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Poet's Corner
Remembering Bush Lot

No matter anywhere I go
Despite the pomp and show
Whether it’s warm, cold or hot
I always remember Bush Lot
Going to sea-shore feeling the sweet breeze
Yes Bush Lot is the best village in Berbice
With my buddies going to the backdam
Making metagee with plantain and yam
Raiding the mango and jamoon trees
Jumping the middle-walk with ease
Or going for sweet water coconut
Down by Syl’s grandfather tiny hut
By the Big Saline sand reef bathing
After we finish carey-carey catching
I always remember coming from the Abary
Reaching the Crown Dam tired and hungry
And as we reach Ranger Uncle Walter he said
“By I got nothing just some rice and bread”
With the rice with oil and onion we mix
A piece of saltfish and saney it give it a kick
And man! that meal tasted so sweet
Like that up to today I never ever eat
But when I go back to Bush Lot a few years ago
All my friends left or passed away, a sad blow
And I’m very sad for Bush Lot has that special space
In my heart for its home to me,yea! it’s a special place

– Naraine Datt


Crapaud Balls

As I look down the years
I see my baby brother and me
Playing a lively game of cricket
Every evening in our front yard
Using green limes for balls.

We had ourselves much fun.
And as twilight came on
We still stood around with
Little wooden bats ready.

For as darkness drew nigh
We held our bats up high.
That was to be the hour
For the great crapaud slaughter.

Crapauds make very good balls
For after the first prodding
They become soft and distended
And they bounce around lightly.

We followed the crapauds around
And batted them as they jumped.
Sometimes we terrorized them
By throwing salt on their backs.

Then they grew fatter and
Rounder and jumped even faster.
It was then very great sport
Hitting them for fours and sixes.

Indeed, for years we were
My baby brother and me
Mean little crapaud batsmen.

– Etwaria Singh, New York

Mehendi

Mehendi, yes, mehendi.
Oh, that scarlet color
That I so love to see
In delicate patterns
Drawn upon me.

It is the red color
Of girlish vigor.
The symbol of maidenish
Innocence and pleasure.

Oh, what a delight to
Watch the mehendi bright
As hands and feet are turned
This way and that in the light.
Mehendi, oh, mehendi!

– Etwaria Singh, New York


The Human Zoo

If you're not in the wild and hear awhoo
You may be in or in the vicinity of a Zoo
Where animals are kept in cages
As they rant and rave in stages
Man is so cruel and selfish that he would
Hold wretched animals for their own good
They say they are so happy that they
Pace in their tiny cages every day
Not longing for the old wild
They are so happy like a child
Rubbing themselves against the iron bars
Until they bleed or become sick with scars
They are so happy that they copulate
With their water bowl or plate
Forgetting what a mate look like
They are so happy that they take a hike
Cower trembling in a corner to hide
From man the watcher ready to chide
Or sleep to dream and dream to sleep
Of the open and the wild and the deep

Suppose the tables are turned and say
Men are put in cages for display
I'm sure they would be a wreck
Yet around the world if you check
Zoos are a city's pride and joy
Put for the soul purpose like a toy
For the feast of its citizens' eyes
To be confined is to lose your ties
Isn't that what is done to criminals?
Amidst our perpetual daily denials
Yet we spend so much on zoos and less
On our handicapped, sick and homeless

Man is slowly using the entire ruse
In their own manmade human zoos
Man originally was a hunter
And woman the food gatherer
Then he was busy trying to stay alive
Now he learnt to farm and survive
He thought he was happy and glad
And he ceased to be a nomad
He sought pastures of green
And moved to places he'd never seen
He developed towering immunity
And sharpened his hunting ingenuity
By staying in one place year after year
Living near his filth around his lair
He developed diseases and lethargy
He acquired collateral damage now
Some things he can't disallow
Dumb and obedient in his chore
He is not lean and mean anymore
He is not swift and agile like the monkey
And the women've became fat and lazy

Then he got modern machinery
The final nail ending all his chances
And his wife got all the conveniences
And soon there were more leisure times
But not to teach his kids nursery rhymes
He has lost all the keen senses
He could not sit on the fences
He could've when he was a hunter
He has now become a time consumer

The executive instead of stripping down
His expensive car now goes downtown
And after weed, wine and a party
He now strips down his secretary
The kid who used to throw a ball
Is bored and now have more gall
Now throws it at a glass window
To get attention and more show
A wife now has time to mind a pet
Putting her in a different mindset
And now instead of stroking the dog
She watches soaps and snores like a log
Fantasize with stars and every film fare fan
With extra time now to stroke the milkman

Honey dropping from her lips
With nothing to do she gossips
Her life is meaningless
Her tiny head in a mess
She doesn't have to rub and scrub
As her kids sing rub-a-dub-dub
She watches her clothes dry spin
As she gossips trying to fit in
She watches and pause
Creating mischief because
Her life is boring and she's angry
At times would work on her body
Plucking out her eyebrow
Getting fat like a cow
Enlarge her busts and breasts
Taking boring endless tests
Tighten her waist and hips
Painting and thinning her lips
Starve herself to death in mink
Then finally goes to a shrink
To sit on his couch and crows
As she tells him all her throes

And as usual commerce takes a bite
Cashing in on her weakness for spite
Using music, fashion and sex
As the director cries "Nex?"
To sell their unhealthy product
Using whatever to conduct
Roping women like a yo-yo
As the spectators cry for mo'
Stressing on legs, face and shape
Just to beautify the landscape
Shunning all those who can't cope
Some turning to the end of their rope
Can't fit in and have to exit
Then it is not funny a bit
Enter anorexia nervosa
Trying to look younger
All this havoc only makes
Pains, ulcers and headaches
And the pharmacists laughing
After their hefty billing
All the way to the banks
Not even saying thanks

Man too has become bored
Like cancer, he can't be cured
He has lost all his hunting skill
His meat comes from Knob Hill
His apparel can be bought at Sears
Not from an animal he spears
He doesn't walk, he drives
Can't hear him when he arrives
To his job back into his garage
His kids think he is a sage
But he is a very worried man
Relaxes with a glass in his hand
As his wife prepares dinner
From a store bought container
Or she slaps up shake and bakes
Just for the kids and his sakes

Don't ever think that the high
And the lowbrows don't cry
Losing their useless faculties
Doing boring jobs in factories
Day after day, watching the clock
As bossman sneer and take stock

Men in glass offices shuffling
Busy back and forth running
With sheaves of paper daily in denial
A useless life not fit for an animal
All fruitless tasks to all
Just before their downfall
The profits going to the tycoon
Watching the full tide and moon
Who sits in Florida in the sun
Watching his faxes get done
Running his enterprise from a computer
Far and free from all the helter skelter

Useless tasks spell trouble
With doses coming in double
And so the hospitals and clinics are full
As politicians and others try to pull wool
Over our eyes, because of scheds
Crying that hospitals have no beds
Raising everyone's blood pressure
With pharmacies around every corner
As others getting extensive
Medicare is so expensive
In America folks hide their ailments
Because of red tape curtailments
It’s too costly to be sick
Using local tricks to lick
Heart attacks are common
At the least summon
They die at an early age
Whilst others die of rage
For their body cannot withstand
The confinement of this land

Man has lost his hunting skills
As he succumbed to tiny pills
And women no longer the food-gatherers
Has lost their immunity of their forefathers
Man has become an animal too
Eventually caught in his own zoo.

