11 February 2013
The Small Axe Project extends congratulations to the poets and short fiction writers shortlisted for the 2012 Small Axe Literary Competition, listed below in alphabetical order. The winners are marked with asterisks.
A. Naomi Jackson
31 August 2012
L’ombre de ton ombre
L’ombre de ta main
L’ombre de ton chien
Ne me quitte pas
You Will Listen to Me—1
New York: A man who built a voodoo shrine
using his ex-girlfriends’s underwear—
then killed her mother, and a dog—
was sentenced Thursday to 28 years to life
in prison. The ex-girlfriend, Françoise McDaley,
16, told police that Pierre Carrenard, 36,
harassed her after she broke up with him.
On the day of the crimes, it is reported
Carrenard called her at work and threatened
her mother, Esperance Labidou, a Haitian
immigrant who worked at a bus company.
Carrenard later stabbed the mother 25 times
in her home, before he turned the knife on her
Chichuahua, Foo Foo. He then fled to Florida.
Police found a shrine in his apartment, made
of McDaley’s underwear and one of his socks
tied together in a vine. Carrenard explained
in court that the shrine “was a sort of spell
to control her spirit.” Police also found
a letter in his apartment. “All I want to do
is to love you and make a life with you,
but your family keeps getting in the way.
Let this be the last interference. You will
no longer listen to your family. You will
listen to me.”
Read the rest of this entry »
31 August 2012
A Soaked Shadow
I would check for Rob during that year of jasper overlaps
where seams were celery-colored strips from hip to cuff.
Between bells, in a high-school hallway glazed with teenage
hormones, this fly Lion of Judah let me embrace half my heritage
by perforating the shade of his Jamaicanness. All the West
Indian girls wanted to nibble him: as if, in his sheepskin coat,
his torso were a veggie patty tucked in coco bread. He
would lean against a window fingering a medallion
atop his mock neck. With my starved wallet, I could
only eye one of his admirers—doe-eyed Daphne, with skin
the color of freckled-bread pudding. Was checking for her
merely the pursuit of unavailability and its fleeting aromas?
Can’t say, because the next fall I was carted off to classes
with Wallingford’s upper crust, carted from trying to speak
patois with Rob’s translucent cool. Read the rest of this entry »
31 August 2012
Translated by Corine Tachtiris
Et puis parfois quelquefois . . .
comme un bloc de granit
seulement la certitude profonde de la colère
ce froid dans la poitrine
et puis parfois
ce regard infiniment triste
d’où émerge la nostalgie
qui jamais ne s’endort
And then sometimes from time to time . . .
like a block of granite
only the deep certainty of anger
that coldness in the chest
and then sometimes
from time to time
that gaze, infinitely sad,
where nostalgia comes from
that never falls asleep Read the rest of this entry »
31 August 2012
…It May Be Found
Teal light so so teal from that old bat-flecked streetlamp down the street shining into the window of the abandoned white stone-and-wood house well abandoned except for on the bed where Salvinia Miguel de Cervantes and the nameless man she has found since the world ended are lying down almost chest to chest, you may have experienced a jolt there at my informing you the world has ended and in fact the simple explanation is that there are many worlds not even including the thousands of universes outside our own but simply the worlds within ourselves and even outside for each of us is a complete world accessible perhaps to none but ourselves a statement that if true should be impossible to proclaim but some truths may simply seem impossible, zounds, and anyhow for Salvinia Miguel de Cervantes and the few other residents of the distant Caribbean island of São Carlos who are still alive those self-worlds have been wrenched apart like an only child from the harbor of her mother’s arms or like a beer bottle shattering in slowwwwwwwwwwwww motion and if you are wondering how Salvinia Miguel de Cervantes has ended up where she is, you must first understand that one Sunday but two days from when I began this piece of breathless concentration Read the rest of this entry »
28 May 2012
“like a warrior” de man said
I was 9, 10, out floating
on the waves in
the plastic boat
Me and Iván Karanglo
The white boy blue-eyed
lived in a house made out of goat
dung and dead cacti
with two families;
Karanglo thought I was a millionaire,
kept taking my guilders—
Grandma Naomi gave me those—
to invest in the video arcade machines
in their pixellated violence Read the rest of this entry »
28 May 2012
Now, my thirtieth year
a possibility, phantom body of a bony girl,
passage through rooms like evolving
doors or landscapes, shrunken
Push against memories
like softening hymens.
Persistence of my childish lament or curse
of my guilt, early, like the church.
This ability to smell out rain.
To remember a year when
bullfrogs warned in the grass,
but not the warnings
themselves, no, never those. Read the rest of this entry »
28 May 2012
The Sea En’ Got No Back Door
Instead of learning to swim, I leave his side,
just for a moment, to walk into the freedom
in the waves. I want to wash my scared away,
starting with the dirty soles of my feet, so I let
the ocean hold my body and pull me back—
I join in the laughter of her wild urgency.
When the water turns murky and deep,
silently she releases her grip. I do not fight,
I pretend I am still and dead.
Sinking, I call for Uncle, who warned me
the call to freedom isn’t worth the
trouble it may bring. Read the rest of this entry »
28 May 2012
(An excerpt from Diana McCaulay’s forthcoming novel, Huracan. See Part I here.)
The tavern was not marked by name or sign. Two saddled horses were tethered outside and a black man stood in the sun, holding a pair of horses harnessed to a buggy. He was dressed much more formally than the man on the jetty, in black trousers, a white shirt with too-long sleeves, and a vest, trimmed with pearl buttons. Despite the lavish attire, his feet were bare. Zachary and Trevor Manning went inside.
The tavern was cool and crowded. Zachary recognized some of his shipmates. The floor was dirt, packed hard. Small wooden windows with slats were propped outwards, letting in narrow bands of sunshine. The walls were thick stone, with remnants of plaster clinging in places. Tables were scattered about, most seats taken. Men were clustered around a rudimentary bar and it was clear many were well on their way to drunkenness. Read the rest of this entry »
25 February 2012
. . . and if you’re lucky you’ll have time
to give her treasures you’d really like to keep,
candid shots you didn’t have time to stick,
stuffed in the crevice of an old album:
grandmother louped—at whose wedding?
pixelated father—flying roof-high, dancing the cocoa,
dingy-white sail-shirt, sole umbra in candescent sky;
except . . . what if you’re not lucky?
and she arrives to find you toying with your rat-pack,
walks over for the spot Alzheimer’s check:
Stop watching bony touch, braille-ing faces . . .
“Who’s that?” she says—
you swallow, still, to suppress the croak,
lest whisper uncontrolled, segue into
“Mum, you must be tired, you need to close up.”
Old fish head, grey rim around your iris widening,
you who once sucked fish eye lenses, biting down
white archived print, flattening celluloid images—
you need her help to extend this raw slide
view of still live images, “Sable Venus,” “Flagellation
of a female Samboe slave,” loin-clothed, gift-wrapped
at wrist, flayed flailing—Jesus! crucifix-ed,
beautified, beatified, mummy-fied in plaster of Paris
exhibits all, all these too captured silent. Read the rest of this entry »