will have drowned. The ocean will spit them back up and they’ll float above us like buoys with their rib cages emerging from skin and fins protruding from the back of their necks. The water around them is nowhere near blue. 

Edouard Duval Carrié. Birth of Aqowe 53 x 55” Acrylic in artist frame, 2010

The Billionaires will try again until it is foolproof. They’ll sell the “Ariel Pills” at Walgreens and CVS. The tourists will return. They know the water well— their ancestors would have told them about it and how clear it was and how much better it was now without the heated land. How beautiful it was. Our dwelling will not dissuade them from entering. They have the same abilities as us, only they are able to control when they wish to swim with fins or with feet. Somehow, they are always able to be both tourist and native, but not our kind of native—their kind. It is an unfathomable power. 

Anyway, it’s sweltering. They cannot stand to sit on their yachts and cruise ships all day. They will dive into the sea—their never-ending, consistently cooling escape. 

Were we ever human to begin with?

Around town, I spy with my bleached-by-abroad eyes, something that is brown. Something that is black. Soon, the bleach falls asunder. I spy with my brown eyes, something … familiar. Bodies that belong in the sun. Bodies that belong to the sun, to the sea. 

They’ll swim and stare. At first, the tourists won’t get too close to us. Unable to communicate with one another, they’ll swim with glow sticks. (I wonder if they’ll know about our ability to wash out bright, white lights).

 Down there, we won’t ever need them. We’ll communicate telepathically and the ocean will whisper directions. We’ll listen to Her. She’ll tell us that we’re not bound to this area of the world. We’ll tell her that our ancestors are here. Besides, anywhere else, would be too cold or too unfamiliar. 

Over time, the tourists will swim closer and closer. Many of us will insist on staying. Others will leave to a more desolate area or wherever the ocean leads. Every time the foreign children tug at my fins and fish their fingers into my gills, I’ll contemplate leaving. 

But then, the sun will peek through the water and shine onto our sunken island and I’ll hold on. I’ll remember the warmth. The heat.

We’ll all hold on. Just a little too long. Before we know it, we’ll be people of the sea, hooked and reeled onto yachts. Before we know it, our gills will be split open and our fins will be plucked. Before we know it, the remainder of our bodies will be tossed into the ocean. We’ll sink, again, onto our already sunken land.

I never forget the cold in contrast with the sun. I curse it. I call it mediocre. I call it an abomination. I always forget the sun in contrast with the cold. I grieve. I yearn. I forget. 

When we die, why do they forget?

Sara Bastian is a writer from Nassau, Bahamas. She’s a recent graduate of Emerson College in Boston, MA.

Buchibushi

Adam Patterson 

I.
 
I was weeding the back garden and thinking about you – 
you, 
stranger of the fields, 
fugitive farmer, 
runaway planter marooned from your dirt, 
mud golem of a land mistaken, crowned 
with the same drought swelling on our minds. 
 
When the river dried up to clots of broken earth and 
a nameless throw of stones, 
the last patch of swamp-mud, resistant in its shade, 
did all it could 
to keep its moisture safe. 
 
For the mud had never been dumb; 
it was only silent. 
 
With too much flood over there 
and too much drought over here, 
the dirt could no longer afford to prolong 
the refusal of its dumbness. 
 
Fresh out of silence, 
mud imagined itself otherwise. 
 
Its memory deranged, mud would produce you 
in the mondi
with the haste of illicit prayers and 
the elation of a seed. 
 
When the dirt takes to planting, one can’t help but wonder 
what the dirt might seek to weed.
 
 
 
II. 
 
You were weeding your wilderness and thinking about the town – 
a shirt of wet cement yoked around your neck;
a stone duppy 
cast to keep you knelt. 
 
You had no anger for the pavement’s crops; 
fleas on your back, worms in your belly. 
 
No, 
you had no frenzy 
for these poisons turning in your caves. 
You just wanted to plant a different future for yourself. 
 
 
 
Planting aloe was not a revenge—
you couldn’t know of such plots.
 
You were a poet of the plough 
and a griever of the dirt and, given your symptoms, 
aloe seemed like it would do the trick. 
 
No, 
aloe was certainly not a revenge; 
bandage and tombstone are not planted out of vengeance. 
 
Mourning your limbs 
festered to the grip of deferred futures and lost harvests, 
maybe the tearful goo of aloe would at least preserve 
the remains. 
 
