Many thanks to Helix, a literary journal published by Central Connecticut State University, for including the following two poems in their Fall 2014 issue.
On Buddha Bay
Light off, ceiling fan awhirl
late-night geckos echo warbled songs
Songs to lullaby our eyes
to leave the day behind
The bone in your vegan curry
the motorbike burn on my knee
Release these passport aches and pains
bury them like turtle eggs in sand
Self-Portrait: Ankles Down
Consider the veins of my old feet
big thick roots of a mangrove tree
Betrayers of age, craving warm baths
each new step presses out a path
Here, at noon, on my veranda rail
each tan toe, a fresh-clipped nail
Countee Cullen, one of America’s finest poets, bridged our early 20th–century racial divide by assimilating in a European art form (the sonnet) both Judeo-Christian and ancient Greek mythology with his own racial and cultural perspective. The result was “Yet Do I Marvel.” Its example demonstrates how, in a world obsessed with self-righteous culture wars, the speaker of a poem, in fourteen lines, can assure us that we are all, regardless of our own specific backgrounds, heirs to a great and grand, disparate world culture.
Yet Do I Marvel
I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus
Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!