Poems by Sean Des Vignes

October 2018

Miss Tourist, Road March Winner

doudou darlin’ want to know about de carnival
so much like she want to apply fuh citizenship
like yuh ask where she was born & she would say
she from south, she would say de waters
of maracas beach curried her skin, she would
say she navel string is buried in de jouvay,
she would say de spine is ah compass that lands her
in Independence Square, she would say kenevel
& leap into de sky, she would jump in front
de band & lead it, she would say play mas!,

she would pass fuh indian & be a negro’s fever,
she would cause ah fight on de street, she would
know how much ah maxi cost to reach in town,
she would tell yuh “be careful” before yuh could




“Is My Pussin,’” She Say, Road March Winner

kitch, yuh feel is joke? yuh hand could catch ah chop down,
yuh face could collect ah slap
is no WE with body, body is MINE own

yuh pussin’ neva gone because is no pussin’ yuh eva was carryin’

do not mamaguy, all i want is respect & ramajay
yuh don’t have no kinda pussin’ at all,

goh sing bout yuh pole,
                                          cricket bat, drumst-
                                        wire, wood, bicycle
broom stick, toti, ZUT!

leave my cat alone, who even say is cat i callin’ it?





my father was ah blacksmith
                                                        my father was ah master of whistlin’
& with de black anvil
                                                        becomin’ ah bed for de hammer, he
would make horseshoes;
                                                        manipulated metal fuh low wages,
somedays we wouldn’t have food—
                                                        guava season is what we called it
so I took de chime of his metalwork
                                                        the clangin’ noise of empty bellies
& ate de rhythm of it
                                                        this would come to be de song of we life

i feed myself with these memories
                                                        we began to make chorus of them—
then realized how to manipulate
                                                        the day’s incidents . . . my father said
things of luster—if it couldn’t stretch,
                                                        if it couldn’t quite nourish us,
it could certainly sing
                                                        we would learn to be alright

when I would play with the other children
                                                        steadfast, & quick-footed
we swept through the streets of arima
                                                        with joyous disregard for our fathers
runnin’ into biscuit drums without looking
                                                        we laughed along dense metals
which sang as they fell
                                                        spoke what daddies didn’t say


Sean Des Vignes received his MFA in creative writing from New York University. A New York Emmy Award Winner for best arts segment, Sean also has won the Beinecke Scholarship and the Burton A. Goldberg Poetry Prize for his poetry. He has held fellowships at Cave Canem, Callaloo, the Conversation, and the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital. Sean is of Trinidadian heritage and lives in Brooklyn, New York.