Norman Tewarie, Toronto


Red Parrot

Red parrot shrieks
Peals of laughter
And raucous squawking
As she tears from
The branch of
Sapodilla trees,
Perching momentarily
Where she can view
Mango groves,
Star-apples shining
In the sun,
Guava and avocado
Leaves dancing,
The dark-fleshed
Donkey-cart man,
Sambaing he way
Ova
Steamin' black
gravel
while
The ice sittin'
in he cart, with its
Saw-dust shavings
seeping and wet,
Begin to melt.
Red parrot believe
In dreams.
Red parrot
Bring good omens.
Steel band and soca
Music falling all
'round, keep'
Red Parrot happy.
Movin'
Movin'
Movin'
Red Parrot want no world
Where music gonnna be stopped.
Where magic carpets, grounded,
Where hearts freeze up,
And bare-foot 'chirren',
Can't run free.

C 2005 Margot Van Sluytman
(From her work, The Red Parrot Poems
www.margotvansluytman.com
www.dance-with-words.com
www.palabras-press.com)


Universal Wonder

Shining like the stars
In the darkening night
I think I see Mars
With its brilliant red light

Blinded by its beauty
The truth is, there is more life
taking me away from dark
and receiving me from strife

Oh magnificent universe
With your millions of stars dispersed
Dark, vast, and mysterious
Just thinking of you make me delirious

Black and limitless
There is no end to this nothingness
Freezing cold and burning hot
Do you feel it yet? I think not

This beauty is left so unexplained
The giant tiny specks of gold
The wind so wild and untamed
carries my words to the end

and it is the ending
for the story has been told

by Navita Sukhdeo

White Sugar

Some say when you leave the cane field
you leave your soul on the land
to hover before sunrise
as a grain
within the bark of cane
to be moved
from village to village
lifted across countless miles
beyond the sun’s departure
to a distant land
into the unsweetened mug
of coffee, where the balance
of night knows its silence.

we know how to meditate
in these refined homes
we find a way in,
melting in the multitude
of precision
counting the snowdrops
in our kitchen.

Janet A. Naidu


FRIENDS IN THE WOODS

When I want to be at peace
I take myself into the woods
To stroll and think how lucky I am
For there I can effortlessly release
And enjoy my tranquil moods
I marvel at the beauty of the crocus
Pussy-willow and the blooming lily
I wander and know how lucky I am
As I smell the scents so delicious
And gaze at the butterfly so fancy
The squirrels watch with tails so long
For they know me by now you see
I am glad to know that I am lucky
To hear the cardinal sing her song
Courting her mate in maple tree
The deer drinks from a stream near by
Distracting the crane with a fish in its beak
The bunny watches as if to say hello
The eagle crow circles way up high
Looking at the baby beaver so helpless and meek
For there were no man-made sounds here
To disturb the sparrow in a fir tree
And I felt like a lord of the woods
For with them the woods I share
And I know they watch out for me.

– Naraine Datt, Toronto


THE SILENCE

The silence is deafening
It shatters my drums
My soul wanders
Between the tunnels of time
The silence is hurting
My medulla oblongata
My nerves are on edge
Waiting for the storm
The silence is silent
Like a monster on tip toes
Raking in the waves
With its long wiry hands
The silence is an envelope
Of all man’s guilt
But its part of all of us
And part of our lives

– Norma Datt, Toronto

What If?

If life doesn't go your way, what can you do?
If your friends are not around, who do you talk to?
If you feel depressed, to whom do you tell that to?
If you do not love your life, how can you learn to live with it?
If you want to runaway, do you pack your bags ahead of time?
If you feel like an outcast, do you change your way of life?
If you are sad, will someone be there to turn your frown upside down?
If you are crying, do you always know why?
If you life is a mystery, do not try to change your history.

– Sarina Sarah Singh December 27, 2004

OLD YEAR’S NIGHT

Dreams unfulfilled,
ideas lying in the gutters of
my study.
Scattered papers of thought
fluttering when the paint peeled door
opens.
The brown clock on the white wall
stares like a living
grotesque eye,
surveying with scorn
the unfulfilled.
It’s hands twitch further
to an hour that millions
await, and I,
turn in disgust
stressing upon my losses;
of communication,
identity,
pride
and truth;
the loss of a year many tell me; wasted
yet, much accomplished.
Another year, minutes away
And I vow;
Never to let,
Never to have,
Never to demonstrate;
fears,
shortcomings
and losses.
I will; ‘carpe diem et
Carpe ano.’
– By Samuel Singh


alone

alone
loneliness
lonely
alone
fear
fearful
fearfulness
alone
bored
boredom
boring
alone
scared
scary... and scorned
alone
fright
frightened
frightful
alone
lost
losing... life
alone
dying
death
dead
thus...to dust...
alone
– by gary girdhari


MR. SWEET TALK

Look inna he shine eye
and hear dem nuff nuff word dat
a come from e mout dat a lie.
He can gyaf up people me a tell yuh dat
and wen you see im, he telling bout sumting new.
10 year now dem a mek bridge
but all dem a do a read book bout book wha write
but you know, one, one dutty does mek dam.

Dat blagghad Naag, come in mandir
and eat food and nuh giv
any a dem people who want am.
No. dem a siddung an laff and get fat
from abbie wok o sweat, blood and eye wata,
Now you kno wha mek dem smell like renk meat.

Dis one heh fuh PPP and PNC,
all de time dem a mek promise fuh bring moon
since abbie get mo blackout dan currant.
We need de light fu de pickney read
we want dem fu larn mo dan we
Nuh fu sen you baytah a Oxford and Cambridge from we money
Dat yuh fo mek we road.
Dis a me story a declaration
dat get a tune
wat come frum de hungry bellie an the dyin lady
dat a lay down inna de street an front yuh house.
Well “Mr. Elect,” sufferin nuh always cum in
Politics dat read ‘opposition party influence.’
You tell dat to de muddah who bubbie
Dry. She pickney die.

Wha bout dem flood wha come?
Yuh seh dat yuh a giv de bess fuh you bredda dem
but we see clean wata inna yuh drain wile
we gat fuh drink de dark kala pani mosquito wata yuh leff fuh we.
Is whe we clean wata deh? In yuh house?
Me tink you tink it good if you get am fuh
We benefit.

We barefoot school chile get feva
an me nah get money fuh medcine.
Me a cry every time me a see dem
hungry, hungry bellie dat groan fuh food
and de mout wid foam a carna and bus up wha leff
a brite line red.
Yuh see de muddah?
Me hol she han but can’t tek all de problem.
Now wen we ask fuh help you a drink wine and talk
“Nonsense, we have perfect social and economic structure.”
Me a still wait fuh yuh get sum structua.

Yuh kno me wife sell she tilarie
wha been in she family since she muddah, muddah time
so we can get food fuh eat and mek safe?
De shop nah even giv trus
so me can pay bak. But……..
wid wat?

Now “Mr. Sweet talk” we nuh barn inna de one same country?
yet, you mind deh sumwhere else
an nuh pon we like yuh should.
You a talk bout national pride and a wear
Diamond ring an
catapilla suit.
One day. One day, hungry bellie guh mek nuff nuff noise
an even empty barrel go come and roll
Fuh you full am.
You up deh a tink bout dear, dear ting
and me stan heah and a talk
bout poverty problem yuh bring..

– Samuel Singh


Ah-MERIkAN

Me ah ‘merican!
Born and raised.
Never see donkey,
Or even cow graze.

Me ah ‘merican!
Never gone sick.
Docta deh carna,
He cure any trick

Me ah ‘merican!
Never cross one bridge.
Fah wata deh in pipe,
And food deh in fridge

Me ah ‘merican!
Never will lack.
When shoes deh pan foot,
And shut deh pan back.

Me ah ‘merican!
Never will shame.
When meh fall down hard,
Playin video game.

Me ah ‘merican!
Bound to skip skool.
To troe down meh books,
And gone to play pool.

