Contortion by Patrick Sylvain09 Oct 2017, Posted by Poetry in
I had a nightmare again. I found myself
In the company of the undead, cavorting
In synchrony to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Shuffling in lockstep. A carnival of ghouls.
Dancing bones given to licentiousness,
A rapturous hunt for skins, for flesh,
For blood, for a return from the exile
Of death as night prowlers, crawlers.
I was crawling on a sea of grass,
Searching for my father’s grave.
No headstone, no cross, just a patch
Of green that covered his decayed skin.
I wanted to follow the line, but their
Curved bodies burdened by asymmetry
Distorted the light as they slid, and
Penguin-stepped in the abyss of death.
I found my father’s grave. A rotten home
On earth. A space of contortion, unfitting
A man who was defiant toward scarecrows
And wanted to sing life without broken ribs.
About the author:
Patrick Sylvain is a poet, writer, social critic, and photographer. Published in several scholarly and creative anthologies, journals and reviews, including: African American Review, Agni, Allegro Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, Anchor Magazine, Callaloo, Caribbean Writers, Transition, The Savannah Review, Dirty Chai, Ploughshares, SX Salon, Vallum Contemporary Poetry, Haiti Noir, International Journal of Language and Literature, Human Architecture, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. Sylvain’s academic essays are anthologized in several edited collections, including: “The Idea of Haiti: Rethinking Crisis and Development,” edited by Millery Polyné; “Politics and Power in Haiti,” edited by Paul Sutton and Kate Quinn; and “Haiti Noir” edited by Edwidge Danticat. Sylvain received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, in Political Science and Social-Psychology, and earned his Ed.M. as a Conant Fellow from Harvard University Graduate School of Education; and was also a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow at Boston University Creative Writing Department where he earned his MFA. He has taught at several universities, including Brown (where is affiliated with Africana Studies), Mass/Boston (Anthropology) and Harvard (AAAS). Sylvain is pursuing a Ph.D. in English at Brandeis University where he is the Shirle Dorothy Robbins Creative Writing Prize Fellow.
Art: From the Connection Series, C.A.T aka Chaos and Thread, @chaosandthread