It was only a practical hope you could manage, 
rattling in the mouth of your trowel; 
the secret that you would outlive us all, even if only 
in remains. 
 
 
 
The story goes that we hang aloe by the trestles of our verandas 
upside-down 
to keep the duppies away. 
 
The story goes that we rest aloe 
under our pillows 
to keep bad dreams away. 
 
So, 
when you’re planting beds of aloe, 
weeding your wilderness and dreaming – 
 
of poison pavements, 
plastic islands, 
ceaseless droughts and 
hurricanes 
no longer curbed to seasons
 
are these nightmares 
the weeds you intend to uproot?
 
 
III.
 
No, 
planting aloe was not a revenge, only a reassurance 
and a remembrance. 
 
Each finger of the crop would keep 
your vision watered. 
 
When the dirt takes to planting 
while tending to its wounds, 
yours is the task of sowing other futures 
in the concrete topsoil of a soon weeded world.  
 
And when the poem refuses to believe 
and slimes to aloes in our hands, 
yours is the task of awakening the crop, 
you, mournful farmer of now barren lands. 
 
 

The Whole World is Turning

I am not separate from her    there is no place where I stop
[…]   all of it is now   it is always now
 
— Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

We could feel you coming 
in Sahara dust and your breath 
against our necks. 
 
That being said, 
we have never known breath on a neck to feel 
like cutlass. 
 
And we have never known a love like yours 
from cutlass. 
 
 
 
There was the funny feeling that the sky was watching us from afar 
with a hungry, hungry eye. 
 
Your arrival was known when that same eye 
looked more like a hole
and an insatiable one at that
its lids a lock of lips 
ready to nyam and smack 
our little islands 
our little worlds
our backyard mutts
the petty defiance of our homes 
the hesitant kindling of our bodies. 
 
We don’t blame you, Sis, really. 
 
You were a guest of unscrupulous appetites 
but a guest nonetheless. And cursing you for coming 
would be a foolishness 
not unlike calling the sea a murderer or
worse yet 
a god. 
 
Let’s tell each other where it hurts, Sis. 
Let’s tell each other where to love.
 
 
 
It’s the kind of love a dog gives; 
an obscene dedication 
ruled by feedings. 
 
You couldn’t help the smothering 
as you didn’t know what was happening 
to you or your kin. 
 
And the same could be said for us, 
the people at the shoreline of the end of the world; 
or
at least
at the end of this world.
 
Turning from 
a world we had learned to love in to 
a world we would learn to die in, 
 
it’s good to know that you’re right here with us. 
 
 
 
You couldn’t know what they were doing to you and
consequently
what you 
and they
were doing to us. 
 
 
 
Sis, 
what could they have done to you to make your love so unbearable? 
What could we have done to deserve this; 
 
this queering of our lives?
this queering of our love? 
 
Now that they know they’re doing this to us, 
why don’t they stop? 
 
 
 
We used to be one inside each other. 
 
You could see inside us and
in turn
we could see inside you. 
 
We still see you, Sis, 
even though you’ve grown, 
even though they fed you more than we could ever afford to, 
even though your tickles now laugh like centipedes, 
even though our knees burst from the seat you take in our laps and 
even though we tread water in your deranged love—
 
We still see you, Sis! 
 
Hurting from your swollen eye, 
you can’t see we’re hurting too, Sis, 
can you? 
 
Even though they took your sight away 
and you turned so much 
we couldn’t hold you anymore, 
we still see you! 
 
 
 
Look how much you’ve changed, Sis, 
isn’t it incredible? 
 
They’ve queered you and 
they’ve queered us—
it’s wild, right? 
 
Sis, 
when you’ve turned the tables and
once we’ve left this world ungrieved,
let them know who sent you
 
and send our love onwards 
just as you have loved us
 
with a most devastating commitment.

Adam Patterson is a visual artist and writer based between Barbados, London & Rotterdam. They like telling new stories or rethinking old stories in new recuperative ways. Working across a variety of media including masquerade, video, critical writing, poetry and performance. Patterson’s works have been exhibited at the Live Art Development Agency and Jerwood Space, London; the Barbados Museum & Historical Society and Fresh Milk Arts Platform, Barbados; Roodkapje, Rotterdam; Ateliers ’89, Aruba and Alice Yard, Trinidad & Tobago. Their writing has been featured by Fresh Milk Arts Platform, ARC Magazine, Sugarcane Magazine, PREE, Mister Motley and Metropolis M. 

