Poems by Donald Cleary

• February 2016


Don’t be afraid if you wake alone In blue skies and green flowery paradise. Red germaniums (now replaced with red poui) splatter the walls and seep into the earth Tan hide beaten thin, etched into the cracks of the wall, glisten with the souls of those innocent (And those not so innocent) long gone to Elysium.

The mob roars “kill kill kill” In his garb, white like coke, Caesar stands like god as his gladiators parade their weapons of death His is the power to give or take life This is no coliseum and I am no gladiator I piss my pants scared shitless Not of death but of the way death comes I live not for death in java but life in Elysium.

Labor Day Massacre

The snipers had orders to kill only men, But no one restrained them, Intoxicated by the smell of blood.

They fire at any movement in their crosshairs From the heights of jubilee, The floral dress flowing in the wind, Stained red by the insatiable appetite of the gendarme.

Electrified fences and gas cylinders Only serve to fire the rage of the first regiment, Riddle with holes concrete walls, Flake away stories of indiscretion.

With ruthless accuracy the drone scopes Out the one reluctantly signed over Even the mongrel bleeds for Dudus.

At the end of the afternoon, The heat caused a light mist to arise: It was the blood of seventy-seven victims, The ghost of the Tivoli, Evaporating in the setting sun.


Donald Cleary holds a bachelor of education and a master of arts from the University of the West Indies, Mona. He has worked as an educator for twenty years. He is a teacher and administrator and a man consumed by wanderlust. He has taught in Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and, currently, in El Salvador, and he draws on his global experiences as inspiration and insight for his poetry about home and away.