‘PAPA BOIS’ by Chike ”Bukka Roots” Pilgrim



In his beard are ants and bamboo
Dance by flambeau
Protect the lambs

Arms like mangrove
Roots, intertwine
Hair like shoots and running vine
Leery, watchful, forest cat
Lap up Caroni river with lappe
Bushmaster wrap
Around the head
Thighs descend
to hooves for legs

Twisting, turning track is walked.
Subtle stride through river dark.
Beyond the pale
Past man’s frail frame
Come see the heights
No mortal names

The wood, the water, forest deep
where creeps the bachac
Chomping leaves

Ananci dey! And Dlo, and Douen.
All defer
to Old Man Bruin.
In war with man
who carves the stone
who diverts the rivers
and drowns the homes

Of peaceful deer and otter sly,
Beast and bison,
He longs for the reckoning

“Man, it comes!
Insect blood suckers
Bleed your gums
Huracan drums, and drums
And drums.
And drums…

Slivers of razor grass harsh…
Slice your thumbs!

Your child dem grind at the last, lost city
Devoured by those,
you who shows, no pity!”

And on,
And on,
the old god swears.
Teeth grind zealous
Fangs, feathers, hair.
Jealous, jealous,
of man’s successes,
all failures
man learns
in time,
Which is precious

Papa Bois!
Prying prey from the hunters
Anaconda – grip!
Thumping fist!
Stamping, stubborn, horticulturist!

Papa Bois!
First breed, first cherry
of brooding Gaia’s eyes
Father of the forest, wise
Humming through the isles.

Grumbling at the sound of chainsaws
A Ten foot tall Horned King

A Beast-Man
Self Reliant.

Papa Bois!
Dreadlocks dripping down dank diamond dew
Hates real diamonds though!
Hates gold too.
Hates all things that fissure his Earth
Worships the Wind
which whisks wild dirt.

Dis dirt, once people
He’s watched them toil
Underground they turn to oil
Under pressure – under six feet soil
Kings, and farmers
Soldiers, slaves

Run your Races
Into! Graves.

Papa Bois!
By the civilization’s he’s faced
Iteration on iteration
Cyar withstand, or replace!

His iration
As it shatters high our stations
And scatters wide our nations.

Libations dry for Enki.
Where is Zoroaster?
Where is Zeus?
And where is Jupiter?

Devil-up-ment devoured
Under crawling, juniper!
Snake grass arms
Temple, conifer!

Bois has smoked up
Raked Tang
with his tongue
Caught London in his horns

Bois has collapsed
Mighty Babylon
And his stick
And his whip
Sting the throng
Into song.


Chike ”Bukka Roots” Pilgrim is a writer, historian, and archaeologist from Trinidad and Tobago. He has been awarded a Masters’ Degree in Archaeology from the University of Oxford and has done post-graduate work at the University College London. He has also featured prominently as a rapso performer and spoken word artist, being a two-time finalist at the Bocas Literary Festival National Poetry Slam. His literary work has been published in Kwani Magazine, an African literary magazine based in Kenya.