Showcase: Coming Up Hot

Coming Up Hot, a new anthology from Peekash Press, features work by eight emerging Caribbean poets, an intriguing cross-section of voices and styles. The contributors include Trinidadian Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné and St Lucian Sassy Ross — both sampled here — alongside Jamaicans Danielle Jennings and Monica Minott, Vincentian Debra Providence, Guyanese Ruel Johnson, and Shivanee Ramlochan and Colin Robinson of Trinidad and Tobago

Coming Up Hot

Learning to Breathe in Luminous Water
By Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné

They say you can teach yourself
to breathe underwater here.

I’ve heard of women who could do it,
hold their breaths till their
veins burst their banks, flowed on until
their hearts emptied in the sea.

I go down to the river each morning,
unlace my skin, spread the twin nets
of my lungs out against these rocks.

This is the same river I was born in,
the one my grandmother gave birth in.

This is the same river that bursts,
each decade, into a million lights
and if you learn to breathe here,
your body stays forever lit
with the secret.

 

Poinciana
By Sassy Ross

A tree in drag!
Perennial monarch
masquerading in red regalia.
Royal Poinciana playing mas,
shaking black shac-shac pods
behind Papa Djab, teasing
his fig-leaved followers.
Woy woy, mi djab-là!
Woy woy, mi pié-bwa!
Oh oh, look the devil!
Oh oh, look the tree!
Poinciana and Satan singing,
showing their staffs in the streets.
Two sceptres waving,
two festive insignias
vying for the carnival crown.
Bet my cat’s eye, oxblood,
and corkscrew marbles,
Flamboyant pull off an upset
this J’Ouvert.