Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 1



excerpts from Draw Me a Veve

Darryl Wawa


The fruit and the conch

Between sea and sky
shades of blue
fading
as in a charcoal drawing
a two-sided mirror
revealing depth
and nothing
nothing and depth
but for a rich surface
shaded with blue
like cold soot

Skin, veins and coconut
milk
in the crowd
Pearly, lusting eyes
cautious with their ripeness
tucked flesh moving briny
skin holding weight
like fruit
the whole thing
a pineapple atmosphere
cloying of sweat

Shades and tones
of yellow and red
fun and funny
and hungry
parceled with purple
but for a blue
sky and ocean
this concert on the beach
heads and skin
just a darker red
called sugar brown
glowing
under hot sun and
black and yellow hair
like wet raw conch
in this cup o’ mine

Harbor this secret:
how the waves slipslap
on these shore rocks
tells of the chorus of the cave
of how depth comes
from the same timeless
hollows
that betray hunger.




The Beach Breeze and The Saturday Bug
Aida Wedo, Guede Nouvavou

There is always something to remember
some task
some tribulation
some joke
some past
how violent the cumul
of memory and anticipation

Today the sky looks moist
with dreams and death
Two days and almost no sun
like I was walking
through cotton

But here, now
an air of promise
on the beach breeze
the sky a blue bowl
of marshmallows

And
some room for a surprise
a rainbow sharp
as a blade
cutting through fruit
through the vestige of violence
and narratives

It’s like I can smell it
mother
the rainbow’s unctuous moisture
suggesting images
and motion.




Sting like a butterfly

The only question is how to indulge
the strange shape of our dreams


god an even stranger
shape in the shadow
and you in this ring with him
moving somewhere between
Lomachenko and Tyson
for a knock-out
                        knock on wood
                       or break it


What these red eyes say to my heart
they say to my hands
which say it to my mouth
to make room for whatever
it is I need to take
from this eat or be killed world

Solid glimpses
weighed tastings, surrenders
that can save or cripple
ecto-metaphoric murder
long translated
as bounties I find myself
alone in defining

To your practice your everday Doc’
and wrestle
with a trick up the sleeve
hope movement seems effortless
hope no one knows
who you had to kill
for the form.




LaCroix

There is an annoying buzz
in my room
I can hear it
through the hollows
of my bed
I can imagine it
inside my laptop
buzzing and buzzing
like some annoying fan
I can feel it
inside all my bloating
and sweating

Hot days in Port-au-Prince
make me want to die
incessant mosquitoes and motorcycles
have the ring of death
Thinking of the mountain
wishing I was there
with a view of the city
at night
that can turn cars to ants
smother motorcycle mufflers
to nothing
and kill these mosquitoes
under an awning of lightning
the city roads glowing
like spider veins
to the surrounding ocean
black mouth
under the blowing wind

The question
between sweet and hurt
keeps one from freezing
a cross
that keeps one
from moving too much
a pain that sells a self.




House cleaning blues in Black and White

In my dealings with the dust
I had to be diplomatic
My bathroom mirror cleaned
the face staring
acquiescing
that I could not love
beyond intention

This face weighed in fear
need, rage and doubt
that I could love it
I could love anything

To the injured butterfly
I pick up from the floor
to sound of sink water
down the drain
what am I?

I have been
to the point of no return
broken every ritual
to know of crimson and violet
of the mystery of volition
innards pulled apart
and tasted
my own crime and bile
my own crazy
to have inside
my own prison

Destroyer of the tradition
I replace
or an empty space takes hold
and bares a fruit too dark
sacrifice
is just another vanishing act
allowed by affordable space
And a cheap I am not
to the stink of shame
from this toilet

Now these smudged eyes again
that thing they seek and avoid
this dyke in me
for lack of a faggot
and the cockroach near the can
I’d like to befriend
‘ay you
crawler
don’t we all run
from a mistake’

It always grosses me
to kill.




