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Africadian Experience by George Elliott Clarke

    (For Frederick Ward)

To howl in the night because of smoked rum wounding the heart;

To be so stubbornly crooked, your alphabet develops rickets;

To check into the Sally Ann—and come out brain-dead, but spiffy;

To smell the sewer anger of politicians washed up by dirty votes;

To feel your skin burning under vampire kisses meant for someone else;

To trash the ballyhooed verses of the original, A-1, Africville poets;

To carry the Atlantic into Montreal in epic suitcases with Harlem accents;

To segregate black and white bones at the behest of discriminating worms;

To mix voodoo alcohol and explosive loneliness in unsafe bars;

To case the Louvre with raw, North Preston gluttony in your eyes;

To let vitamin deficiencies cripple beauty queens in their beds;

To dream of Halifax and its collapsing houses of 1917

       (Blizzard and fire in ten thousand living rooms in one day);

To stagger a dirt road that leads to an exploded piano and bad sermons;

To plumb a well that taps rice wine springing up from China;

To okay the miracle of a split length of wood supporting a clothesline;

To cakewalk into prison as if you were parading into Heaven;

To recognize Beauty when you see it and to not be afraid.