Barbados Mulatto Girl

Adam Patterson

My skin is yellow / My hair is long / Between two worlds / I do belong / My father was rich and white / He forced my mother late one night / What do they call me / My name is Saffronia / My name is Saffronia.

– Nina Simone, Four Women

A dead white man turned yellow and a whole island trembled. That old dead white man’s newfound yellow streaks of skin – a fateful inheritance – cracked an island’s skull in half and each piece was of different minds, still hanging from the carapace of a now two-headed beast. Rattling the spine of whiteness, that ugly dead man from foreign – née white, now discoloured – delivered us to a compromise of colour, where, even if only momentarily, yellow may have been the new black. Springing from one end of the shell, the head of whiteness made an ass of itself. Seeing this whiteness as some alien threat, removed and altogether separate from itself, the head of blackness chased its own tail. Withholding just enough credit from the blight of that petrified tourist’s rotting skin – as any whiteness of his that remains is now mostly just a caked-on facade of pigeon shit – I, Saffronia, can only be happy that yellow brought us together, even if only in conflict. Continue reading “Barbados Mulatto Girl”

Resurrection

Jovanté Anderson

Gangsters use embalming fluid to kill
The Jamaica Star

And on this, the ninth night,
when you gather by the sanctity of rum,
pouring slow to bless the thirsty earth
and light the path to places you cyaah see,
you will sigh,                                     ………………. happy to be sending me, cantankerous spirit,

on my way                                          …..to other elsewheres,

places where you don’t have to worry about gunman
or duppy or duppy-makin’ gunman like me.

Continue reading “Resurrection”

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.