Poems by Anton Nimblett

• August 2013

Canal Cart

If I could go back to Thorne Street
I would ride canal carts down the
western hill, past Mr. Padmore’s
flashy new house, the hibiscus
fences, Emma Best cussin’ ’bout
metal ball-bearings’ blare against
black-top road, snare drum cadence
amplified by repurposed wood.

Only ragamuffins built canal carts,
rode them before soft sunsets, when
there was homework to do, when
decent people like Mrs. Baptiste, the
schoolteacher, were trying to rest.

If I could go back to Thorne Street
I’d sit in front of Unlucky Brian’s
cart, his sun-tarred arms reaching
past my bony body, grabbing guide
ropes, racing past Roderick’s slower
buggy, over gutters, past class limits.

If I could go back to Thorne Street
I would crash in a loud reckless heap
and save myself years of searching.

 

The He for Me

I don’t care what he’ll look like. Instead
I know beach, fruit, tree, bird, flower, beverage.
Yes: scent, time of day, rhythm, instrument.

He’ll be Las Cuevas Bay, tucked farther
along North Coast Road than Maracas Beach—
quieter, water even warmer, fisher-man quaint.

Chennette: verdant shell over silken,
sunny pulp orbiting a globe of seed, like
Saturn rings—layers of round, hard-soft-hard.

He’ll be East Coast coconut palm, leaning
back toward Africa, unfazed by distance or time,
strengthened from growing into steady winds.

Kiskadee, singing reclaimed French-Creole:
strong clear harmony with rustling leaves,
flashing unpredictable color in flight.

He’ll be Ixora: firework cluster of tiny blooms.
Scent of Christmas ginger beer. Be final minutes
before the painter’s sun sinks below horizon.

He’ll be driving iron-section knock, leading
foot-sore mas’ men the last lap before Lent.
Gayelle of shiny bass steelpans Jouvert morning.

And I will be calypso, shadow, bassman.

 

Anton Nimblett, a Trinidadian who lives and writes in Brooklyn, is the author of Sections of an Orange (2009), a collection of short stories published by Peepal Tree Press. His fiction appears in the award-winning anthology Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles (2008) as well as several literary journals. He is a founding member of the Hot Poets Collective, and his poetry is included in War Diaries (2010), an anthology.