Da bai ah ‘merican!
Coolies seem to say.
He turn out bad,
But born in USA.!

– Steven Jagnarain


My Home

Guyana is gorgeous, glamorous, and many more things,
It is quite an extraordinary place.
But Wait! There is more to it than flowers and food.
There is history and landmarks,
Even facts that children consider "cool."
People live each day as they come,
Still never too busy to drink a bottle of rum.
Life is simple and sweet, each day you meet and greet.
Amazing family and friends, so far away.
Yet, I know that I will never forget my home,
Guyana!

By Sarina Sarah Singh
August 20 - August 23, 2004
Queens / New York
(Written in honor of all my relatives living in Guyana,
my aunts, uncles, cousins, and their families.)


Habibi

I feel the yellow leaves, rising and falling
on the road outside.
I know she would have a faint mark somewhere,
in her eyes perhaps, receding against soft fabric,
head to toe: her hidden cheeks, uncertain heart,
a habit in the palm of her hand.
She knows the bounty of womanhood.
Yet, this day her waistline conceals a potent aim
in ordinary appearance. Beyond any suspicion,
a secret hovers beneath her primrose shalwar-kameez.
She moves – like a lake flowing through a chasm –
swiftly reaching the shoreline.
Her garment in the wind offers an echo –
a moment of innocence, complicated honor,
the only window of her eyes.
Might her body be askew in a crowded cafe,
to reveal her silenced thoughts?
How can one search now for a jewelled arm?
Can one name the scattered pieces?

– Janet A. Naidu

My Mother

The Ambulance came
And took her away
Terrified despite
My comforting arms
Her bright eyes
Still shine for 78
And behind the fear
She maybe
Remembering her youth
How at 19 she too
Was beautiful
And when a nurse
Pass by, she winks
Maybe it’s
Her daughter
Coming to visit
Then her eyes close
Her intellect
Waxes and wanes
And what appears
To be a smile
Emerge and her
Eyes glazed
Wandering beyond
The ward’s walls
Would she
Make it
This time
Oh! how time
Has passed
Maybe it’s better
For everyone
Maybe if I go
Then they would
Relax and wouldn’t
Have to beg for
Time off to visit
No husband or wife
To tell my children
You going to visit
Your Mom again?
And wicked time
Drags on
Oh thief!
Of my life
I remember when
I was there
For my family
My brothers and sisters
And sisters-in-laws
And their children
But today
I don’t see them
Maybe they moved

Maybe they’re
Too busy
Yes they have
A mortgage, maybe
No baby sitters
By the way
What happened
To the babies
I used to baby-sit?
Maybe they’re
Too busy
In School
And my children
Maybe they moved
Maybe they’re busy
Making a living
Maybe my grandson
Will get me
A great grand son
Or grand-daughter
They better hurry
My bleddy tests
Are finished
Now back
To the Nursing home
Or Prison
Wonder if
A prison is the
Same as this place
Do this!
Don’t do this!
Stay there
Don’t move
If I could only talk
I would give
Orders myself
Like I’m wet!
Change Me!
Feed me!
I need some
Fresh Air
I want
To watch TV
Wrestling! That’s it
Who is the world
Champion I wonder
I miss that
Gyam! Gyam!
Oh God !
I remember Nabaclis
Walking in my yard
Picking the ferns
And chrysanthemums
Those 5 finger trees
Are loaded again
This afternoon
I will fry
Breadfruit
In a batter
Of massala
With fish
The chiren like that
Tomorrow I’ll cook
Dholl and rice
With coconut choka
I like that
Got to find
A dry coconut
Dis gooseberry
Is damn sour!
Oops here comes
The lady in white
Got to rest!
Maybe there would
Be a tomorrow.

– Norman Datt (Raj)
PS: Her ‘tomorrows’ ended on the 26th August 1999,
she was 83 years old.


The Indian Baboo
(For May 5th)

The Indian Baboo
From eastern
Uttar Pradesh
Such alluring
Southern India
Or Bihar
This pioneer
Hurt with an
Anguished soul,
Left everything
In India
Cross the kala pani
Took all
His belongings
Fulfilling aspirations
A few clothes
Seeds and his
Hindu tradition
And deep culture
He amidst
Fellow pioneers
With unsatiated hunger
Speaking in
Dravidian tongues
Tamil, Telugu
And Malayalam
Facing callousness
From this potpourri
Of languages
Evolved the
The Guyanese
Aghast
Of varied Faiths,
Fitting into the society
Thrown into a
Sheer white society
Like the summer rain

Yes the Baboo
Once strong
Was lost
A wringing soul
In a sea
Of intrigue
Feeling each cool drop
Of torturous
Consternation
On the sugar plantation
Because
He didn't
Know enough English
The language
Of Power
Of wealth and
The white nation
On the plantation
The parched land
Much more thirsty
The manager
The ruler
With harsh rules
To do the job
Demon like
No English
Meant you're
At a disadvantage
Uncountable
Suckling hungrily
Encompassing all diversities
With English rage
When you can't
Explain yourself
In disputes

They tell you
Behave yourself
Bosom sliced,
If the Manager
Was not pleased
You can get expelled
From the plantation
Oh how he missed
A cheerful voice,
So loving, so caring
So kind
This Engrazie
Can be so ruthless
Levy fines on you
Unhealable wounds
Inflicted deep
For that one drop of coolness and love,
On you coolie ass
And teeming offsprings
Because you
Don't know English
When all else failed
They dubbed
You a criminal
Other Baboos
Tremble with fear
Eyes penetrating
Cannot speak on your behalf
For he knows
A lone answer
No solace
Ah questions,
Very little English too
Or he forgot
To pick up his pass
From the Manager
Unending chores
Now oozing wounds
Even the Sardars
With drooping eyelids
Partitioned them
Speaking in Tamil
Or Hindu
Or English
Were used to
Appease some
Of the good English
Like the
Royal Commission
Which sanctioned
Hindi Schools
Compulsory education
The Earth's body, mind, heart and soul
Unsolved
For the Indian Children
Just purity of thoughts and love
But the unthinkers
Of dark shades
Stifled Hindu
Soothing his sun baked lips
Of a heartless sun,
Unloved, uncared for
Forced the Baboos
Never a thought went astray or sore
To learn English
To imitate
The black and
Yellow brothers
To become
A Noble Indian
Spreading light and love,
Touched deep inside the untouched
Yet frivolous
Deep inside it's burning
Wrenching apart
Realms of heart and mind
Riddled wounded
Thawing the frozenness of years
Norman Datt


"Basic Instinct"
Friend, wake up!
Why do you go on sleeping?
The night is over – do you want to lose the the day the same way?
Other women who managed to get up early
have already found an elephant or a jewel ....
So much was lost already while you slept...

Kabir, ancient Indian mystic (1398-1518)


Deep in the heart of the Amazon, a rare
black jaguar is raising her head to greet
the brilliance of morning, and the trill
of a young Harpy's awkward call.
In the third hour of the day, she will
acquiesce to her maternal instinct,
and begin the hunt for food for her young.
What will it be? An unsuspecting boar?
A Golded Tamarind? An Agouti?
It really doesn't matter. Instinctively,
she knows she must do what she must.
So, she stealthily moves in and ambushes
a medium-sized fawn, then offers its flesh
to her cub, piece after sweet piece.
In the cold night her warm body will offer shelter.

By M. Stephanie M. Browne

The Ink Spills

The ink spills on paper and eyes awake,
To see a date written you should forsake.
It remains unchanged although you wish it to be
Forgotten like your broken spirituality.

With impatience you stand to look around and behold,
Anything to change your mind from that date hated and cold.
A sigh of defeat deflates anger now,
As the digit never to your will shall bow.

