On the Twelfth Day

By S. Bharrat

 

I dreamt that the day of revolution would come;

that thousands would storm the city streets

screaming for justice. – Mahadai Dass

 

The day for revolution has come and gone

and I hear your cry echo the wind

that carries nothing but my brother’s silence:

mouth sealed shut by his own mud and water.

One counterfeit general – his wings beating strong;

his brooches of vanity shining

in God’s eye still – is replaced by a puppet

whose strings are imagined

to save us from our worst fear.

And it is the stringless puppet

who holds back the climbing sun in the sky;

who cements our lips with river mud,

lovingly applying the paste with his rakshas self.

His muddy hand touches our eyes; our hearts, our souls

so that he can be savior; the sacrificial lamb

avoiding an atmosphere of confrontation.

It has been twelve days since he saved us

And only another pen’s ink on the

tenth day softened the mud on my lips.

But our words bring no irrevocable flood.

Instead, waters storm the city streets

raising dirt and filth and waste

that will be shoved down our throats;

drowning a lonely call for justice.

And in all of this, I think of you

and your dead dream and I wonder

if maybe, I swallowed some of the river mud

covering my heart and hardening it.

Or is it that his hand reached into my chest

grabbing it, choking it, smearing it with mud

so that god’s eye would linger on it – drying the water from it

like the puppet sucks the life from them –  until it is a rock in my chest?

Until it pulls heavily on the rotten yarn of my life?

Until, like your dream, I am dead?

(November 22, 2014)

Dear Nana

This poem was first performed on March 25, 2014 at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport’s World Poetry Day 2014 event – An Evening of International, Regional and Guyanese Poetry. I dedicated the first performance to Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony. The poem itself is dedicated to my nana, those Guyanese of Indian heritage who have had their hearts broken, to all Guyanese fighting the blindness and anyone who wishes to see beneath and beyond the mud. Perhaps now, I should replace “Without Wax” with “Without Riva Mud”.

Moonlight bright, bright tonight
Suh bright, riva mud na hide dem rakshas face.
Ah de same moon yuh lef nana.
Same, same moon yuh lef.
Suh how come me ah see and you na bin see?
Ah de same moon yuh lef nana.
Same, same moon yuh lef.
Same moon mek dem same coolie
tun nyam man and nyam woman.
Dem ah nyam everything nana.
Everything dem ah nyam.
Ow nana, dem ah nyam dem mattie
and dem mattie pickanee tuh.
If yuh tink me ah lie,
mus ask Nagamootoo and Ramkarran.
Ask dem when dem come dah side.
Ask dem if na truth me ah talk.
Dem guh tell yuh
dat if dem coolie dah,
if dem same coolie dah
coulda find yuh ash weh e deh
Den dem woulda nyam dah tuh.
Moonlight bright, bright tonight.
E bright, bright tonight nana.
Suh bright, me ah see dem
dutty skin unda dem nice cloth.
Ah de same moon yuh lef nana
Same, same moon yuh lef.
Same moon dat glad, glad yuh done dead
because now, yuh na gah geh moonlight
fuh see dem rakshas face.
Now, yuh guh see wa dem bin ah hide
with all dah riva mud dem bin ah dig fah.
Ah de same, same riva mud dem use, nana
Same, same riva mud dem use
fuh bruk yuh heart.
Bruk yuh heart when yuh done dead nana.
Dem bruk yuh heart, nana. Ow! Dem bruk am!
Dem na know how fuh love ah land
like you bin love am.
Dem na know nothing bout love.
Moonlight bright, bright tonight nana.
E bright, bright, bright nana.
Suh bright riva mud cyan hide nothing nah mo.

(Without Riva Mud. Bharrat 2014)

To Ian McDonald

Dear Ian McDonald,

As I sit here this cold, grey morning in Craig Old Road my mind and heart and soul wander through the moments you’ve remembered these past decades. I see now, Ian, if I may be so bold, that there comes a time when a girl must rise and burn the leeches from her skin so that she may forge a sword of metaphors.

Swords, I’m sure you must know, are not only meant for blood. No Ian, some swords have been created to carry flames; flames from the same fire which has kept your dear Martin, our dear Martin burning until now. It is the same fire, Ian, which I have seen in the soul of my Martin.

