Migrations

By Dorian Merina
Water rocks the hull of the ship and the dark night comes on the waves
    against the dark wood taken from the forests on the island
the people sleep or fight to sleep or smoke the coarse-leaved tobacco
    with cans of saltwater at hand nearby for threat of fire
the people dream of rich goods and silk and land and sea
    slender bars of chocolate hidden in the trunk with jewelry
stuffed below the bed the people dream of fire and awake
    to the damp air salt in the throat and cough to awake
to the dark night that comes on the waves against the dark wood
    taken from the hands of the people from the forest on the Island
as the ship moves East leaving the water of the Islands bays rocks and close current
    into open sea along the Black Current the Black Sivo the current
that runs along the Islands of the North and takes the ship
    into the waters of open sea


On the boats come the goods that cross the waters
    like veins and blood rushing
the goods cross the waters
 
raw silk in bundles the fineness of two strands
thin untwisted silk
white scarlet blue mustard wound in small skeins
quantities of velvets gold embroidered with gold woven and brocades
silver thread upon silk in patterns detailed and rich
damasks satin taffetas linen from the grass called lencesuelo
musk benzoin ivory metal basins copper cast iron pots
bed ornaments hangings coverlets tapestries of different shades
horse-trappings finished with glass beads seed-pearls rubies sapphires
crystals nails sheet-iron tin lead salt petre
gunpowder wheat flour preserves of orange peach pear nectarine plums
cherries nutmeg pepper ginger salt pork chestnuts walnuts chicueyes
thread needles thimbles cushions pins boxes
writing cases engraved with scenes of bamboo and waves
moons and mist
beds chairs gilded benches buffalos geese swans horses males asses
caged birds that sing birds that talk
birds the color of ash the color of sunrise


rum is the cane’s sugar water
invented from smart mouths of slaves
discarded impurities boiled to a bitter blackness
rough as gravel
so unwanted they lined the lips of rain ditches
calcium rich tips
of animal hooves
mixing with rain dirt and mud
old leaves fiber and mangrove
the unwanted collected
yet
in the rich dirt purity of need
a sweetness beyond sweetness
the seven o clock sweat
of an unwashed neck
hair fibers and cane pulp
    the foaming rush of juice and song
        beaten into barefoot psalms
the simple chemistry of this
distillation of a kiss
thirst
and a word like rum

and a word like rum

and a word like…


achuete
atole
avocado
balsa
banqueta
cachuete
calabaza
camachile
camote
calachuche
chico
chocolate
coyote
nanay
tatay
tiangui
tocayo
zacate
zapote

On the boats come the blood that cross the waters
    like veins and goods the blood comes
crossing the waters

Blanco y India = Mestizo
Mestizo y Mestiza = Mulato
Blanca y Mulata = Terceron, Morisco
Indio y Torna-atras = Lobo
Indio y Negra = Zambo
Indio y No te entiendo = Ahi te estas
Indio y Coyota = Chamiso
Indio y Loba = Grifo
Negro y Mulato = Galfaro
Negro y Zamba = Zambo prieto
Mulato y Barzina = Coyote
Mulato (o Chino) y Loba = Jibaro
Mulato y Tente en el aire = No te entiendo

On the boats come the blood
the blood
the blood

a shadow of water
dampens
the curling script of graffiti

a swirling necklage
of smooth-abdomened ants
carry blond eggs
on their backs
the plumb jaws of larvae
undulating
green tufts of grass
shoulder concrete
exhaling in small shatterings
the day’s weightlessness

the sky
the revolting face
of an enraged
and tender lover
promises a flashing echo
and wind

when the rain comes again
you will remember
a certain origin
a canopy of molecules and mist
you will forget to want yourself
a different shade a different shape
instead
another bed
of injury and faith
a quiet quiet some
thing
no stronger than a leaf
or a wave
taking shape

Water rocks the hull of the ship and the dark night comes on the waves
    against the dark wood taken from the forests on the island
the people sleep or fight to sleep or smoke the coarse-leaved tobacco
    with cans of saltwater at hand nearby for threat of fire
the people dream of rich goods and silk and land and sea
    slender bars of chocolate hidden in the trunk with jewelry
stuffed below the bed the people dream of fire and awake
    to the damp air salt in the throat and cough to awake
to the dark night that comes on the waves against the dark wood
    taken from the hands of the people from the forest on the Island
as the ship moves East leaving the water of the Islands bays rocks and close current
    into open sea along the Black Current the Black Sivo the current
that runs along the Islands of the North and takes the ship
    into the waters of open sea