See di poet man deh
for Edward Baugh
Ah wah mek mi always inna crosses?
every sundeh mi catch dis man
eyes shovin’ through him
window ah watch mi every move
suh till mi haffi switch up mi route fi avoid him.
But dat neva change nuttun
cah him follow back ah mi
every weh mi guh.
Suh till one day mi deh inna bookshop
ah look supm fi mi daughter an
buck up inna him pon di backcover
finally learn him name –
Edward Baugh, di poet man.
Suh mi skip thru di book only fi
en up catch poem bout
one dead ooman who
moved from church to church
in search of God.
But deh man yah brite eeh?
jus cah mi learn fi blind him jancrow
eye mek it cyah see prey
mi suddenly dead?
Well, lissen poet man –
ah neva God mi di ah look fah mek
mi run from church to church.
Mi find Him long time.
Ah did you mi di ah hide from
wid yuh fassin eye dem testifyin
to temptation on di good sundeh
mawnin, drawin me closer,
callin me muse.
Scarred benches mirror the back window of the
bleached minivan as it drives away from the
schoolyard. My eyes reach out to the fading cricket bats
casting a long shadow on unyielding concrete.
Who left the bats behind?
I raise my head to the cry of a petchary
and the mistress shifts to Bennett.
My eyes search for the restive petchary,
but finds in her place bare,
embarrassed almond trees, their last leaves
consumed by small, pernicious caterpillars.
Cornel Bogle was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and is currently a PhD student in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He carries out research on essays, friendship, dreams, and the Caribbean.