Coffee Island

Exposed brick faces me as I wait for words. I run my hands through hair that feels like summer grass and I chew my fingers

Each nail is stripped of its paint, bright and bitter
For a minute my mind drifts into a memory of spring berries bursting sour in my mouth.
I never could wait for summer to ripen.

I sit in the wooden forest of chained benches on coffee island.
Sitting over rocky pavement and surrounded by roaring concrete I remember the baby bird we nudged towards death.

We chipped away, peeling at the shell with hungry prying fingers, even as the chick lay shuddering and cowered from the light. Relentless in our need to complete the harm, forcing it to hatch faster than I could keep it alive.

The colour are even correct.
Greys of every shade and wood being transformed into ghostly boards at the appallingly slow pace of destruction this intersection of the suburbs and city can handle.

It is here I hide. Watching desperately interested in finding out about each person that walks by.
My cup hides me.
My phone hides me.
My drink hides me.
My gender presentation hides me.
Hides my gaze.
Maybe even something twisted that can feel like power in the shadows.

The chains on the bench at coffee island make a kind of wretched sense that is far too stark to give words to.


As I lie waiting

Remember when the drinks stopped pouring and I came undone?
walking home completely sober limbs pulled apart
concrete under finger nails I dug in desparation
past any point of return
dug a grave shallow so all would see my rot

What prayers were said?
who stood vigil as I returned to earth?
did you sprinkle sand and seeds over my greening grave?

Did you kiss the memory of loving me in the dark?
the softness of my skin seared into your fingertips.
How many tears were shed?
did you count and collect them all?
A quantification of a life lost…
a callous number to round out so much incomplete dreaming…

footsteps never taken
passports never stamped
but so many stolen kisses
So many words bleeding heavy over poorly bound books
purchased in the absence of real direction

grants unfinished
unfollowed up on
without any hope of panning out
effort to what end?

now I am the bones ground away by time
the marrow that feeds worms
the earth
now I wait for the sun


I can only begin to bridge the differences and find some peace after I can explore and know enough of myself that true self love is possible

To not know, ask, struggle stops dead any of growth.

I cannot look to you with anything in this world of divides…like broken bookshelves if I never can appreciate my story then I bring such emptiness on my climb.

I describe my cage to understand it’s construction and work my way to liberation. Does it involve driving the bars apart and tearing my way through?

Do I rework the wood of my box into a home on soil shared not stolen? Or do I use it for kindling as I cook my captors?

Where does my hatred for captivity and my thirst for freedom come into a peace that doesn’t require me to relax into my shackles?

These thoughts rush by with the scenarie on the train. I notice all this as an older white woman grapples with a seating mistake. Red faced and full of all the same entitlement but in the practiced cold politeness of Canadian wasp whiteness. She raises her voice to explain to the African woman that it is indeed her seat. Of course she must be correct. This not being the case, confuses and brings a rush of red to her plump wrinkled face. Inconvenience and inefficiency drives so much white fuckery in this country.

All the while the white girl with curls next to me brushed lint onto me and a Jamaican family waits to walk by.

Why must we always wait or be shut down like we are unreasonable children?


I don’t want my people to forever be apologizing for existing.
Shrinking down our magnificence.
Silencing out proud voices.
Forced to forget our languages.
Shying from praise.
So I will swell.
Become so much that all may eat from my abundance and become large with self love.
Climb on my shoulders.
Build nests in my hair.
Declare our freedom on my back.
We are geographies of possibility
Pain and several centuries cannot erase us oceans

We broke da english
de english don break us
We speak power wit voices true n risin’
my grammar aint poor
but your listening and imagination are impoverished
clarity involves tender ears and a gaze that meets in the middle
not from above, straining to make sense of the throat you step on
not while dancin’ ¬†without any rhythm or care foh di ancestry of beats not yours
flow came cross tha big wata
with millions uh mouts cryin’ unheard
language denied
torn out of us
n worse
so we break their language with our sharp minds and magic mouths
break a twisted thing until it speaks true
such is the conjure

Blood with blood
hands wipe red.

hands stain ‘cross
pon wall n floor

belly black
Afrikan brown

coolie hair
drag n strum

pum pum fat
nipple heavy

tears fall
earth catch all