Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kamau Brathwaite

Kamau Brathwaite [AS/COA]

from Kamau Brathwaite's Ancestors:


But my father has gone out on the plantation
he use to make us windmills
spinnakers of trash when the crack of cane was in the air
their brown ecru stalks wrinkled & curled in the wind like scare

-crows of orange angels
butterflies flicker as the clip straw click its pin
as it pick up speed

but for years he has brought us nothing
for years he has told us nothing
his verbs shut tight on his briar

while my mother watches him go
w/his cap & his limp & his skillet of soup
& we nvr look at his hands

look at his hands|
cactus crack. pricked|
worn smooth by the hoe|
limestone soils colour|
he has lost three fingers|
of his left hand falling|
asleep at the mill|
the black crushing grin|
of the iron tooth ratchets|
grinding the farley hill cane|
has eaten him lame|
& no one is to blame|
the crunched bone was juicy|
to the iron. there was no|
between his knuckle|
& ratoon shoots. the soil|
receives the liquor w/cool|
three fingers are not even|
a stick of cane. the blood|
mix does not show the star|
-graze crystal sugar shines no|
brighter for the  cripp.le|
& nothing more to show for|
thirty years spine|
-curving labour in clear|
rain. glass eyed|
-in off|
the sea.  fattening up the|
in the valleys. caus|
-ing the toil of the deep|
well-laid roots. gripping|
to come steadily loose|
junction & joint|
between shoot & its flower|
to be made nonsense of|
& the shame the shame the|
-lessness of it all. the name|
-less days in the burnt cane|
fields w/out love|
of its loud trash. spinn|
-ing ashes. wrack|
of salt odour that will not|
his throat. the cutlass fall|
-ing fall|
-ing. sweat. grit between|
chigga hatching its sweet|
nest of pain in his toe|
& now this|
& now this|
an old man. prickle|
to sleep by the weather|
his labour|
losing his hands|

No comments:

Post a Comment