Friday, April 3, 2009
Calypsonian Blues Woman
Calypsonian Blues Woman,
What is your death to me?
Is it America, Antigua,
England or Africa-
Catholic or Episcopal
Yoruba or Obeah?
I see the same colors now
that I saw from your womb.
I feel the march of painted stilt walkers
And marvel how their faces
Nearly reach the sun.
I hear the chant of the steel pan
And the blow of the bugle in
The old man’s final whistle-
Mother, I am missing you.
Clowns, jesters, and the beautiful
Are not supposed to die.
In me is carnival again
Innocence and nakedness.
We were always, to ourselves,
deformed and abnormal
burned by the sun,
on your beach by the sun
and by our South Bronx window when
our borough was burning -
on the altar
by the flame, by the flame, by the flame
by the fire in the sores covering
every bit of your flesh
-these blemished my life.
Mother, I am longing for you.
Queens, Revelers and Soldiers
Are not supposed to cry.
I listen, now, to what’s left of you.
I, daughter and reveler, raise high
Your image on carnival streets
which run the labyrinths of my veins
Bleeding and guiding each color in my blood.
My mask, so like yours,
red as the Indian, white as the European,
Black as the African.
We both genuflected for Jesus,
yet moved our entire bodies
To the boom of the drum.
Me, your new world, ‘pickney,’
Sunk with your death,
Watch carnival trains of passing mourners
Rich revelers and poor revelers
Revelers dressed in clothes of white powder
Tattoos of ha’pennies glisten on their bare backs.
Death they mock and dishonor
For they are dead, too, this reminding me,
Mother, as you have said
Mumbling from behind your masquerade,
‘Life, my granddaughter-daughter, is the mask we wear.’
Come back to me, now Mother,
The swan only pretended to sing your final song
Your final song should include the ping-ping-ping
Of steel pans, the shout of horns
exploding your name into Bacchanal,
the call from the trumpet
and the singing voice of your own bodily departed Mother,
the music of African and Antiguan kisses,
the clamoring of belly laughs –
language of revelers whose image, like you,
they see reflected back to them
against the night’s colored face.
Mother, I still listen to you.
I catch your whispers
As they walk across the sky.
Dream of me, Mommy, dancing in your womb,
Knowing that I, too, was an immigrant
from the precious, soil of your body
–Your beautiful body, you once carried
with African Royalty and English pride.
Dream of me, Mommy,
dancing in your new-spirit womb
Energized by carnival light
Basking in Torment, yet dancing, towards Joy.
Come back to me, Mother,
and while I sleep
Give me just one piece of your strength,
move me with the spirit of your new Calypso.
Come kiss forever your grieving daughter,
Leave pieces of heaven on her cheeks.
by Bassagirl (aka Osedra)