poui

3

Queens Park Savannah. Port of Spain. Trinidad and Tobago.

The Queen’s Park Savannah is Port of Spain’s largest open recreational space. Covered with low grass, the 3. 5 km (2 miles) perimeter of the Savannah, as it is called by locals, is lined with large beautiful samaan and poui trees. Originally part of the St. Ann’s Sugar Estate, the Savannah, now owned by the state, is Port of Spain’s main outdoor recreational park. On weekends and week day afternoons, the Savannah comes to life and is the destination for sports enthusiasts, health fanatics, joggers, family picnics, strolling couples and persons seeking to indulge in the sumptuous local street food served by vendors.

Prisms II

All around, pink poui petals rain upward
in the most gorgeous whirlwind that could ever have been.
I was gripped with trembling.
I was thumping with accelerated heartache
Could I stop? For even just a little?

If this is not paradise, then I don’t need to go further.
This is enough, I told myself, all I’d hoped for,
so much more than I deserved.

In that moment,
I wanted to live forever, but even more,
I wanted the verses to end.

But then the feeling vanished
and I remembered I was on a journey
to the quietest recesses of possibility 
and although there were wonders
to see, to hear, to touch
there would be no lasting sensations
no lasting love or health or distraction
no sleep until the final sleep
and no true depth until the final deep…

I had waking dreamed,
not the sight of the petals
but their hope, their light, their beauty
More dancing, elaborate illusions
following me always from the itching dark

“Still hieroglyphs,” I said to myself,
with my fist so tight
and my lips mid-plight

“So this is how they’ve cursed me.”

There was just something about the way these blossoms from a poui tree at Jerningham Avenue, Belmont, looked, lying there in the drain as if to say, “you see, even drains can be beautiful”. Something about the light and how it felt on my body as I watched these soft petals fill out all the cracks and crevices of a path on which we had travelled so often before yet never took a moment to stop and look. Kendell Hippolyte’s poem, ‘Lines on a Sidewalk’ came to mind where he says: “Where the sidewalk splits…a fault line of possibility where new breaks into knowing / and you sense your eyes warm wider open from, and to, a light / inciting you to, for the first time, yet again, see.”