I have witnessed much more than the man Ian McDonald in A Cloud of Witnesses; I have witnessed my country and region and world. But more importantly Ian, I have been taught by you to see so much more than I’ve been willing to see. And even though, I may not agree with some of what you say, I am honoured that I could drink from this reservoir of yours. Knowledge is never enough. It seems that I have been condemned to thirst until death.

In some ways Ian, I envy you. I am not jealous of Martin, no, I have my own Martin, but I am sorely jealous that you have been able to experience that thing which died long before my birth. You are right though, not all ages can be golden. I am certain that this is an age of lead.

But still, hope is an eternal friend (or foe) of man and so once my Martin lives I have hope. I await the day when the nation recognises that my Martin is really our Martin. You see Ian, men like my Martin (and even your Martin) and maybe one day I may be able to say women like me were not conceived in a womb but in the university of war.

Eternal Gratitude,
Sara Bharrat.

Sharing a quick moment with you while I’m on the go.
Sara.

Reportah Storie

For our journalists.

Yuh tink I like wake up every marnin’ an’ see you?
Dat I like lef’ meh house, meh pickanee, meh lil piece in dis cowboy country?
Yuh tink dis is how I wan’ live?
Dat I wan’ watch dem minista thief?
Dat I wan’ watch thief watchin’ thief?
Yuh really tink I wan’ hear how yuh beat yuh wife?
And how she tell de police lef’ yuh cause she love yuh?
Bai look, you na tink I gah better ting fuh do dan dat?
Last week when yuh neighbah thief dem fowl an’ end up in front de magistrate, yuh feel I had time with he?
Yuh feel I didn’t sit dunk in de court room and laff meh rass when de chinee lie-ah tell de magistrate dat is hungry yuh neighbah de hungry mek he thief fowl?
Banna, look, is who tell you dat fowl thief na fuh laff in dis country?
Yuh feel me na laff when de mad man de shootin’ up last week?
Yuh na tink dat show yuh is wa dem people in this country deh pon?
Yuh feel dat right now meh heart na hu’tin’ fuh dem people dat dead?
Fuh dem policeman dat gi dem life fuh something dem na know bout?
Bai look, is wa you feel at all?
Couple year back when dem seh fineman shoot up de people dem,
Yuh feel I de wan’ see duh?
Yuh tink I de like seein’ how dem pack de bartica ppl like dead fish?
Is wa you feel at all?
Dat dem tings don’t hu’t meh heart?
Dat meh stomach don’t bun like you wan?
Dat meh eye watah na does leak fuh meh brethren?
Yuh feel dat I don’t feel?
Bai look, is wa you feel at all eh?

Sharing a quick moment with you while I’m on the go.
Sara.

Day Time Madness in Dreams

Twin globes of soft, golden light. Two suns in a sky kissing gentle Atlantic waves. The epitome of heavenly. The essence of peace. Or maybe, just day time madness in dreams.

But then my greedy eyes reached for the sky again and beheld a moon and sun, separated by space, connected by space, sharing space. Apart and together all at once.

And you were there too, like you always, always are, but this time it was you taking me somewhere in my own dream. Wherever somewhere is I don’t really care. As long as somewhere contains the sum of us. And in your somewhere where I now am, I was promised to you for every lifetime wherever life can be, has been and will be.

How can it be day time madness in dreams then? Nothing is ever madness where I’m with you. Because for me, you’re the epitome of everything real, sane and eternal.

Sharing a quick moment with you while I’m on the go.
Sara.

Do we fall or grow in love?

Been thinking of a summer romance in the tropics. Been thinking of creating a galaxy for us, a galaxy built with the bricks of English syntax and fortified with the intricacy of meaning, built for me to be forever with you. I wanna be with you more than I’m with me.

But mostly, I’ve been thinking of love and theories of how it happens. Do we fall or grow in love? How does it happen? I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking. How do I imprison the how of love in these bricks of mine? How do I capture perfection with imperfection?

All along I was breathing and then one day you saturated the air around me. You became the oxygen entwined with my blood, rushing through every inch of me, keeping this me alive to be with the me you’ve always known. Now all I breathe is you. That’s how it happened for me.

So you see, it wasn’t a falling or a growing.

Sharing a quick moment with you while I’m on the go.
Sara.