African Queen (Bermuda, Spring 2006)

The taste of sour oranges
and rum
the bitterness of drunk
Bermuda afternoons

Another Paradise
you cannot pay
or share

A place where those five dollars
won´t get you nearly drunk

The tempest has been raised
and everyone
must run for cover

And once again
the cars drive on the left
the British have conquered
the Spanish didn´t stay

of the fortress
and the slaves
the hordes of murderers
and thieves
brought in
to rule New Worlds

Black Bermuda
a woman in a ferry
descended from
estranged slaves
kings they were
and their music ruled,
in Africa

every morning
the ferry
to Hamilton town
69 and widowed into work
I had to do something
after my husband died
she said

beautiful slave
Bermuda independence

she showed me
a penny with a hog

their king
a pig

the Spanish conquerors
frightened by the wail
of swine
they thought they
had reached the gates
of Hell
and not this Paradise
this blue
and peaceful slave


Like any island
of beauty
and of pain
they once had
an American Base

a black woman
with her hair of gray
she showed me a picture
of original settlers
the pigs
that ruled Bermuda once

until the Brits
took place

and nothing changed

from pig to man
a Brit once said

and I wish I could

her name was Edith
and I wrote down
her license plate
as we got off
the ferry
wishing to see her

in her Bermuda
the beautiful Bermuda
of liberated slaves

the beautiful Bermuda
of Edith
and her loss of man

of Edith
and her hair of gray
her wisdom
and the message
she gave

how she can feel
so proud
to be Bermudian

African Queen
brought to a land of pigs
Spoke the queen´s English
a much fiercer queen

African Queen
that I´ll never forget

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