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The poem starts

after the fight

when I go 

down on my knees

and caress 

the flower 

of your forgiving 



the first time

we kissed

empty streets

confronting us

with our selves.

When I’m laid 

in bed I see 

you most clearly 

but I see him too

all the versions of you

jumbled up like the

Pitch Lake’s detritus—

cans, branches, minerals.

I didn’t realise

there would be 

so many firsts.


              First kiss: 

her lips absolutions

for sins not yet 


for being 




the beach that yawned

with serene rage 

and spit           a man at me

his hole


my fealty 

held me

until I saw

in him a mirror

a wet face.



the Professor whose 

library was a manifesto

of yearning

for whetted fingers,

for marble hardness

and I made room for 



a new country

where every day

was the first day

of something

and every night 

seagulls flew tall

as dreams

over fields singed 

by Birds of Paradise

all of the new 

all of the old

knowledge a 

budding candle,

candle turning 

to blaze.


I didn’t realise

there would be 

so many:

days clear as 

coming out 

days of 

coming out 

and coming out

and coming out

because we are

all of us

stars that come out

too soon for twilight

too late for dawn

and even after

they die 

there might 

still be





She knew—a camera phone is a shield against the onslaught of lies and rumours, she saw what was happening, the savagery trained on their bodies, she thought of the child in her belly, how one day that could be him lying in the dirt next to the highway or slumped in a car with his birthday cake or shot in the back with his hands up in surrender. Not worth it, her mother said, Come back inside. But what kind of world was it when police could shoot an unarmed man then say he asked for it, then shoot the protestors, then silence their critics, when million-dollar CCTV networks see nothing, when body cameras don’t work, when authorities have no authority, when they probe and investigate and inquire and inquest and still cannot see what phone cameras can: son after son after son, the same poem written again and again, lines


cut like lives sliced, the poet deranged, images of blood making halos around smashed heads that will never dream again, and after each death, each unjust killing, the Cheshire Cat Commissioner of Police, brings a red rose to the funeral and puts it on the casket. Ornella, her Italian name, meaning flowering ash tree, said to come from “aurum”, the Roman equivalent of gold.

Andre Bagoo's latest books include The Undiscovered CountryWriting through Siddhartha and The Dreaming. He lives in Trinidad with his dog Chaplin.

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