Your eyes grow silent as inward you look,
To see dreams untouched and blank pages of a book.
As Matthew followed Christ with a pen in his hand
You sought to do likewise in a definitive stand.

“Sweet Mercy!” you cry, “Why do I suffer like this?”
“I seek only creativity and simple bliss!”
But, you know the unsaid answers to the questions you seek,
It is because you feel deeply for all suffering and weak.

Now the clock almost touches that distinguished hour,
Your thoughts taste like bile; bitter and sour.
Once more you have struggled with your devil, demon, destiny and such,
Still once more craving that saving touch.

New life surges and fills your body,
As renewal of thoughts and emotions fun rampant.
Goals will be sought twice as hard in the custody,
Of the year of pities and hardships no longer constant.
– By Samuel Singh
New York, Wed, 31st Dec 2003


A Child's Torment
(A tribute to Little Akeem Trotman
and the tens of thousands of young children
who die from hunger and neglect at an alarming rate around the world.)


While the proud roosters crowed
and strutted their ruinous stuff
– death struck ugly.

While the vain hens scratched
and pecked at their pretty toes
– death struck ugly.

Death burnt its way through a thin veil
month after cruel month
into a life of innocence
– betrayed at birth
– neglected in life
– revered in death.

Akeem, a young street child
tattered and distressed
– famished
– sick
– worn
– relinquished.

by M. Stephanie Browne

A Mother's Grief
Le Repentir grows
and grows
and grows
as she swallows up the fresh bones
of another young son
buried with his secrets,
his blood still boiling in his youth,
his mother still wiping fresh milk
leaking from her nipples,
and trying to rip out the pain in her heart.

Cry mama, cry
cry mama, cry
cry mama, cry
'cause "..tears left unshed (will) turn to
poison in the ducts..."'
by M. Stephanie Browne


My Mother
Written in Honor of my Loving Mother, Punmati Singh.
For Mother's Day - May 09, 2004

My mother loves and cares for me,
Through her God gave new life.
She will worry if I'm not around,
For me she would risk her life.

I wonder what I did, to deserve such a caring mother.
Unfortunately the love she gives me,
Must be shared with my older brother.
Back to my Mom however, I want her to leave me never.
She is always there to guide me, and give me good advice.
Yet I hardly ever listen, and always pay the price.
I think we are all meant to be with the mother we get,
And although we may want to,
We should never have any regrets.

Mom, I Love you,
And you will always be in my heart.
A rose I will give you every year,
To signify that we will never part.
by Sarina Sarah Singh
April 17, 2004 / Saturday


Mishu
Oh my dear little furry Mishu,
you don't know how your owner miss-shu.
What? You are in hospital again?
I'm sorry you're bloody and in pain!

Hang in there my little friend,
for soon you'll be well on the mend.

Now, as I say goodbye to you little one,
Recover quickly and return to having fun.

Your human mother is very sad,
So get out soon and she'll be glad.

In any case, she loves you very much...
So be nice and royal and be a cat as such...!
Benjamin Yusuff, Washington, D. C.


I am Sorry
I am sorry I wounded your feelings,
I am sorry for the numerous lies.
I am sorry I brought tears to your eyes,
I never wanted to see you cry.

When you are distressed it aches me,
And brings much sorrow upon me.
You feel betrayed when you gaze in my eyes,
With a pain that is not fantasized.

I would wage war for you friendship,
I would search the unknown.
Risking my life is what I would do,
Just to be forgiven by you.
by Sarina Sarah Singh
Queens, New York, December 04, 2003


I'll always remember
(IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER, DAISY BALDEO, WHO DIED ON MAY 23, 2002.)

I'll always remember
Your special warmth and care,
Never ending patience,
Willingness to share.

Your help and inspiration
And your guidance day by day.
All the things you've done for me
In such a loving way.

I'll always remember you, mom,
Even though you are not here.
And you will always have a special place,
Deep within my heart, year after year.

Mom, you've been an angel in my life. Thank you for caring and loving me.
Sadly missed by her children,
Joyce, Esther, Joan, Elford, Lloyd, Edwin, Lionel, Daniel,
and her brother, Leonard, and her extended family.
Esther Bissoon


"DEPTHS OF LOVE"By Esther Das Whitaker
An ocean
of bliss waves
crashing, against
the borders of my soul
gathering seaweeds
molding residue
on walls of a jagged mind
blistering pain, burning salty waves
in crevices of void less space
so great, so intense

Lifted wings
seared through the heart
stabbing with ferocious power
slowly
seeping through damaged clouds of
falling raindrops
cascading down
mountain pride,
glittering tears fell
gently between her toes,
flooded warmth, in her veins
she swept through, windy
torrential rains
her face lifted to the skies,
Angelic expressions reveals
inner most confusion

She transforms,
compassion clothes her
a revelation beyond
the brilliance of eyes,
pools of simple love
spirit renewed
kisses refreshing
she danced like a weightless
fairy in time
her spirit of timeless evolution,
graces the pages of life
with heart wrenching beauty
so innocent,
so boundlessly free
she remains as nature intended
tranquility adorns her
with essence ,
of love
of life....


For Life – 911

For all the Firefighters and Police Officers who put their lives on the line.
God Bless You.
For all the innocent Husbands, Wives, Fathers, Mothers, Brothers and Sisters
God Bless You.
Rest In Peace
--------------
I saw the impact, the fiery blast – the Twin Towers crumbling like sand castle
in a sudden downpour. Sinking hearts in fear and the terrorist laugh. Men, women
and children for life running, 911 – there is a security breach. Bodies across the morning
sky plummeting! Sudden death to thode who dared reach for life that fateful 911 morning
and died. A Nation under attack, the world is dark. Millions across the world in pain
Thousands of hearts ripped apart and the terrorist disdian
In disbelief and tears – we struggle through the sudden mist
End of the world is feared!

Out of the ashes of the Towering Twins. Out of the wound and pain
Out of our lost and our darkest hour. Out of the destruction of the striking planes
Out of that ocean of death. Terrorist, tyrants shall taste of our retaliation.
For with courage regained. The resolve of our people strong
Ready to sustain in a mighty battle – America arise yet!

By James C. Richmond
Queens, New York
September 11, 2001@11:00am

Daughter Of The World

I am the great nowherian.
Born in Berbice.
Bred in Demerara.
Married in Trinidad.
Exiled in New York.

I live in a galactic loneliness.
My cosmos is the apotheosis of solitude.
Wherever I go I am always the outsider.
Always the foreigner in a strange land.

First I was the Berbician
Living in Demerara.
Remembering little of Berbice.
Then I became the Guyanese
Living in Trinidad.
Made to feel guilty and ashamed
Of the very word Guyana.
Now I am an Indo-Caribbean
Resident in New York City.

Was my home over yonder
On the bank of the broad Berbice?
Or was my home over there
Somewhere along the deep Demerara?
Or is my home really here
On the hilly banks of the Hudson?

I can belong anywhere
Temporarily.
But I belong nowhere
Permanently.
I can cross all barriers.
Barriers of geography and gender
Of history and race
Of creed and age.

I am the great nowherian.
Inflicted with the malady
Of rootlessness, of unhousedness.
For I never gather roots.
I always have to pass on.

I am...
In the final analysis
A humble daughter of the world.
Foreigness is my home.
Instability is my life.