Teach yi How ta Swim

Tanicia Pratt

For Mary Pratt
Tanicia Pratt voicing her poem

All my chirren is leave aftee sometime
an once dey does go
dey does don’t come back
sometime
all a mine is come back yinno?
sometime dey is don’t wan go
til dey have dey own chirren
and sometime
when dey chirren have dey chirren 
yeah.

     but yuse don’t check fa me like dat man
     not like how yi use ta check fa me – I memba
     yi use ta mussy come roun every Sundee
     now it look like yi caught up in all kin’a teengs 
     but I still happy I get ta see yuh
     oh I happy yi come cus dese chirren don’t come round like dat
     an I sure dey don’t even bring dey chirren

            yi eat? I tink I could find sum’m hea fa yuh

     yeah yi cyaan get too deep up in dese teengs
     soon I een gin be here
     an when I dead afta yi done been in all kin’a teengs 
     yi een wan be cryin and hurtin up yi head

            yi still is eat fish? I tink snapper hea but I een know 
            yi know fish gettin harder ta catch
            yeah.  conch, snapper, grouperI memba yi use ta like 
            when I bake grouper
            but I een know when last grouper catch
            fish een round like dat no more
            das cus dem people is be teefin da fish when dey small
            an everyday dey diggin
            diggin diggin fa sum’n new
            das why yi cyaan let errybody touch yi teengs

            but I gin fix yi sum’n, baby

     I so glad yi come ta see me 
     cus I een been feelin too good 
     yi know dis food don’t be no real food
     an I sure das why I does be havin pains
     das why I does say
     I een know how long I gin be round 
     so make sure yi come check ta see me while I still breathin 

                    yi memba we use ta go ta da beach?
                    yi was always scared yinno
                    so I use ta hold yi in my hand
                    yi ever learn ta float by yiself?
                    I could show yi yinno
                    if yi come back
                    maybe tomorra
                    maybe in da mornin
                    or da late afternoon
                    when it een too much tourist
                    if yi come back hea
                    I gin teach yuh
                    I gin teach yuh jus how ta swim.

Tanicia Pratt is a content writer, poet, and performance artist from The Bahamas. Her writing is a form of memory, archived or unearthed, to depict the many selves of the Caribbean landscape. Pratt’s work has been published by the grace of Palette Poetry, PREE, POUI, Write About Now, Tamarind Journal, among othersShe has performed at Antiquities, Monuments & Museums, the Central Bank of the Bahamas Art Gallery, and the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. Pratt received her BA in Marketing from The University of the Bahamas and is studying her MA in Poetic Practice at Royal Holloway, University of London. 

Wild Thing

Elizabeth Jaikaran

in my parents’ country
they discovered spiders big enough to 
eat small dogs. 

the interior jungles are so 
dense with vegetation. so wild
that the only equivalent to the 
free roaming wild cats are
the hearts of the people who run
beside them, 
and those who have peopled the shore. 

you would laugh, you know?
to know that I used to lament 
that I did not come from resort beaches. 
                                    from umbrella’d drinks and bands
performing in floral button downs.
you see, I did not yet understand what 
it means to be from,
to derive from, 
to contain, 
such a wilderness. a
homeland that is raw and exists
without the interruptions of 
pretty mahals
or havelis. 

this wilderness is so selfless,
it will save you and you won’t even know it.
carving from itself to give to you. 
Chief Kai, 
rowing himself over the falls. believing
he could sacrifice himself 
to save his people. 

who am I to forsake that redemption 
for rum and coke on the beach.
for the lure of bejeweled carnivals and 
sexy turtle bays. 

I come from blazing hot sun. 
I come from a shoreline that flirts with the equator,
wind that makes love with the trees at high noon 
in a most sweltering 
heat that proclaims their passion to the world. 
I come from generations of migrants reduced to 
oral histories that are 
cratered by the fallacy of memory. 
I come from brown and black skin
from bones cracking under the weight of 
finding work.
Any work at all. 

I come from a network of rivers 
with names that command the 
full
use of 
your tongue. 
I come from Potaro and 
Rupunini and 
Mazaruni. 
I come from Demerara. 
and the Demerara gave its blood to give 
sweetness to the world, and bled into me so that I can 
stand
     here
today and say death to the sugar trade 
because?
I am wild.  

