Issue 13: Vladimir Lucien
Tjenbwa: Devil’s Bridge, Morne Lezard
for Vahni Capildeo
Now, you concoct your own geography:
to roads that should have shrivelled
into primitive paths of red dirt,
that should’ve stained your shoes,
led you to the squat satisfaction
of some zinc-roofed hut.
You should’ve felt the loneliness
of all the night’s windowsills, the fleeting
interest of a small rain – signs and tunnels
that disallow your height. Everywhere
there is this wilderness of maps
that will show you things:
rivers that can fit beneath fingernails;
coasts where water is afraid; boundaries
too thin to police until a map starts to grow
from the seeds in its soil, and trees and places
push past their Christian names,
and an island discovers its wet, riverine spine.
And having crossed your bridge, adventurer,
pioneer, you must stumble now
upon the scattered heartbeat of potholes,
your raised, wayward conscience.
May we always argue
and suffer the intervention of rain
and thunder that sends us lightning
into each other. We are
overflowing with things to say.
But we bring up bygones, raise
to scrutiny patterns of action
of painful consequence. May we say
nothing and listen to the greater
argument of rain, to the possibility
of lost roofs and landslides outside.
It will subside, and like mud,
we will survive it all.
The tired sky will shine again.
The gutters will dry up
and we will turn over ourselves,
each holding our private
puddle of pain.
and flaps our world downward,
because the earth comes to terms
with itself first through its birds,
looming above the identities of days,
rubbing shoulders with rain.
and lowers our earth to us like bait,
because it is ours, and in his wisdom, quietly,
he waits he waits he waits
politely, until we have finished ourselves.
removes himself from the world
or the world from himself,
manoeuvring through the low, difficult blue
until he is all sky. He rises dimly, darkly with
his neck of mail. Shard of night, diving swiftly:
“Prey prey prey!” he says. His business
is what remains.
Vladimir Lucien is a writer and critic from St. Lucia. His work has been published in The Caribbean Review of Books, Wasafiri, the PN [Poetry Nation] Review, and other journals, as well as an anthology of poetry entitled, Beyond Sangre Grande edited by Cyril Dabydeen. Vladimir's debut collection of poetry Sounding Ground was published in May 2014 by Peepal Tree Press. His work in cultural studies focuses on submerged spiritual traditions in the Caribbean, particularly his native St. Lucia.