– Etwaria Singh, New York 2004


Friends In The Woods

When I want to be at peace
I take myself into the woods
To stroll and think how lucky I am
For there I can effortlessly release
And enjoy my tranquil moods
I marvel at the beauty of the crocus
Pussy-willow and the blooming lily
I wander and know how lucky I am
As I smell the scents so delicious
And gaze at the butterfly so fancy
The squirrels watch with tails so long
For they know me by now you see
I am glad to know that I am lucky
To hear the cardinal sing her song
Courting her mate in maple tree
The deer drinks from a stream near by
Distracting the crane with a fish in its beak
The bunny watches as if to say hello
The eagle crow circles way up high
Looking at the baby beaver so helpless and meek
For there were no man-made sounds here
To disturb the sparrow in a fir tree
And I felt like a lord of the woods
For with them the woods I share
And I know they watch out for me.

Naraine Datt
Toronto


Barefoot

I crawled out of my basement window,
Gasping for air.
Awakened from a horrid dream.
Awakened by the rumbling of leaves,
running across the concreted floor.
I desperately crawled out, on hands and knees.
And as I felt the rush of cold that this winter ground has given me,
I turn to my left and felt the wind seduce my eyes
to water.
I then hesitantly, rose.
My bare and callused sole embraced the ground.
A sharp sense of barren solidity held my weight.
As the cold aroused every nerve in my legs,
it uneased my calves.
I felt the ache of winter.

By Steven Jagnarain


Prelude:
The nation of Guyana seems to have paused, (as could be deciphered from A.J. Seymour's poem) in its progress consigning itself to space (as could be deciphered from A.J. Seymour's poem) and has committed suicide. So sprung this series of poems called, "The Awakening" inspired by Arthur Seymour's "The Legend of Kaieteur". So as to inspire unity, progress and democracy in the strictest sense of the word, to unleash the untapped potential of Guyana and Guyana's children.

The Legend of Kaieteur (Continuing the Dialogue)
1
The Awakening

After hundreds of thousands of years Kaie had spent
Where the raging black waters of the Potaro vent –
Came that day when Makanaima relent
From the pedestal of the sacred rock sent
One drop of water to let flew, to awaken stone aged Kaie
And as he gazed above the gorge where glory fly
In iridescent tapestry from the sky
The foundation of the earth shook and the stars flew
Birds of the air trumpeted songs in the morning dew
And winged their way across the regal sky's view
Like stars and moons and suns they grew
With bended wings as not to obstruct Omnipotence
In a singular sentence of reverence
The awakened souls mellow to the tropical sight
And marveled that omnipotence condescend to visit earth that night

And mingling substance of marvelous light
Arising from the mountain's crest
Imbuing night and day the same and the tropical nest
Like the waking of a new dawn
Like alleluia and soul revival morn
The folding tide of Kaieteur's immaculate gate
That strutted over the rolling savannahs, and the coastal plate
Signal green of forested nature, a crown upon the agricultural State

He humbly bow upon his "wood skin" canoe and cried
As he relived the memories of his tribe
And looked for his companion in the tide.

by James Richmond


The Legend of Kaieteur 2

Under the glorified rainbow sacred sky
Where glory called the worlds from on high
And covenanted to you and I
There with magnificence, God formed the earth – man to live and not to die (before sin entered )
Far across the rolling plains and mountains high
Where the flowering Pakaraima roam
Perched Mount Roraima's dome
The flowing Valley of Crystal spread
Liberally overflowing love into lakes, waterfalls and the canyon's river bed
To bring from within the peace that mankind most felt
And bow to worship wherein Omniscient foot stool dwelt

Below the beast of the field graze where the memories of the Patamona tribe slept
Where Kaie hoped and wept
Where the Caribishi came and dealt
The death blow and themselves melted into history
This is the essence of my story
In this condition we languished, our vanquished spirits tarry

Soaked in blood and pain and brotherhood
Man against man, brother against brother – misunderstood.
Out of struggles known and unknown
Wickedness and scorn condoned
Ripping at the water ways of our soul – now gaze upon the beckoning white light even alone
A savior must be born to deliver
When the wings of change comes from constant prayer

by James Richmond


Maa
‘Maa, Maa? Yes it’s me!
Yes, I’m all right.
Yes, yes, I’m working.
No, not too hard.’

‘Gyal, dah you?
Dis is yuh mudda
Ah taak to yuh.
O Gaad, meh pickney
Meh prapa glad
To hear yuh vice.
Meh nah hear from yuh
Meh nearly gaan mad.
Meh glad that yuh
Ah right and suh.
Ey gyal, yuh na fine
Nobady yet, with
So much white maan
In Merica?
Meh na know how
Meh mus believe dah!
Meh tink seh becaas
Meh sen yuh ah school
Yuh wan choose
Coolie maan ova backra.’

‘But Maa, you don’t understand
All the issues involved!’

‘Meh andastaan good that
Yuh sissy who neva
See school door and
Only know to scrub pat
She know what is what.
She marrid white maan
And she ah live fat.
And yuh who me sacrifice
And sen ah school
Yuh ova deh
Ah play de fool.

Yuh tink meh na hear
Dat yuh refuse backra
And yuh go roun with
Wan coolie bai ova yanda?
Gyal, yuh only gat
Book sense? Watch yuh sissy!
She gat cyar an diaman jewelry.
And you who meh sen ah school
You who shoulda know betta
You na want none backra.
Yuh waan be pore foreva?’

Maa, education has taught me
To love what belongs to me.’

What yuh want with
Dese people and dis country?
Yuh dig dem history
To write dem story.
But remember that abbe
Nah gat no country.
Yuh ah meh pickney and
Meh jus want yuh to be happy.’

Etwaria Singh, New York, Sep 2004

Cruel and Unkind?

Today I wring your heart
Because yesterday you wrung mine.
Do you find I act a part
That is cruel and unkind?

I swear to you, my sweet
I swear to you that this – this
Is not my design. Isn’t it neat
This thing known as poetic justice?
That what you sow, you reap?

Now tell me, sweet my sweet
Do you find that it is tough
This very bitter pie to eat?
You think you’ve had enough?

Two can play this game, you see.
As it has been told many times to me.
You thought you could play and get away
And live unwounded all the way.

Etwaria Singh, NY 2005

Unforgettable You

Unforgettable you are.
One in a zillion you are.
The things you say
They make my day.
The things you do
They are so true.
The way you touch
It is too, too much.

The earth may pass away
I shan’t forget you.
The sun may pass away
I shan’t forget you.
My life may pass away
Still I shan’t forget you.

Etwaria Singh, New York, Mar 2004

Your World

If we are left together
We could be happy.
But this inquisitive world
Will not let us be.

Your friends, job and game
To me are all the same.
Pure sources of torment.
Racks I am strung upon.
Racks by the Devil sent.

Etwaria Singh, New York 2004

A New Voice

Make us hear the new
Tone of your voice.
Force us to understand that you
Are not the shaped but the shaper.
Energize us with the fresh reform
Of your potent and ripe knowledge.
Drive us forward towards creativity.
Towards understanding our visions,
Our quest, our dreams.
Infuse us, not with trite polemics,
But with a swelling and dripping
Range of inspired zeal.
Noble intuition, spur us to our
Own biographies.
Our tale.

Margot Van Sluytman
(From Alba the Spanish Woman, 2003
www.margotvansluytman.com)


John Paul

The Pope is dead
Long live the dead!
The Vatican story fills the news
The senses bombarded with senseless abuse

John Paul is great, man from Poland
Enduring politics he began
This Pope, modern-day Superman
Politician, traveler, messenger to distant land

The long history of the Vatican
Secrecy of the papacy
Shroud the true story
Try as hard as you can

Wealth hidden from public eye – immense
Cruelty of the Inquisition
Can’t be cleanse with ritual and incense
No apology, nay, not without due dispensation.

