Poems by Kwasi Shade

We Will Be Fire

There is blue skin in a tin,
painted à la mien; drumming,
like ten tons, think melanin,
(that they pigment was blue.)

They was man before.

Then bleeding out from the hills,
in this rusted paramin color, negro birthed,
(In the towers of a chant) is a church for the misused.

And this too is a human being.

Crowns of flambeaux weather a pious road;
(kiss a flambeau, tell the dead where you bury them),
break a bottle, start a spark on the pitch, mortar, pestle –
Once for freedom, how the yoke was dignified,
and men culled the death of freedom with they smiles.

Look a jab feller dead with kaiso in he breath –
Not one of them fellers could stop morning congregation;
obeah, pulsing, jumbie body tempered for heat like this.

If you look out you window it have a calling too.
You seeing it?

For hands, (remember they blue ain!),

dancing la dame calinda, extended from a blue mass,
crimson tongues beating santimanitay, la voix, kaiso and jab hymns
on the rusty drum of they chest – guised as beggar,
dawn sits where the war was fought.

There was a jab killing and no one took notice of course.




She Ghosts Like Machines

Love is half the mas:

So was the old man’s ice box, a train,
with Styrofoam artillery, and frozen pains,
a bitten cup, teeth ridden at best
and the mossy backs of plastic bottles,
stationed in the corner where we used to play;
Like a shop of no avail for people
colored cold crimson mouth or yellow bad mind
and he syrup smile once bearing friendly greeting
– gone.

Love is a bad theory:

She was Dimanche Gras 1987, Daddy said.
And I was Minshall and Kitchener
and Singing Sandra and Aloes and Rose in she.
So he telling me – A soca baby, a carnival jumbie,
Me as the Merry Monarch, “grinning and gaudy”,
“too young to soca”, the last good thing he see,
come out from she belly hungry for licks –
All because he couldn’t help it.

And I tend to forget how convincing “I love you” is.

This is not a true story. This is a listening service.
I hear the conjectured notions; the mas beating the wind,
this woman who had Shadow crooning injustice too known to black people,
who saw him win, night sitting on we head, on the shoulders of promise,

Where I belong, is stasis.

And I tend to forget how convincing “I love you” is. Is a cup of ice,
thrown into the wind of a face, shocked with feeling, inert,
dead with love.

So was the old man’s ice box, a train,
lost in the corners of her eyes,
she contempt, a house furnished with listening people,
and the tell tale signs of a woman who once was?

Kwasi Shade is a writer/artist living in Trinidad.