The Caribbean Writer


Marvin E. Williams



Vultures are least artistic of nature’s hunters,
though their stalking conjures up
the slow encircling hunger of artists
imprisoned in their thronged solitary flights
to ephemeral sustenance; and I must allow that
eating the dead is ritual,
and ritual like art demands faith,
demands faithful consumption of the dead.

Yet aerodynamics sprout in the vulture’s
chutes for gleaning; his riffing
twirls make him kindred to Bojangles;
his corpse eating kills
the adventurer’s sudden squeezing
of the nose, skins dross, and uncovers
healthy skeletal bones.


The warrior vultures will devour my melody
and with swollen perforated craws sing
that my melody is dead, rotting, evoking
nostalgia for a past my listeners fled.
But my nostalgia is for a Cruz, an Africa
I fondled and loved on the horizon
before speckled waves typhooned my lover
and left me hot, hard, pumping.

My voicebox is heir to the canefield crust
that choked my forebears; this canefield
crust I chisel away and swallow
that I might sing melodious.

And if my lyric descends to nostalgia
for a love ripened and aborted,
it is only that my vulture fils
might eat my melancholy and ascend.


Copyright © Marvin E. Williams

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