Elizabeth Jaikaran is the proud child of Guyanese immigrants. She is a New York-based author and lawyer, with work appearing in Huffington Post, Playboy, The Higgs Weldon, Brown Girl Magazine, Sorjo Magazine, The Muslim Observer, The Jurist, and the New York Law Journal, among other mediums. Her first book, Trauma, was published by Shanti Arts in 2017.

Shinkolobwe, Belgian Congo

Lauren Delapenha

During World War II, the mining town of Shinkolobwe was dropped from maps of the Belgian Congo to protect the secrecy of its uranium ore. This rock would later supply most of the raw materials for the world’s first atomic bombs.

I.

How to erase a place?

The Congolese government tried burning.
The column of smoke was visible 
for miles for days. Did the miners 
dance around the burning town?
Did they smear their skin 
with the soot, the sweat, 
the evidence of toil –
the evidence of sin – 
their only inheritance
from forbears who bit the flesh 
which soiled the hearts of men 
so that, for a piece of cloth, 
a man sold his kin?
Was it the heat from the pit
of that fruit which set 
their limbs to kindling?


II.

The smouldering tree stumps 
were left sticking out of the ground 
like blunted arms –
the handless ones –
limbs could no longer beg 
         but could amuse
smoking in long draws
the way cut stumps which 
still suck the earth for water
point upwards to accuse 
the sky which supplied
the awful oxygen 
both for breathing
and for burning.

III.

      the men emerge 
                      from the mud
              as mud
                      but move
             as gods
                      stepping lightly
   only occasionally 
                      dropping their bodies
       to the ground
                      to hear the rocks
                  breathe

Lauren Delapenha recently completed a Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. She is the recipient of the 2019 Grindstone Literary International Poetry Prize, as well as the joint winner of the 2018 Helen Zell and Jamaica Poet Laureate Young Writer’s Prize for Poetry. She currently lives in Jamaica, where she works as an English tutor and writing coach.

 

 

Reclamation by Water

Ide Thompson

One heated summer when it was clear the world was ending,
but no one knew —

This is how it went that the people reclaimed themselves:

We went about, oblivious like we always did, 
in conviction of our own helplessness, 
aware that the sea was rising, but saying the land will rise to meet,
aware that the sea was emptying of food, but saying,
the sea will bring us a better harvest than before.

There were no riots in the streets,
no calculated plots to blow up our Parliaments, one by one  
till we the people could reclaim our rights to our own creation. 

We did forget that we are part of the sea,
that to remove ourselves from the flow of the currents, 
thinking to take and take and take and not give back was good and natural, 
thinking that the seas at our shores stretching beyond sight
didn’t reach a similar shore of similar people.

When the lights went out in our overcrowded cities,
the water eating away at our coastlines 
that had long become paradise-parades of
the same white sand, 
the same old lady braiding hair with swollen knuckles,
the same young men selling mamey sapote,
the same gleaming hatchet slashing the crowns of coconuts,
gleaming with our water of life,
it should have come as no surprise
that in the end there would only be the sea, 
still, resplendent, motionless,
if we did not reclaim our water.  

The reclamation began with the people,
different groups, all at once, 
bearing the hope of their people,
embracing that while we were not independent 
we are in dependence to each other. 
Remembering, it is water that connects not divides
that water is a bridge  
that water is a book with no end.


Resurrection Morning 

I climbed onto land, wringing my brackish hair 
dry, like I was squeezing sour over fish 
gasping for air. The refuse: splintered 
wood, shattered concrete, twisted trees.
I wrapped my body in this ruination, 
I took oil to sheen my skin, gasoline-perfumed,
sweet-flies wafting on these dead things. 
Their kisses seeding my interior,
a nest of plastic and maggots,
keeping the chill from my coral-eaten bones.
I stumbled over empty crab-holes,
fell into the petrified arms of
casuarinas & sea-grape trees
their wizzined flesh slow-cooked, 
my skin burned with their salt.
There, in that sunned after-glow 
of destruction, I emerged from the littoral,
went back into the City, drowned & living.

Ide Amari Thompson is a senior at the University of The Bahamas studying English and History. His work tends to focus on questions of place and person, identity and what it means to personally and socially inhabit different shifting ideas and circles. He grapples with questions of colonialism, independence, nation, identity and love. His primary medium is written works particularly poetry. His written work has appeared in the PREE online journal, the first issue of Onyx magazine in 2018 a creative journal for diasporic black writers based in the UK and in the NE9 exhibition “The Fruit & The Seed”  and “ REFUGE” (2019) both exhibited by the National Art Gallery Of the Bahamas. He also was a participant in the NAGB’s DoubleDutch exhibition “Hot Water” In 2018.

