Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN THE ARMPIT OF THE HILL, by CLARENCE MAJOR

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IN THE ARMPIT OF THE HILL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Dream of coffee beans rice codfish and bananas

Dream of coffee beans rice codfish and bananas,
stacked under the chandelier tree.
The rain stopped; except in the mountains.
An old woman with pothooks for sale,
waves from the road.
the hens cackle. In my sleep.
I put the charcoal in the wicker basket. As I sleep.
You peel the skin back from the red fruit,
suck its juice till it is drained, then
return to our thatched covered hut.
Full. Happy. A dream.
Out in the wild grass, blight walks around
with an erection. I wonder how long this can go on.
Yesterday, we had cornmeal.
It tasted like oak bark.
The day before, the congo beans you stole broke
in the mouth like dead roots.
I do not complain for myself: but for the baby inside.
Down in Petionville, they eat steaming hot fish.
My father died hungry, chewing his clay pipe.
Tomorrow, on the road, the Voodoo drums;
in the hills, the blue blossom of the breadfruit tree!
And, on our table, only the cactus plant.

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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