Refugees

 

So we’ve come to escape/We’ve found the perfect island/I, on a slave ship/And you, on Delta and British Caledonian/Refugees on the beach. Poems by Jeffrey Brathwaite-Izzaak.


 ETERNITY

 The walls of our Racism
 Would all come
 Tumbling down
 Our sacred beliefs
 Mementos, family heirlooms
 The inner sanctuary
 Our private streets
 Would become
 Highways of purity
 Unity, the brotherhood of man,
 When we get there
 After this life
 Eternity
 In the land of freedom

 No more lynching of
 Bodies and hangings on inferior psychology
 No more travelers,
 Kurds,
 And sub-Saharan refugees,
 It will be all right
 It will be ok
 One father
 One son
 And we'd all be his children
 One family
 Soon as we cross the threshold
 Into the light of Glory
 It would be so pure
 This thing called Eternity

 One in seventeen
 Versus one in three
 Mass incarceration
 And what it's done to me
 All the projection
 And narration
 Of the brave and the free
 Would have no meaning
 On the plantation
 Of Eternity.
 ‘To understand things you must get close’
 ‘How would we be brothers
 From across the moat,
 When we cannot float in our sinking boats?’
 ‘Well, in the Revelation
 ‘‘There would be no more sea’’
 Such are the visions of Eternity…

 SATURDAY MORNING STAIN

 March waters were a reservoir of translucent crystals
 Sensational sands
 Reefs, the tides withdrawn
 Stunning me into belief
 Saturday morning on the beach
 In a dazed stupefied estate
 Going to White Island
 Must be like entering heaven's gates
 White bright ethereal delight
 I imagined I'm going
 In spite of the shard slicing the right thumb

 Daddy's at the well
 Aunty Vancilla is washing
 Blood
 I need a cloth band!
 Daddy is unconcerned
 ‘What happen to this mad man.’
 But I'm a youth
 With holidays plenty
 Enough hours to burn some
 And forget heaven
 And going to the island
 Saturday morning so beautiful
 Has gathered stains
 At the Devil's hands
 My whole mind has changed
 And, I'm going home.



 REFUGEES

 We are all refugees
 Looking for the perfect place to live
 A safe haven
 Away from the war, crime, barbarity and materialism
 Begin a new chapter
 Turn a new page
 Away from mental slavery, the KKK, even Donald and his gang,
 Global warming, dying corals, shrinking forests and rampant capitalism.

 So we've come to escape
 We’ve found the perfect island
 I, on a slave ship
 And you, on Delta and British Caledonian
 Refugees on the beach
 Paradise we believe we've found
 No more disease, unease
 Constant pollution
 9 to 5 to stay alive
 Nah!
 Pick up your guitar and strum
 Stretch your feet
 Relax and drink some rum

 Hold on!
 For how long?
 We cry for Aleppo
 ‘Oh no!’
 ‘Look at Homs!’
 ‘Palmyra, such a beauty
 They tore her down’
 Who did it?
 Why?
 How?
 Where did it all began?
 ‘Now the flow of refugees
 It's making us crazy
 No! We can't take anymore
 Hold a referendum.’

 But we are all refugees
 Running from some kind of persecution
 The pilgrims
 Turned on the Indians
 Castaways on the Aborigines
 Boers on the Zulu nation
 Everybody wants to claim a space
 To make his own
 At the expense of the ones we meet
 We forget the story
 Of where we all coming from
 Monkeys from the sea
 Or a woman and man
 Refugees from the Creator
 Turned refugee from the Creation

 So what's going on?
 What's the problem?
 Who would frame a solution?
 Is it Brexit?
 Are you a Liberal?
 Far Right
 Or Republican?
 UN
 NATO
 the Agha Khan
 Or the Church Roman?
 We are all refugees
 Many things to run from
 Like demons chasing us down
 Down to the underground
 Where we would lay down
 Refugees of the earth
 Refugees in the dark
 We forgot who we really are
 Treating refugees like diseases
 So finally
 We are confined
 To that place where we belong
 Refugees in a refugee kingdom.

 IN THE PRISON OF MY MIND

 I've been made a prisoner
 Of this estate in my mind
 Hemmed in by the borders
 Of the things that I've learnt in my time
 Limits in physics and biological chemistry
 Is Sunrise really the beginning of a new day?
 I ask the Lord to bless me.

 I've been made a victim
 Of circumstances in my life
 And it's not where you are
 But what you do to arise
 In the neighborhood of my vicinity
 Even there, the lines are drawn
 Along ethnicity
 ‘Accept what you can't change
 And wait patiently’
 I ask Allah to bless me.

 I'm not going to heaven
 No,
 Not yet
 Cause I'm not ready
 I need meaning first
 But who can help me?
 An apostle on the road?
 Or a monk in the monastery?
 I live by the code
 Secular and orthodoxy
 And every day
 I pray, Yahweh, do bless me

 Is there a system
 Created for the lies to live?
 And truth fighting to survive?
 An interlude before the prelude
 A time for a man to get ready to meet his God?
 But what are the probabilities
 An idiot like me
 Standing before a universe and the Almighty?
 Somebody, tell me
 Dey know the story ahready
 That's why ah go India
 For blessings from a million deities

 I've been a remnant
 Visiting graveyards
 Looking for ancestors
 Years and their names
 Going in the way of all the earth
 But writing volumes all the same
 Solomon the king spoke
 But he rebelled, so I gave him the discard
 But as you blessed him already
 Do also bless me, David’s God

 YPRES REVISITED

 In these fields of Ypres
 These trenches deep
 The canals and waters seep
 This mountain of a hill so steep
 Of emotions of sons
 Rifles, bayonets, urine, handkerchiefs
 And lonely earthen caskets
 Do remember, to bring flowers to Flanders

 These hundred years
 As they celebrate
 Our sacrifice -The ultimate
 After the bloodshed on Calvary
 Dried out among rock crevices near Gethsemane,
 Was not enough
 The world needed me
 It wanted us
 Holy, holy, let us pray
 In this winter of bitter destiny
 Though as scarlet our aberration be
 Whiter than snow and the Fuhrer's medal for bravery
 Do remember the fallen. Remember we.

 Sound the bugle on a deep wind
 The young and innocent holding hands
 The scream of the wounded, the loss of the dying
 What did we do to forever inhabit these plains?
 To have our names indelibly stain these fields?
 To save an empire and its hegemony
 Blood had to be spilled - we killed and were killed.
 One hundred annuals’ passage hovering over our graves
 So when you young warriors come to lay down your guns
 Do remember the fallen; and bring flowers.

[FROM “STRAY IMPRESSIONS OF RHAPSODY]

Jeffrey Brathwaite-Izzaak was born a ‘refugee’ of mixed African European ancestry on the Caribbean island of Carriacou. From before the age of ten, he began writing stories in the oasis of his mind, transferring some of them unto paper later on. Nomadic by inclination and practice, he scours the landscapes of his consciousness, island, region and the world beyond, mining, collecting and documenting his findings through the written word and photography. To date, Izzaak has self-published two collections of poetry and is soon to release a third. In between, he has completed a sojourn in Grenadian theatre, written one play for radio and authored several documentary articles on aspects of Carriacou culture and heritage.
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