Morvant Landing

Kwasi Shade

They said his mother was an Obeah woman who came from far up 
in the mountains. She made a rain in Morvant so implausible 
the people called her name in vain and 
she was never seen again.

Blood docked grave on the walls,
      drought slipstream, a floating box beckons
graffiti on the faces of strange people;
faces vandalised with no reason for concern of rain striking man 
dead in the hills and there was neither will nor way around it.

Sirens alert us straw goliaths who bear our dead, 
death comes with running. 

          You should hear them squalor
     like fowls early beckoning a better day.
     Jamet braving Rain.
We were standing by Picton standpipe that day 
when he finally broke open 
his mouth, brave, and spoke a fire roaming Picton's uneasy canopy. 

His voice too stood up like squalor. 

     Centrifugal gulley plains ran,
     the cold was his and 
     guns hidden in the plastic jungle
     where children once played, carrying oxide, blood and shame, 
     these rains
     were ours to take. 

          Mother's gossip
cascaded hillside memories, there was always trouble,
in pain, and she pain in this country;
they rear the beast like rain.

     Our houses clamored in space 
     like ice floundered with; 

     a ravine formed by the action of water;

     a noisy position on the off side between point and the slips;

          Injustice was a tradition the complexion of Hell too;

          On which,

     the verdant remains of goodness 
     when it breaks open again, brave,
     struck with such violence, it became,
Hell was in the mind of the
pervaded, dead, thriving squalor, rain;
dead in the Parliament,
          dead on the hills;
          dead among people
          walking, as
          dying to be dead.

     The pouring sentiment
     of a bouquet 
     of a shallow breath wrung cold
     in a deed left terse, for dogs, 
     we swallow,
     for people to wreath,
     for Hell to mourn the grief
     of mothers who never get their turn
     to rain implausibly.

They said his mother was a powerful Obeah woman from up in the 
hills. They said she planted a fire in his mouth so tall when 
she had him and is so the Dragon bring rain in the hills;

Talking afire to all who dared know of him, the king of Hell.


Swam Beauty

No one regrets when,
the bay is sleeping; tired/
tucked sombre, drunk, skirt lifted,
the bled weather gone deep, a ripped blouse,
the sounds of soft,
ghosts so it may go certain.

If waved in the way it spins
the heart like a crucifix; she was
vindictive, swallowed, iron and
happenstance whale shackled upon
a hungry belly swelling sea.

A name, bauble
moss in sandy deeds.

No one egress when
a flight of laughter sheaves in
the sea has lost its legs
cracked ashore elsewhere downward, 
without right to river,
the wings of a smiling wind, men overboard
in another sky may bode better
for lurid boatswain.

If known in the heart it kills;
this body branded kept a fluke flaneur
as a study in sail tradition
panting, burning cities, dead, ‘whore’; 
coasts made
turgid otherwise
light pollution is this woman 
once to get to the end of you if/
then
this text appears on her dead.
A broken xylem stretched a canvas
for meme culture, on this
Rain wrung placid; death rings an ocean falling:
“man is the measure of all things dead”
And you, looking,
see her again; nothing more than something said.
A Swam beauty.

Kwasi Shade is an Auteur Sociologist interested in representing the true myriad of Caribbean dichotomies in their stories and testing the parameters of Creole dialect vernacular. They are interested in communicating the Carnival Aesthetic.

Before attending the University of the West Indies to pursue a double major in History and Film, they participated in the Cropper Foundation Writers’ Workshop, Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival’s three (3) part Screenwriters’ Workshop with the Canadian High Commission, Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival’s Producers’ Lab and Monique & Kei’s writers’ retreat. They’ve participated in five group exhibitions; Kirschmann Gallery, New Orleans, “Between Stitches”; Alice Yard, Trinidad, “SYOS”; and Granderson Lab, Trinidad, “For so is so and also” and the Carifesta Exhibition, Trinidad National Museum. Their poetry, short stories and drawings have appeared in Pree Lit, Moko Magazine, Enby Magazine, Tamarind, Pinkwashed zine, Prismatica, and Culturego Magazine.

They were a 2010 Trinidad and Tobago film festival Ident award recipient. In their spare time they sell pelau crackers, mango chips and RumChow. They are also known as ‘A Rainy Weather’ the Jab Griot, a carnival character who sings House Rapso and New Wave Kaiso.