Gary Girdhari

Coolie Daughter Calls Home from New York


GUYANA'S DEVASTATING FLOOD
My sun, my moon, gorgeous sky
Lush green, tropical eye
Mountain peaks where glory fly
See it through my eyes
In every heart beat
In every rhyme
In every step of my feet
My every sublime
See it through my eyes
My pain, my pain
From holy rain
Sea – rivers and plenty rain
Rapid flood across the coastal plain
See it through my eyes
Conservancy overtopping – seeping black water, black death
Still didn't call the Dutch yet!
Kokers clogged emitting mud
Sea Walls – the bastion made with Dutch brains and Native blood
Stop the politicking
Do some engineering
See it through my eyes
Hold Sea Walls against the wicked waves!
Protect your native daughter from a watery grave
Your native son from dying like a scum
Run call the Dutch, to save the Native Land
Save your mother from death and destruction
See it through my eyes
Unholy stench – running blood
Crippled town
Repine upon the tropical plain
See it through my eyes.
To see the Garden City under water
I write
Albouystown, Sophia
I write
Campbellville, Tucville
I write
Plaisance, LBI, Beterverwagting
I write
Annandale, Buxton
I write
Enmore, Golden Grove
I write
Cove & John, Ann's Grove
I write
Diamond, Herstelling
I write
Endeavour, Pouderoyen
I write
See it through my eyes.

– James Richmond, Queens, NY


Nutmeg Girl

Nutmeg girl, at four-thirty
In the morning,
I see you saunter by.
Your dreams, like diamonds,
Clinging to your long black hair.
Your skin like sweet,
Succulent mango juice.
And your eyes beholding
The sprinkling of fading stars.
I smell your luscious scent
As you sit below the breadfruit
Tree, awaiting the red rowboat’s
Arrival, to take you to sell
Your ripe fruits at market.
The pebbly road hums
Beneath the soles of your
Feet. And the slow-rising
Morning sun, pulses with
Incredible energy.

Margot Van Sluytman, 2003. Toronto
(From her published work, Alba the Spanish Woman)

______

Restless Still

Why from sad Adam’s fall

Our tears must be spent,
Our cries and
Our pleas for deliverance

From some potent womb is plucked one ripe sinner
So from all gardens we the innocent are cast?

What unendearing justice is this:

That from one restless will
Our orchards of hope are ever
Darkened?

– Margot Van Sluytman, 2002. Toronto
(From her published work, Feeding Dreams)


Writing Like Ondaatje

Ondaatje writes of love
The way I wish to live it.
Writes of life as it must be
Tasted. Must be known.
The way I feel it
In my soul.
Upon my thighs.
Beneath warm
And fragrant sheets.

Herodotus:
Pages splayed open,
Yellowed and used.
Caressed with fire.
Well-loved words.
Eaten, drunken,
Savoured words.
Lying between charred
And passionate fingers.

Naked words
Spilling over.
Brimming from tongues.
Easing through history.
A nakedness
That knows sand.
That knows heat.
That knows madness.
That knows myth.

– Margot Van Sluytman, 2001. Toronto
(From her published work, Feeding Dreams)


The Tradition

Campaigners who urge us on a
Particular course, prepare the way.
Marking off the limited path
Upon which we are to tread.
Tradition to become unrebellious
Is weakened in their wake,
As they march stiffly before us.
Splendid characteristics for flight,
Are plucked from the air and
Following in a straight line
Looses its appeal.
Shrewdness and the breath of freedom
Delivers us from evil,
From being swept under.
And we become accustomed to,
And proud of – fighting for our lives.

– Margot Van Sluytman

Where Do You Belong
A unique accolade
Wrapped its warped
And greedy evocation
Of historical seediness
Around my throat.
Begging for response to the query:
Where is it you belong?
Which is your country?
My vigorous creed, birthed
In the hot sun-fed jungle,
Sitting only moments from
Equatorial effrontery,
Was momentarily
Thrilled by the dramatic
Need to speculate on
The perverse facts of
Skin colour and accent
And heritage. What’s
In a name after all?
In the face of attempting
To feverishly fabricate
My biography, to secure my
Fate on a map,
I chose not to respond.

– Margot Van Sluytman

We Journey

The accomplished sojourners,
Schooled in the ways of becoming,
In the spirit of solemn determination,
And enlightened by the frail and
Sensuous rudiments of passionate
And complex memories,
Grounded their soulful declarations
Of their belief in experiencing none,
And took their trembling fingers,
And broke free from the slavery of suffocating
Formalities that would have them held fast.
No subsequent examination of their furlough
Proved them ill-advised.

– Margot Van Sluytman
(From: Alba the Spanish Woman by Margot Van Sluytman. 2003)


KILLERS IN OUR MIDST

The good dies and the sick goes to prison
As drug lords and warlords vie for terrain
The Merchants of Bay street smirk
Dry dust settle and hurt feelings subside
It’s life in a zoo of the 21st century

Getting wiser to battle new viruses
Yet ruthlessly emptying the rain forests
Butchering and dissecting good mother earth
For precious minerals and evil believers
As non-believers pollute our blue planet

What have we become without our humanity
When we lie and die for the almighty dollar
Stifling the truth for our selfish ambition
Using the flag or religion as a crutch
Arid grasping nothing from history

The truth, feelings, pride are still alive
And the good will always triumph
For after deleting the violence and vices
Deep down man is a good person
When he can forgive and be charitable
– Norman Dat, Toronto, Canada


Metamorphosis

While cocooned with ignorance for years
Silently growing, dreaming with unknown fears

Brimming and burning with life's energy
Bursting out of darkness, leaving only a shadowy effigy

And soaring onwards like the butterfly in spring,
I emerged assuredly from the embryonic soup of my being.

Having come from a tiny village
Some say backward and savage,

They called me docile and shy
But I egged on and aimed high.
– gary girdhari

and how was your day today, daddy?
Part 11 – by Norman Datt, Toronto

During the days
Of the sugar plantations
The Bakrah’s son
Asked his father,
How was your day today, Daddy?
And the father said,
“Well sonny, today I met
With all the Overseers
And gave them a good
Tongue-lashing
Who went and gave
The slaves
A good whipping
To work harder
Cutting cane, fetching
And pulling punts
Together with the mules
And we are going
To have a good crop
This year.”

And years later
When the slaves
Got their freedom
And ran away
To become pork knockers
The bakrah imported
East Indians
To work the sugar plantations
And after a hot
Sweltering day
The bakrah’s wife
Asked him,
How was your day honey?
“Dalin! those Indians
Are real good workers
But we can get some
More out of them
I put one of them to do it
I made him a lead hand
And I gave him the whip
Boy he is better than I am
He got them on their toes
Darn good slaves they are.”

And long after Br. Guyana
Became Guyana
The natives wanted
Freedom
So they went to England
And Duncan Sands met them
And in the evening
His daughter asked him,
How was your day today Daddy?
“Ahh Child! Today we have some
Natives who want
To break away from us
But I outsmarted them
I changed their boundaries
I make sure Jagan will lose
Ah that Communist!
I left him
In the hands of Burnham”
They wouldn’t catch
Themselves for
The next 50 years
We disrupted
Their schedule
With good ol’
Divide and rule.”

Then Burnham
Became the Kabaka
And his daughter asked,
Papa how was your day today?
And Papa Burnham replied,
“Dese coolies always
Want to win
Today I banned dhall
That would teach them
For coolie without dhall
Is nothing at all!
I can’t win no matter
I am getting richer
But I’ll be fine
I will use the X13 Plan
The next time.”

And years passed
And so
Did Burnham
And Jagan.
And Bharrat became
The Big Brown chief
But Hoyte said no
I can’t take it no mo
I will give them
Slow fyah
And mo fyah
And his godson asked him,
How was your day today?
He replied,
“Son I told my dogs
I mean my boys
To burn Georgetown
Then go hide in Buxton
And when we pooled
All the stolen goods
Yes we were tough
We have enough
For my pension and
My re election.
Look at this gold chain
You’ll make the youths swain
Around your neck?
What workmanship
Ah those coolies
Will neva learn.”


