miércoles, 18 de enero de 2012

The 17 Poems which follow:

Syllables, Christmases Seen, Sum of Life, Love War, Edenic Leaves, Us to Whip Into One, Butt-ends, In Words Hiding, In the Mourning Time, Many Tiny Pals, Like We Did Last Summer, Goats Can Chew, Skin Against Sin, Age of Incredulity, 8, Hand Over Mine and Every Sunday Dinner

were shared with two groups of students of JULES VERNE SCHOOL on Thursday, November 24, 2011. They were all presented in English by the author, Obediah Michael Smith, reading from Wide Sargasso Sea and 62 Other Poems – a collection of poems in English and in Spanish. The translations into Spanish were done by Fausto Larraguível Lepe.

for Sibyl

“Sibyl,” two syllables I cherish

I have a dish of colourful marbles

Henry Higgins filled Eliza Doolittle’s mouth
with marbles and instructed her to say:

“With blackest moss, the flower-pots
were thickly crusted, one and all”

spitting them into her hand,
she confessed, wide-eyed, “I swallowed one!”

“Don’t worry,” said Higgins, “I have plenty more!”

and on and on, repeating words
with her mouth full of marbles
until she’d perfected every syllable
of every word she uttered

to these Higgins added an evening gown and jewelry
and she was mistaken by one and all for a princess
when just weeks before she was but a flower girl
in So Ho Square dropping “H’s” everywhere
like withered petals

Christmases Seen

Christmas, cliché,
unless you lift the floor boards,
see just-born mice,
wiggling, blind
close as my siblings and I once were

one in a grave
along with both parents

stale carols, old decorations
to dig up, dig out, put up
string across the room,
about the house

Christmas was dinner
with guests at the table

gravy in boats
dishes of that, of this
passed about

children in the kitchen
wishing we were grown up
to join in

but we had our cowboy-
our Indian suits, our guns,
our rolls of fire crackers
to load them with
our back yard to run about in
to drop in when shot

people are dying as readily for real

Sum of Life

wear rough, where rough
patches, passage to pass through

the road picked, the ticket,
unable to put it back, pitch it back

pitch-black over pitch-black road
bare foot, bare back in hot sun

Love War

how one we are when we hug
two teddy bears

stuffed animals are easy to love

Guy Fawkes, full of straw
what to stuff verse with, hearts with

a candle has a wick to light
hearts have wicks to ignite

throw them full of kerosene
into the enemy’s hay loft
into their barn full of horses

Edenic Leaves
for Michael Edwards

once the fingerprints of God alone
were upon creation

these, some desire to erase entirely
to replace these with
the footprints of man

Us To Whip Into One
for Grissel Gomez Estrada

how confined we are
to our languages
who we can and who we can’t
have lunch with

how close we can get
to who have our same words on their tongue

as gooey as ours, as gooey as us
sleeping, steeping in one same tub
one same tongue, one same song

Mexican woman in a different bed
in a different room

wall between us
to weep down

for Gregory

along with the cigarette
you're shortening,
sucking in, sucking on

you're shortening my life
along with your own

In Words Hiding
for James Rolle

my aim, as writer, as poet
is to pull the string of language
like a string to flush with

to cause God to fall out
into the lap like a cat

deliver who was lost,
was missing for some,
not believed in by others,
so that whose lap
I succeed in causing him to fall into
would have him, would know him,
would not have to not believe
or merely believe

In the Mourning Time
for Dawn V. Hanna

could we have been broken to behold,
to be held, to be whole,
for him to have to hold us
to fix us

when a baby cries and is picked up
or to be picked up

when something drops, breaks and we pick it up,
collect it piece by piece,
would we ever have caressed it so, loved it more

does the father love us best, love us more
love us most, when we are broken
when he is mending us

Many Tiny Pals
for Eric Rose

thousands of ants in my house
even more termites
thought I lived alone
thought I had but a few friends
turn my back a minute, turn back to find,
ants in the thousands
in my bowl of dinner
when I thought I was dining alone

Like We Did Last Summer
for Omi Taylor

poet provides or should provide
a wonderful twist of a way
of seeing, of looking

Goats Can Chew
for Dickson Wasake

what Caribbean people are
resulted from what slavery has done to us

to an equal degree
from what we have done to slavery

what English, Spanish, French, Dutch
have done to us, coupled with

what we have done to
what we have done with
English, Spanish, French, Dutch

Skin Against Sin
for Natasha Turnquest

insects bite her up and down
leave their marks
upon a woman they love,
unable to get enough of

teeth and claw marks
where they crawl
sure signs, they wanted all

got all they could get until slapped
as hard as she would
a man getting fresh
or getting too near

insects want to enter
taste her blood

shed blood, red blood
red spots dot up and down
arms, legs

damaging, discoloring
baby-pretty beige

Age of Incredulity
for Crystal Fraser

Carla Bruni, who she’s like
able to assert herself to a degree,
not before imagined

runway for a model in Milan
or my arm and my palm
to journey down in fashion

palm to spin upon, head of a pin
for however many angels
to dance upon, she among them

for Desiree Cox

every brush stroke,
up stroke, upon canvas
must, like insects wings,
have its corresponding
down stroke if what’s created
upon canvas is to carry the viewer
away to some place, swiftly
effortlessly, without weight

Hand Over Mine
for L.M.B.

must learn again to write
to let, to lean on
who would guide your hand

in kindergarten again
learning to form
letters of the alphabet correctly
every time a poem comes along
to be written down

without idea, without skill
submit each time to guidance
not knowing how to cross a page
with the grasshopper of
the letters of the alphabet

Every Sunday Dinner
for L.M.M.

in spite of our duet
so many minutes, days, years
I’ve had to play all alone

occasionally, when she shows up
she imagines we’re just going on

when in between her turning up
and turning back
upon the stage which all the world is
I have to appear, alone

face the audience with whatever music
I can muster, I can make a capella

my poems are these songs
melodies I make
some of them I whip out
many of them I weep out

out in the rain when the weather’s bad
unable to go inside
no inside to what I must at times
live through

out in the elements all alone

jueves, 5 de enero de 2012


wanting to go inside something
wanting to go inside somewhere

wanting to be inside something
wanting to be inside somewhere

in love, place to have fallen into
preferring to be out of this world

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2012
7:03 p.m. 04.01.12