Solar Chariot

ISHION HUTCHINSON

When noon hits the marl into a valve,
hissing fangs of cane flags between the bend—
lattice blinding shutters and stunting kites,
he comes out with his staff to the square,
fox blades of croton leaves in his red
turban; a few half-hidden pencils. He kneels,

chalks a circle outside the Chinese
shop, then grounds his staff into its raw
middle and revs with rasp fuzz
his lucent transport;

bare feet clapping

brakes and clutch, turban shaking
through the ditches he drives to reach

where he is going. The sun works
heaven into the shop’s grille. He combusts
from his lotus position, a parson’s
hot apocrypha, crying blood down
on everything:
‘Move yuh rass!’ Blazing: ‘Get behind mi, Satan!’

as he springs from his halo,
like smoke in the heat of harvest,
sheaves scattering to the high clouds
that ripple with rain squalls; burnt foil he vanishes
without gathering, the ashpit of noon,
for us, staring on, at a spur of Hermon.


Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He is the author of two poetry collections: Far District and House of Lords and Commons. He is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, among others.

The New Commandments

TANYA SHIRLEY

There are lanes weaving through Kingston where women
spilling from zinc shacks wear bras and batty riding shorts
to corner shops. Breasts like sling-shots ready to spray
bullets. Big bellies saying they’ve fulfilled the prophecy
of multiplying even in the shadows of poverty. Angels of
God who turn small money into school fees and clean shoes. Continue reading “The New Commandments”

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.
Continue reading “Hood Top”