FEAR
"From the truth I must not hide,
My fear runs deep inside my mind.
Shall this sinner take my life?
And live in everything but strife?

Why must the good and innocent die?
Why must evildoers roam wild?
Lord, I ask Thee to watch over me,
And the quantity of my family.
'Amen'."

By Sarina Sarah Singh, August 20, 2003

ANGER
Anger boils inside our heads,
So full of hatred and plots of revenge.
The enmity between us all,
Can lead to a disastrous fall.
Why can't friendship sprout again?
Give bitterness an unhealthy end.
These psychotic acts bring toil and marks,
Which plunge a proverbial dagger into our hearts.

By Sarina Sarah Singh
Queens, New York, August 27, 2003


Eternity's Nearing End
I sit back and reminisce of months passing,
like shadows of the flame, burning beside
me. And it has almost been a year since I've
met love, since I've had the very
privilege of gazing into the eyes of what
no one can live without. My very lifeline,
I long for. Her quiet whispers that awake
every being of life in my body, her scent
that never ceases to rid that of death from
my spirits, her presence that can be felt
through the darkest of nights, where sight
is never to be seen – how shall I progress
to let all that is true to my heart be felt
once again. The confines of imagination
render no answer, yet somehow, each day is
met. And death proves no obstacle.
For yearning of this caliber be not
halted! Time will serve justice. The day
shall return. I shall meet love again, as
the flame serves to burn.

By Steven G. Jagnarain

MAA
Your physical remains lie on a pyre
and ceremonious oil and flowers are scattered
on the wrapped, small, frail figure that served inspiration
to this inquisitive heart. I remember your stories
of Moongazers, Dutchmen, Bacchu and the Estate
where you were acquainted with hard work.
Small in stature yet large in perspicacity
I grieve with others now you are home,
suffering ended,
fiery consummation beginning.
It reaches and blazes you to ashes,
but sparks remembrance not forgetfulness
of heatedly calm words of wisdom.
Within small minutes you return
“ashes to ashes and dust to dust”
and while not present
Yet, I saw.

By Samuel Singh
August, 2004
Dedicated to my grandmother Itwaria Brijlall
(1st April 1917 - 12 July, 2004)
who recently passed away.


My favorite limerik/joke:
I ran a mile,
I saw her smile.
It made me run a while,
Because her face was like a crocodile.

By Sarina Sarah Singh
Guyana, April 23, 1999.


A Scattering of Sugar

So you set out long before sunrise –
a solitary walk one day.
You go to the canal with your bucket
along the sideline, the clear water.

You see the barks of cane falling
each soul laboured long ago
they stood in courage,
telling of defeat and triumph.

The backdam makes a sound only you can hear:
Memories come in spaces
from the clothesline to your aching body
from the cowmouth under your roof
into lunch saucepans
as your children cling to your skirt.

From you Mata, everything follows.
Out of your palm, a scattering of sugar –
You went about the ordinary day,
washing clothes or cutting grass,
or even sewing your daughter’s dress.
You see ripe papaya in your garden
again and again.

At your gate you lookout as your son
walks home a mile from school.
You carried your child everywhere,
made sacrifices to nurture and bear.
Sometimes, you remember your mother
trying to catch her breath.
when she too carried her bucket
filled with promises.

Suddenly, you remember the unfinished meal
and rush home to keep the fire going.

In the shadow of the years Mai
your eyes dazzle and soften
recalling a not so distant past,
the unstoppable river
that made your reflection sharp,
bold as the moving clouds

There is a certain kind of giggle
You unlock another kind of happiness
How the colours shine upon your heart
You now hold your grandchild
leaning close to your bosom

The Spring is perfumed with your laughter –
I see your smile inviting another embrace.

Oh, how lovely your shade of sadhana
More and more your endearing grace
Mother, woman of abundance.

Janet A. Naidu, Toronto, Canada


Is it Over?

One year after its birth it lies dead
And I read her words as they crash in my head
Making passions flee and an unsentimental husk remain,
Thinking of times together and emotions now drained.

She disclosed to others who discern my grief
Even though informing them never was my belief.
I hear my friend now though comforting tones
While in my loss I uttered a devastating groan.

He employed rationale to understand
Though I know we never can, regardless of the demand.
As we walk on the cold dark campus pavement,
We speak of her with still caring statements.

Why should I release her and set her free
When my heart believes she belongs to none but me?
A loss such as this is never appealing,
Which explains the relations of others who lack emotion or feeling.

It is easy to give and never become hurt,
But such relations are demeaning as pigs wallowing in mud and dirt.
I have never felt true pain until she said, “IT IS OVER!”
Resulting in me nevertheless drowning in this pitiless hangover.

Samuel Singh, Queens, New York


CHEDDI JAGAN
(in his memory)

Born in Port Mourant on a sugar plantation
He daily witnessed Guyana's exploitation
He saw hardship and knew there was only one cure
And Cheddi promised to fight oppression for sure

He fought against the plantation owners
Championing the cause of the sugar-workers
The gov't. of the day could not understand
For he was a force, a tiger in their hand

In those days Imperialism was in
And Social Social/Marxism was a sin
You bow to Uncle Sam and dance to his tune
Or you'd pass away like the last full moon

The people came last and politics came first
But this jingoism didn’t quench his thirst
He stood up and was counted though he was alone
In Moscow, his friends had problems of their own

Guyanese celebrated raising the Indian jhanda
As he watched, admired and even visited India
When in 1947 India became independent
To Nehru and Ghandi good wishes he sent

Then later Ghana got independence too
And all Guyanese dressed in every hue
Joined with their brothers of Ghana
And celebrated with Kwame Nkrumah

This did not deter him, he stuck to his belief
And was forced to be the opposition to a thief
As bullets replaced ballots in every succession
As Guyana was repeatedly raped in every election

All his pleas fell on deaf ears
Especially to the political seers
He went to the United Nation and lamented
But the US backed body was undaunted

The British changed first past the post
To prevent the PPP from getting the most
They did this with the sole devious intention
By switching to proportional representation

The result was no party got a majority
The British way of getting rid of the PPP
Burnham and D’Aguiar formed a coalition
Making way for Burnham’s Guyanization

The registration by the Shoup Company
Made utter sheer mockery of democracy
Padded with the dead, hanged, even the fictitious
Which the same British press called "ridiculous"

In England the press had a field day
When Granada TV did their expose`
Airing '”The Trails of the Vanishing Voter”
And "The Making of a Prime Minister"

The whole West knew of that widespread scam
But they prefer to put their money on Burnham
The Indians overseas were denied their right
The wholesale rigging was too much to fight

Rubber bands played a big roll in elections
They were used in the PNC stronghold sections
To wrap bundles of votes i.e. the PNC’s share
And ballot boxes were tampered without fear

Desmond Hoyt, the architect on the commission
He became President with Burnham's extinction
Since 1992 there was never a fair and free election
Only fear, fraud, disgust and wholesale corruption

That was the foundation of the PNC Gov’t. abuse
What do you expect such garbage would produce?
For 28 years they ruled with an iron fist
And did every bleddy thing wrong on the list

Cheddi Jagan did all he humanly could
But it was if he was preaching to wood
They rebuked him and after 28 years
The good doctor still showed he cares

Like the others who crossed the floor in stealth
He could have partook in the country's wealth
Call it quits and left like the others
But he stuck to his guns and his brothers

But behind every great man
There is always a good woman
And we can't and should never forget
His strong and faithful wife Janet

Like Nehru and Ghandi of India
He also had big dreams for Guyana
But his reign was aborted by a conspiracy of silence
Though like Rev. King he too preached non-violence

To clean up the corruption and debt is a huge task
To do it overnight in a few years we can never ask
Wholesale nepotism and corruption ’PNC made’
To wipe off the stench it would take a decade

But there is a cool new breeze blowing
With many changes for better forthcoming
The winds of change are here at last
But we should never forget the past

We have to put our shoulders to the wheel
We have to work like one people with one keel
Let no "divide and rule" come between us again
Strive for real independence, let sanity reign

Jagan never succumbed or relent
Even with his life almost spent
He fought his foes with his bare hands
And never groveled to their demands

He's no ordinary man, he dreamt in his own way
Like the Rev.Martin Luther King, he hoped one day
The people of Guyana would rise up peacefully
Become one people, one nation, with one destiny.

