The writer as a man

(for Geoffrey Philp)

Go into the jungle of my mind, god,
and send forth from a temple there
just like during a storm the force you’ll find,
the dark sound of slaves in a hold where
a black, no-longer-dormant sea builds to a swirl,
hurting with rage: send it with a south-to-north angle,
please, this grudge of ages. Grant freedom to those who
know your name and go to it, god of a great many people.
As for me, Red-Stripe and jerk make me who I am
and fill me with thought, I’m uninhabited and free.
I’m me. Bastard with new chromosomes to give.
Yes, this is my song. On the banks of the Orange river
a full life I have lived, after coming here as a giver
of tokens and karma. Yes, they brought me here
against my will, but this island is my home,
I wear my mask across it like a Dogon sun.
The face I wear is mine. I wear it and on a palette
mix it with spit and the verb of my tongue
to paint into a final version the things I see,
to woo all who in the past have thought
that your wonders, god, were for nought.

Geoffrey with children