Issue 4 – November 2014

Cover art by Sonia Farmer
Cover art by Sonia Farmer

About two years ago, David and I were sitting at the Petite Pump Room upstairs of the Charlotte Amalie Ferry Terminal with his father. I had just arrived to attend the Islands in Between conference that was being hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands and the Knights and I were enjoying a local lunch. Over this meal, I began to talk about the dream I had to start a literary journal. Now we have been at it for over a year! The incredible work that we continue to receive makes it easy for us to continue this commitment and we thank our loyal readership as well as the many networks that post our calls for submissions as well as our issues. Having made it through the year, our next goal is to source funding to release a print issue of the year’s work and we shall endeavour to keep you abreast of the developments to that cause as well as how we plan to make them available.

Issue 4 finds us starting to fill out other areas of writing in addition to poetry and fiction as we publish our first review. Suzanne Uzzilia reviews two texts that explore LGBT experiences in Caribbean texts and culture. The award-winning Opal Palmer Adisa contributes not only her poem “Moko Jumbie Romance”, but also an insightful interview with Moko Jumbie Master and Founder of the Moko Jumbie Academy in St. Croix, Willard John. Our non-fiction section is rounded out by Jacqueline Bishop’s brief memoir “Photographs on the Mantelpiece”.

Our poetry section continues its brief tradition of strong imagery and voice with new poems from Loretta Collins Klobah, Chris Astwood, Lizza Rodriguez, Christopher Cartright, Althea Romeo-Mark, and the aforementioned Opal Palmer Adisa. The poems range from the nuances of relationships to explorations of cultural identity and those themes are mirrored in our selection of fiction by Lisa Allen-Agostini, Kivel Carson, and Morgan Christie.

Moko remains very much a labour of love for David and I, and I hope you find the work included intriguing, invigorating, and enjoyable. Our small team has recently been joined by art curator Carla Acevedo-Yates who will serve as our Art Editor. Please share Moko with a friend and Like us on Facebook.






Installations by Elsa María Meléndez Torres

“A dark vision of humanity, convulsion, ruin and nostalgia lie in the repetitive process of sewing, embroidering, mending, sorting and accumulating objects and materials.”

Paper Artworks/Poems by Sonia Farmer

“As a starting point, I began to read old newspaper stories to see how the event unfolded in real time. A variety of voices came forth through these periodicals, and on these pages a war of its own took shape.”

Assemblages by Robin Fredey

“These new assemblages find a new life cycle for man-made objects lost at sea.”






Poems by Loretta Collins Klobah

“The cleared-off land is both blank slate and fragmented mélange / of fact and fiction. I ponder my daughter’s grasp of it all. / The sun is starting to go down, and I am aware/of how lonely this drive is, with us alone out here on the un-lit road.”

Poems by Chris Astwood

“He will eat it with sea-grapes for breakfast, / just so seasoned. Consume its uniqueness, / make it something ordinary to swallow.”

Poems by Lizza Rodriguez

“He is brown, rotting (face of split / cement). Your palm is ring deep in mango belly. / My head, too, loosens.”

“The Happy Slave Motif” by Christopher Cartright

“But fortified by feeding on our brothers’ rot, / we drag her oxidized, salt-white torch, a monumental / plow that cuts the plains and mountains into Empire”

“Neighbors Sanderson” by Althea Romeo-Mark

“It is then we shut out distractions, / shush those in mid sentences, / strain our ears to hear elegiac words / that speak and sing for a/voice now stilled by stroke.”

“Moko Jumbie Romance” by Opal Palmer Adisa

“Here was a moment immortalized by / history here was to be found the beginning / and all that was yet possible by a people / for whom love was every breath they breathed / every whip they endured every child they seeded / and brought to life in a time when meaning was / inverted and they had to go back to remember”




“G&Ts and Rita Bloody Marley” by Lisa Allen-Agostini

“He’d lost weight steadily since I’d been working for them, and I didn’t doubt he was now willing himself to die. His toothless mouth hung open a little, drooling from a corner, as I dusted and mopped the beige room that had become his only vista. I’d suggested Tante Alice turn the bed so at least he’d see the window, but she’d said, ‘Darling, don’t be silly. What does he need with a view? He was a pilot for forty years, for God’s sake. He’s had enough spectacular views to last a lifetime.’ Another sip of gin. ‘And enough women, too. All those lovely air stewardesses, flying such friendly skies.'”

“Gianna” by Kivel Carson

“I am afraid of the water, of what I might find in it. I want to go back to that familiar beach and let the old voice guide me, but I’m not ready to drown a third time. I don’t go down to the water. I don’t even let my feet touch its sands. It could free me, but I let it shackle me instead to this rock. It could carry me beyond this place, but I let it circumscribe me.”

“Right Side Up” by Morgan Christie

“Forced together by circumstance, their faces mirrored fifty years into past and future, the grandmother and girl sat in the vibrant kitchen inspired by a life, oceans away, a life the grandmother often kept to herself.”





“Photographs on the Mantelpiece” by Jacqueline Bishop

“My grandmother, as did her mother before her, uses photographs as a means of holding onto something she fears may slip her grasp, and this, of course, makes sense for people who have watched children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren move away in successive migrations, not knowing if nor when they will ever see these loved ones again.”





“The Man Behind the Mask”: An Interview with Willard John by Opal Palmer Adisa

“What do you think it is about St. Croix that has allowed Moko Jumbie to be so strongly rooted here; and secondly, how does this tradition exemplify the “soul” of the people? In other words, how does the Moko Jumbie tradition speak to the cosmology of St. Croix?”





“Crossed-Dressed and Queer: The Caribbean Speaks” A review by Suzanne Uzzilia

“This all-caps challenge provides a level of immediacy to this collection; what is written here matters and has real-world implications.”