– Norman Tewarie (Toronto)


A COUNTRY LIFE

No one can say
His life is complete
Until he has lived a day
Among the moss and peat
And really appreciate Nature
And man living side by side
Each respecting anther's stature
Like sun and moon and tide

No man should have a care
Except for a country life so sweet
Breathes the invigorating air
Scents the roses and feels the heat
Observes the capers of animals in fold
Butterflies at the frangipangi making a fuss
On the bachelor-button and marigold
Or a humming-bird twittering on a hibiscus

No man since his birth
Would be bold enough to delete
The smell of pegasse earth
Of rice, sugar-cane and wheat
A walk among the colourful birds
The chirps of the swallows and wren
Hearing frogs talk without words
Or listening to the cackle of a hen

No man can peacefully thrive
Unless he's a lover of the out-doors
And hope to remain healthily alive
Despite snobbish sneers of city bores
For one is only a complement
To the other, and when this is done
And when such a time is spent
Only then one’s life is truly won.

– Norman Tewarie (Toronto)


Dreamers Plight

A black starless night
Red blood covers a white rose
I see the truth through the light
A midnight poet writes in prose.

Red crimson blood covers a snow white rose
The kiss of death covers my lips.
A solemn midnight poet writes in prose
Flesh bleeds and tears as he rips.

The kiss of death covers my lips.
Sounds of your voice drown my fear.
Flesh bleeds and tears as he rips
A wetness on my cheek, a single tear.

Sounds of your voice drown my fear
Your breath so soft on the back of my neck.
A wetness on my cheek, a single tear
The ship of my life is now in wreck.

Your breath so soft on the back of my neck.
A break of light, a shimmering star.
The ship of my life is now in wreck
I touch the universe as I reach afar.

A break of light is my shimmering star
I see the truth through the light.
I touch the universe as I reach afar.
A black starless night.

– Navita Sukhdeo (New York)


WHAT IS THE SIGN I SEEK?

Sin in its has been vagabond that seeks forgiveness,
Desperately he seeks the scraps of Holiness,
That his polluted load may be taken from him,
And the pleasant rewards of his faith no longer seem grim.

All through my life I prayed while others jeered,
I loved Your sanctity while others never slightly feared.
In my wreched state I sought Your mighty touch,
Thinking of Elijah, Moses, Paul and such.

There is genuine terror when I think
That You still care for me even though in sin I sink.
I fail to comprehend Your complex terms,
And the ship of my sagacity no longer carries me at its stern.

What have I ever accomplished for You that Your Son died for me?
I now feel worthless of His messages preached from mountains to sea.
He showed us; brotherhood, love and repentance,
And he gave us access to his salvation without hindrance
to our clearance.

My failed conscience only reveals my shortcomings,
And while I seek to punish myself for my misgivings,
Divine intervention always reminds, “I am a child of God,”
Yet, yet I am still frightful why the Holy would want the sinner and odd.

– Samuel Singh (New York, 02/ 2004)


Jesus to Judas

Spiteful words you think of me,
Words of sorrow and tragedy.
I was once your rabboni,
Now you put the weight of sin on me.
You were a sinner, I set you free,
A disciple you became,
And then betrayal sought me.
Truth be told, I want not to die,
But in a tomb my body must lie,
For the good of mankind, a sacrifice I will be,
So that together we will share eternity.
Now I am tired, I will close my eyes,
And on the third day I will rise.
“It is finished.”

– Sarina Sarah Singh (New York)


RECONCILIATION
"Even an Englishman is my friend." – Mahatma Gandhi

We become who we are or are meant to be
By will or fate, in a time of our difference no less;
Let Mandela's words be heard again, from afar or close up,
Aligned to Gandhi’s sense of the "silken cord of love";
Fortitude and forgiveness are all because of a Godhead,
Our yearning for a higher self as we strive to end oppression.
We renew our faith with dignity, despite skin-colour, race
Or ethnic identity, with all things that bring us closer together
Without political manouverings or stratagems. We hearken with
Passive or peaceful resistance, Satyagraha: Gandhi's "soul-force,"
The Mahatma's own preference, if you will, at the heart of a struggle
He first began in the Transvaal and Johannesburg; and with influences
From Ruskin, Thoreau, Tolstoy, and others no less, or the revered
Bhagavada Gita: with all faiths being one; or yet being Christian:
God's own Truth now, because of realization or consciousness
Of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr's own ways,
Forging peace with valour above all else...which we hold dear!

The spirit's own quest beyond prevarication, I say,
As we continue to ask for reconciliation, in order to live
In a better world, as a greater soul-force it will be with Mandela's
Own sense of ubuntu, a way to genuinely forge forgiveness,
This sanctity with nations everywhere, despite upheaval before us;
Now it's the only real place where we strive to be, admonishing
Those yet to come...as we vow to end oppression and rise up
With spiritual force: Mandela's destiny fashioned in his Roblin
Island prison cell, the struggle against apartheid knowing no end;
But with love's shining example: this God or Brahma I discover
With my own dark night of the soul, or the living self's errant ways,
Determined as we are in Canada, Africa, or Asia, to forge
Ahead in our new millennial time or sacrosanct age!

Cyril Dabydeen
(former Poet Laureate of Ottawa, Canada)


Olive's Cry

Liz and Sonny are singing,
The Red River Valley,
"It's a long time since we have been waiting",
Their voices fading in the wind.
My body is coming apart
Melting, earthing, falling
My being is vapourizing
And I cannot find yesterday.
If I could but find tears
We could talk of tomorrow
But my tears dried up long ago
No tears are falling in my heart.

Here on this Avalon of coconut trees
Where lost battles are won
With Liz and Sonny I'll watch the cows
Grazing on the savannah.
And I will sleep to the sound
Of voices from yesterday
And a rumour of faraway singing
In the wind.

– Joseph Drepaul

Polyphemus as Prophet

Ayman al-Zawahiri is desperately sought
for being
the dedicated vision physician
to a cyclopean mullah
and a self-proclaimed caliph
one made one-eyed in battle
and narrow of sight and homicidal both
by choice
and bereft of tear glands
to buttress which he prescribed
dwelling in caves
and travel only by night
down tunnels, burrows and streets unlit
to places kept in the dark
by design
from where to nurture
and dispatch their flocks
in the fashion
of Old Man Hassan ben Sabbah
as universal hashishins
and the good doctor’s postulations
holds positive prognosis
of neither permanence
nor peaceful existence
for all outside of the fold
lest they accept
agoraphobia
and, similarly if not more, photophobia
as gifts
from the one true god
for the chosen
and adopt as absolute arkan
rewarded
by martyrdom in heaven
eradication of unbelievers
in this canon
as if they were malarial …

– ©Balwant Bhagwandin.
(
Sunday, August 03, 2003, 12:49:27 AM.)