Consider by Patrick Sylvain10 Oct 2017, Posted by Poetry in
If a guitar’s string is broken, someone must
Have busted it. If a face is swollen and bruised,
Someone like a Muhammad Ali or Joe Louis,
With fists like hammers must have pounded it.
If a quiet guard dog takes to unrelenting barking,
Someone must be trespassing, or have trespassed.
If a poet applies his creativity to compose sestinas
For kings like Charles IX, or George III, he must not be
A citizen of the republic of poetry but a royal scribe.
Scribes thrive in the unlettered cities where eyes
Are kept in the dark so state coffers can gush into
Private pockets. Dictate the lines, the poets are exiled.
Imagine the exiled poets writing about critters,
Creatures, craters of poverty linked to colonial lines,
Times when loyalists’ fists like hammers broke spines
The way rigid fingers forcefully strum guitar strings.
If a country becomes sullied, repugnant with codswallops
The way bird droppings are on sea bouldersspotted,
Viscous, and reeking of ammonia and urinethen the
Viceroy’s Progenies must still be butchering on the coasts.
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