Poem: “From Thirsty” by Poet Dionne Brand

0 Posted by - November 16, 2020 - BLACK ART & LITERATURE, LATEST POSTS, Poems

Dionne Brand OC is a Canadian poet, novelist, essayist and documentarian. She was Toronto’s third Poet Laureate from September 2009 to November 2012. She was admitted to the Order of Canada in 2017.

Dionne Brand was born in Guayaguayare, Trinidad and Tobago. She graduated from Naparima Girls’ High School in San Fernando, Trinidad, in 1970, and emigrated to Canada. She attended the University of Toronto and earned a BA (English and Philosophy) in 1975 and later attained an MA (1989) from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Her first book, Fore Day Morning: Poems, came out in 1978, since when Brand has published numerous works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, as well as editing anthologies and working on documentary films.

From thirsty

by Dionne Brand

This city is beauty
unbreakable and amorous as eyelids,
in the streets, pressed with fierce departures,
submerged landings,
I am innocent as thresholds
and smashed night birds, lovesick,
as empty elevators

let me declare doorways,
corners, pursuit, let me say
standing here in eyelashes, in
invisible breasts, in the shrinking lake
in the tiny shops of untrue recollections,
the brittle, gnawed life we live,
I am held, and held

the touch of everything blushes me,
pigeons and wrecked boys,
half-dead hours, blind musicians,
inconclusive women in bruised dresses
even the habitual grey-suited men with terrible
briefcases, how come, how come
I anticipate nothing as intimate as history

would I have had a different life
failing this embrace with broken things,
iridescent veins, ecstatic bullets, small cracks
in the brain, would I know these particular facts,
how a phrase scars a cheek, how water
dries love out, this, a thought as casual
as any second eviscerates a breath

and this, we meet in careless intervals,
in coffee bars, gas stations, in prosthetic
conversations, lotteries, untranslatable
mouths, in versions of what we may be,
a tremor of the hand in the realization
of endings, a glancing blow of tears
on skin, the keen dismissal in speed



Dionne Brand


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