Poem by Vladimir Lucien

October 2020

Eleggua for Kamau


A small church, bredren—
narrow like some
new writer chap-

book.   & on the small-island
of your coff’n, self-publish-

ing tropical flowers trumpeting
silence in all directions.
Those words we gather, bredren,
those strong bouquets of breath

we send to who will receive them,
the broeken bread of consciousness
we seek to share with those
who will receive them—those
who will come even after we
leave them—

& outside the church tonight
somewhere or anywhere from
Africa across Atlantis into the
Carry-being, somewhere you have live before—
in Accra, in Kingston, in New Yorok—
all that you did write about is happenin’
not like prophecy, not like some blas’-

from-the-pas’ back-in-times dance
of history, but in the deep presence
of the bass of knowing yourself that is history,
secret & emphatic
and certain as sweat sofly inscribing a black man
back as he dancing close—navel to navel—with his
woman, secret & sycorax like the small jouk
in the small revolution of her waist
& bosom-twa on him.


A small church, bredren—
small & respectable like Bajam,
the coffin, small & respectable,
& a small & respectable widow,
& the Barabajan pastor in his
Barabajan accent—small &


& yr compañero Gordon Rohlehr goin’ back to carnival-Trinidad to write the Caribbean down after him read your You-logy & the Kumina yards talking in Xaymacan-Congo & the world tomorrow tomorrow wif more Capitalism & Slavery & Rumshop & Christophine & & yet, Trini Roger Robinson win Prospero T. S. Eliot prize fi we &   yet  Brexit sennin we black to we Caribbean like if we was immigrants or johnny-come-lately arrivants & i— i in New Yorok watchin’ the squirrels at Washington Square Wes’ . . .

& Janice Whittle gone home in she black mourning
clothes, & Renator fly alll from Sen Lucia to see you

off & de grief like it wukkin up to him throat when he realize is die you die
& is really at your fruneral he is &

& later, deeper in the Caribbean
night, in the clackclackclackclackclack

of cicadas, in the loud blocko of invincible crickets
invisible in the thickets whose noise I use to tink
was the soun’ of stars & your wife & widow
gone to the house, the room at CP, the bed,

politely made, still offering res’
& rising again to the weary  & the sof’ breeze

still ticklin’ the clothes on the line
& the black belly sheep restin’ it warm
stomach against the earth finally.

& DreamChad  gone back to the house,
sitting down feeling down & the wind enterin’
Cow Pasture again, shwi-shwi-ing in the dry-season trees &

the frangipani rustling greenly.    sofly







Vladimir Lucien is a writer, actor, and critic from St. Lucia. He is the author of Sounding Ground (Peepal Tree, 2014), winner of the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Literature, and the coeditor of the anthology Sent Lisi: Poems and Art of St. Lucia (Cultural Development Foundation, Barnard Hill, St. Lucia, 2014). His poems have been translated into Dutch, Mandarin, and Italian.