December 8, 2011

“Christmas Flash Mob” by Cynthia James

so they lit the third candle, the rose among the mauve,
a half-split caimito really, on the evergreen, the plum,
gradating to a fuschia, vulva-centred, fleshy white,
a moist black star buried in every quadrant whorl

but no witness to this story to fill its many gaps:
how a girl hearing voices that she pregnant
(second hand), just ups and take a journey
to a distant land to visit an old cousin by herself,
that a baby leaping in a womb confirm; they say
she end up staying with the cousin six months

and the cousin husband, old Mahal, you know Mahal,
revving car and turning corner, with lip and foot and hand;
he doubt; they light a candle on his head; strike him dumb;
and Shadrack, too, for years we live with Shadrack,
walking up and down with rope, brown gown and jesus-
sandals clanging bell, a dead ringer for the same John

so I’m telling Bev about this flash mob, livening the humdrum,
this Sunday stir up, twelve-eleven; people in their dan dan!
Everybody singing: Exultez de joie, acclamez votre roi!
led by a doe-eyed angry man playing an organ

and I say: We just practising to maim and kill tomorrow
the only way we know how. See those stalks clawing
the promised fire at the centre of the ash coal dawn?
See how right now we longing for the white stuff?
All this, One cycle, One répétition. Near Easter, we
cursing the same white stuff: White Stuff, Begone!

and my daughter ups and say: You know you! You’d better
keep your mouth shut! Your great grandmother shut her mouth
so you could born. You always jeopardizing things, opening
up your big mouth. But I tell her: No worries, this poem not
getting print no how. Is just you know how sometimes when
you’re breathing and you notice that you’re breathing, just so

you start to gasp because you cannot find your rhythm? Well
the half-split caimito’s just a figment of that Carib woman
far from home, dreaming a slice-a black cake, and a slice-a
Scrunter pork and a drink a ponche à crème! Ah! to top it off

© Cynthia James 2011

About Cynthia James

Cynthia James is a Trinidadian, living for the past 3 years in Toronto. She writes poetry and fiction and her work can be found in publications such as Callaloo, Caribbean Writer and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse

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