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The Antilles.

The Antilles

 A fistful of sand, rocks and coral,
 Sprinkled on the sea's blue counterpane
 By a majestic giant's hand.
 Shards of epic memory
 Mosaiced into the lives of transients
 That form the Antillean vocabulary--
 Guanahani and Curacao,
 Montserrat and Anguilla,
 Jamaica and Barbados ...

 With his colossal head propped up
 On the cirrus pillows of fluff
 Floating above a porcine bay,
 His feet resting on the bolsters
 Of Guadeloupe and Martinique,
 Empire takes his brief siesta
 Late into Britannia's fin-de-siecle hour
 And the 20th century's tepid dusk.

 He lies sprawled, his legs splayed,
 His ass dangerously close to the yawn
 In Bermuda's scalene thunder-box.
 Even in sleep, his ear is to the ground
 Next to the Isle of Youth.
 Port-au-Prince is an itch
 In his right smelly underarm,
 Fort de France a callus
 Between his left foot's toes.

 With his breathing, shattered islands
 Bob up and down under the tropical sun--
 The Grenadines and Basse Terre,
 Margarita and Anegada,
 Hispaniola and Eleuthera,
 And other exotically named Felicities.

 He shifts in his sleep, his movements crushing
 Teeming colonies of black, red, and brown ants;
 Caribs, Arawaks, Tainos, Ciboneyes.
 Ashanti and Igbo, marooned into creoles,
 Tattoo a cardiac drumbeat of reggae
 Into a rhythmic badge on his chest's skin.

 The borborygmus of storm thunder
 Grumbles in cumulus intestines.
 The hurricane, still distant,
 Clears its postcolonial throat.
 He snores on, oblivious,
 His foetid breath
 Flavoured with cheap rum,
 His mouth wide open
 To V.S. Nightfall
 And the random descent of corbeaux.

Srinjay Chakravarti is a journalist, economist, and poet based in Salt Lake City and Calcutta, India. He was born in 1973. His poetry and prose have appeared in a wide variety of publications all over the world. His first book of poems received the Salt Literary Award from the Australian literary and publishing organization. He has won first prize in the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Poetry Competition 2007.
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Author:Chakravarti, Srinjay
Publication:Journal of Caribbean Literatures
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 22, 2008
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