By Way Of
I am flower
woven into Italian bridal wreaths.
And in the hour when blooms unfurl thoughts of my loved ones come to me.
I am vine
curled in Indian sheets.
Smiled shyly –– blossomed –– having played the game of love.
In my own land
I am bad omen
draw duppies and demons.
Night jasmines cannot bloom in this cold place.
Mama should have known not to bring me home,
carrying that white flower name.
Jasmine Blossom by Nirala
Night Blooming Jasmine by Giovani Pascoli
Jasmines by Claude McKay
(Jericho’s Duplex) A Good Man
Grandpa was a policeman in Jamaica.
He did not want to be a bad man.
He did not want to be a bad man
Locking up black men in jail forever.
Black men die, locked up in Island jail.
Black men forgotten, held there in chains.
Kept without judgement, held in their chains.
So he crashed his own motorcycle.
He crashed and saw a vision of God:
Hate what’s evil, hold on to what’s good.
Do not hold on to what is evil.
In the garden, he tends to his greens.
Grandpa tends to greens in His garden.
They grow up healthy. He is a good man.
By Way Of
My grandfather speaks Patios
I do not understand.
We yuh ah seh.
The mother tongue
of his childhood.
My great-grandparents spoke Spanish
my grandfather never knew.
Nos pillamos mi amor.
Their own language
not of birth nor blood.
I speak of family:
black all over.