Saturday, June 18, 2016

1. English Girl Eats Her First Mango by John Agard

1. English Girl Eats Her First Mango

Agard, John. "English Girl Eats Her First Mango." In Give the Ball to the Poet, edited by George Horrell, Aisha Spencer and Morag Styles, 42. London: Commonwealth Education Trust Books, 2014.
"If I did tell she
hold this gold 
of sundizzy
tonguelicking juicy
mouthwater flow
ripe with love
from the tropics
she woulda tell me
trust you to be
so I just say
taste this mango
and I watch she hold 
the smooth cheeks
of the mango
blushing yellow
and a glow
rush to she own cheeks
and she ask me
what do I do now
just bite into it?
and I was tempted
to tell she
why not be a devil
and eat of the skin
of original sin
but she woulda tell me
trust you to be
so I just say
it’s up to you
if you want to peel it
and I watch she feel it
as something precious
then she smile and say
looks delicious
and I tell she
don’t waste sweet words
when sweetness
in your hand
just bite it man
peel it with the teeth
that God give you
or better yet
do like me mother
used to do
and squeeze
till the flesh
turn syrup
nibble a hole
then suck the gold
like bubby
in child mouth
squeeze and tease out
every drop of spice
sounds nice
me friend tell me
and I remind she
that this ain’t
apple core
so don’t forget
the seed
suck that too
the sweetest part
the juice does run
down to your heart
man if you see
the English rose
she face was bliss
down to the pink
of she toes
and when she finish
she smile
and turn to me
lend me your hanky
my fingers
are all sticky
with mango juice
and I had to tell she
what hanky
you talking bout
you don’t know
when you eat mango
you hanky
is your tongue
man just lick
you finger
you call that
lick your finger
you call that
unless you prefer
to call it
in reverse"

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


I’m eating a little supper by the bright window.
The room’s already dark, the sky’s starting to turn.
Outside my door, the quiet roads lead,
after a short walk, to open fields.
I’m eating, watching the sky—who knows
how many women are eating now. My body is calm:
labor dulls all the senses, and dulls women too. 
Outside, after supper, the stars will come out to touch
the wide plain of the earth. The stars are alive,
but not worth these cherries, which I’m eating alone.
I look at the sky, know that lights already are shining
among rust-red roofs, noises of people beneath them.
A gulp of my drink, and my body can taste the life
of plants and of rivers. It feels detached from things.
A small dose of silence suffices, and everything’s still,
in its true place, just like my body is still. 
All things become islands before my senses,
which accept them as a matter of course: a murmur of silence.
All things in this darkness—I can know all of them,
just as I know that blood flows in my veins.
The plain is a great flowing of water through plants,
a supper of all things. Each plant, and each stone,
lives motionlessly. I hear my food feeding my veins
with each living thing that this plain provides. 
The night doesn’t matter. The square patch of sky
whispers all the loud noises to me, and a small star
struggles in emptiness, far from all foods,
from all houses, alien. It isn’t enough for itself,
it needs too many companions. Here in the dark, alone,
my body is calm, it feels it’s in charge.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Abha by John Siddique in his collection Full Blood

“The Earth loves the first ray of light that
upon him each morning more than any other light.

She is the first ray, the only one.
Day has its beauty but nothing pleases the
more than the first moment when Abha
takes his hand

What a risk to take for love?
Five thousand miles and a failing marriage,
a cat’s cradle of ties holding her there.

Moving with the sunlight as it tracks his
he is the world under her; without each
there is only darkness and bare rock.

What did the Earth know before
the first ray of light of the morning?
That darkness was all and forever.
His hardness, the absence of life.
A cold dream of a star.
The meaning of being untouched.

What did the light know before
She reached out to take Earth’s hand?
Pure speed through endless darkness.
No reflection of herself in the mirror.
A cold dream of a distant Earth.
The meaning of not touching.

From Chandigarh to Manchester
for a man she only knows by heart
the imagined city of love.
Imagine a city without light,
or the light without a city.
How small the world of the heart?
The world has conurbated,
It’s a small world they say.
How large the world is
when travelled for love,
when we count the hours
and the miles lived without it.