I was born on an islandChristened by genocide.Blood is absolute here,not water. Blood is the rumorof an invasion; a coup; a servant'sillegitimate baby; the color of one's skin;or the national id card denied to thousandsof Dominicans with Haitian ancestry.Blood is the currency here.
Blood is the stain removed from whitepages trying to bleach history,the way corals are bleachedby the sun like bones. Oh!Forgive this impolite language!We are in the company of flamingtongues that have mongrelized existenceon the amount of creole blood.
Blood is an absent ruin on the shoreswhere Columbus and his men slicedarms and necks for the desires of a sword-thrusting kingdom that placed historyupon a cross, crossing waters with the drip-drip-drop of natives collecting nuggets.Lives granulated for sugar,the white gold that brought empiresonto dying corals and transformed [End Page 112]
landscapes for more plantations—cacao,indigo, coffee, and palms stripped fromdying mountains where the sun scorchesskins without favoring age. Bloody hell!Gaia is choking on her own plasma. [End Page 113]
Patrick Sylvain is a poet, social and literary critic, and photographer. His work has been published in several creative anthologies and reviews including: African American Review, AGNI, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Caribbean Writers, Ploughshares, and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. Sylvain's academic essays are anthologized. Sylvain received his BA from the University of Massachusetts, an EdM from Harvard, and an mfa from Boston University as a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow. He is on faculty at Brown University's Africana Studies. He is also the Shirle Dorothy Robbins Creative Writing Prize Fellow at Brandeis University. His poetry chapbook, Underworlds, is published by Central Square Press, and more work is forthcoming from Beacon Press.