Best Famous Syl Cheney-Coker Poems
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Syl Cheney-Coker |
Always, we searched in the stone river,
while the slaughterhouse was waiting for us,
long before we turned the saccharin of words
into inflammable brawls.
Full of ancient gluttony,
we have fed our appetites, eating with hasty mouths
what was meant for our own Passover.
It is thus that we shall be remembered:
the curse on the bellwether, crumbled destinies,
although it was possible, once again,
like some extinct creatures, to wish for another life.
After the charnel house, what was this green pasture
we were promised, when impatient like thirsty cadavers,
we hurried that morning to crown the new emperor,
who was really unveiling his ancient lust?
Even so, someone was saying a new king deserves
vestal virgins, white roosters and the finest harvest—
a crest on his head woven by our hands,
using the most precious leaves; an aged wine
offered to a Messiah, only to be deceived by the false crown
in his teeth, soon after we had silenced the red barbarians.
The chosen was what we could have been,
but since we have only one story to tell:
whether it be of The Athens of West Africa
or the song of the Wretched of the earth—
in our font of secrets, where we change
the name of Christ with our miscreant voices,
—always this ridiculous viaticum—
let us now imagine the face of a different Messiah,
touching his gown with our bloody hands.
Syl Cheney-Coker |
Along the route of this river,
with a little luck, we shall chance upon
our brothers' fortune, hidden with that cold smile
reserved for discreet bankers unmindful of the hydra
growing fiery mornings from our discontent
Wealth was always fashionable, telluric,
not honor pristine and profound.
In blasphemous glee, they raise to God's lips
those cups filled with ethnic offerings
that saps the blood of all human good.
Having no other country to call my own
except for this one full of pine needles
on which we nail our children's lives,
I have put off examining this skull,
savage harvest, the swollen earth,
until that day when, all God's children,
we shall plant a eureka supported by a blood knot.
And remorse not being theirs to feel,
I offer an inventory of abuse by these men,
with this wretched earth on my palms,
so as to remind them of our stilted growth
the length of a cutlass, or if you prefer
the size of our burnt-out brotherhood.
Syl Cheney-Coker |
After our bloody century, the sea will groan
under its weight, somewhere between breasts and anus.
Filled with toxins, her belly will not yield new islands
even though the orphans of East Timor wish it so.
The sea is only capable of so much history:
Noah's monologue, the Middle Passage's cargoes,
Darwin's examination of the turtle's shit,
the remains of the Titanic, and a diver's story
about how the coelacanth was recaptured.
Anything else is only a fractured chela
we cannot preserve, once the sea's belly
has washed itself clean of our century's blight.
Throbbing, the sea's breasts will console some orphans,
but Sierra Leone won't be worth a raped woman's cry,
despite her broken back, this shredded garment,
her hands swimming like horrors of red corals.
But do you, O Sea, long-suffering mistress,
have the balm to heal the wound of her children,
hand to foot the axe, alluvial river flowing into you?
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