Monday, August 2, 2010
Let me bring some relief to my name,
famous for hiding runaway slaves
and future kings, sons of Europe,
whose marriage, arranged by Laveau,
brought stock to the fortunes of Creoles
and voodoo tyrants alike.
Let me display the roots and tethered vines,
the fetid swamp which covers this secret
with protoplasm, and basalt theory.
Wreckage from a promise kept,
beneath the fire of the fortaleza,
the villa of inquisitional escapees
mattering with Dahomey chiefs,
the ouster of Napoleon,
and the coinage of Négritude,
Césaire's notebooks, leaves
on the brackish ponds of my namesake.
And just below the freedom
of a million castles burned,
a slave masters whips drys
in the window of a museum,
near the blouse of my Corrina.
For a Bluesman's pluck and dash,
a railroad capsizes. The iron rails
of a ship going nowhere
in particular except home.
There, my swamp secret begins,
in the foliage of this poem.
The first breath
in a long song unsung.