Guede Fatigue Zonbi Tounen
Lose your word, zombie you are

When I say no
this cross I bear
the earth to dig


Pulsing dead weight
body dry and cold
lungs these plastic bags
earth as good as paper
floating crumped
When a breath
is beneath disgrace

A mouth to rattle uncertain
throat wormholed to nowhere
no pulse
on this papier-mache
body
stinking from the rib

Donkey feet clinging
to ground, sticky
eyelids half shut
inviting no ritual
no tribal gesture
burnt coffee

The slushuice
of sinking earth
dry, oh dryyyyy
make a joke of the heart
like theoretical teeth
or the idea of rest
dry spaces
and distant skin

Spit them out
like paper balls
hands shrink
to create new habits
to write about said things
Are you dead?

Unwilling body
can only see space
what it means to breathe.




Eternal recurrence of the night song
or the Slasher poem in red

What I need
what I want
what I regret
what I know

This night a wormhole
the sky so black
like it’s hiding torments

A single star
announces an anticipated full moon
I guess
the night sky
is also afraid of being alone


Now that I drink less
what to do with the cigarette ashes
I sweep from the floor
that tell me of
another vice worth cutting

I am glad that sad face
no longer looks at me from the mirror
after drinks, half-dead
half wanting to be

Store the flammable thought
in a box, survey says
like a jewel, a gem
or a bomb
it will be your tomb
and the world’s

What to do with these noises at night
are they music?
What’s the deal?
morning doves
angry roosters
What did the window say
to the man before?
I know what I see

This night whispers like memories
mom and dad’s old car horns
mom’s Nissan’s high pitched
like a screech
dad’s Opel’s like his saxophone
a sound like contained air

A Rara band comes into the night
and the pipe instruments drag
a little more darkly
this cool air of grief

What are these critters
screaming about?
this ode
to everlasting
testicular projections
to rituals and rituals
and rituals…
white noise killed
the rattle snake


Yesterday I watched the first
Texas Chainsaw Massacre film
This human, this monster
cut through flesh
and collected faces
The human in me
grieved
through the much needed
fear and horror
felt through these victims

My father and I had a tradition
of watching rented horror films
on Friday nights
Sometimes I snuck
into the living room
and watched the movie
the night before
a step ahead


Why do monsters like the dark?
Can they not surrender
even bitterly to the void?
Is it fear that they are afraid of?
Or does the daily masquerade
twist them into demons?

I think of O’Connor’s “Misfit”
of Jeffrey Epstein
of Petwo San-Pwel in Haiti
and all the other psychotic things
of the world
that testify to pleasure in cruelty
the extremisms
that reject shades and tones
from not embracing worry

Worry
when you cannot see a face
though this mask hiding flesh
will only show you
an actor, a killer
that hopes you forget
its teeth
It is your soul mirrored
for better or worse.




Bourbon orange
Purple sky
Afro Blues

‘Am I supposed to change
are you supposed to change…’
             Aaliyah


Bourbon orange
sad dusk
a place to hang my head
low. Behold
the many possibilities
A ‘Manhattan’
for grace
an ‘Old Fashioned’
for a treat
or just some good ol’
neat bourbon
to wash this thang’ in ma gut
when that evenin’ sun go’ down.




Belly

A starry sky
can look
like an upside-down bowl
of cookies and cream
in reverse monochrome
Picture the Earth
in this milky mouth
and we in hers
swallowed and spat
in algorithm

The electric air, this night
rustling the leaves
the wind on my face
this whisper
that could fool you
                                          Agaou
In this same country
almost a decade ago
Earth had turned people to dust
hundreds of thousands
left biting concrete

All it took was a crack
and the usual tutti
car horns, sirens
crackling coffee pots
crying babies
were all made even to the ground

And after 3mins, that devil was gone
albeit aftershocks, dead bodies
and shocked mourners
Gone
as if everything
could go back to normal
as if trauma wasn’t real.




The adrenal fire of the cicada’s song

It’s how you smile
that makes me wonder
if the dream wasn’t
upside-down all along


The story of a bruise
marker of pain on skin
that tells how blood pulses from neck
to knees
veins and capillaries open
under a cage
so myolecules can flow
and glow
Ironic the tint of violence
hand in hand
love to love
till death do us part

Between a desire
and letting things happen
intention drudges on
through words like
Ilium
iliolinguinal
the iliac choice
a cicada’s song
this pleasant scratch
from hip to temple drums
normalizing
the tantalizing chaotic ooze
waiting to burst

My tools
pen, scalpel and microphone
in the erlenmeyer
of the poetics of clot
that can only be distilled
into form
an every-day
spine rupturing task

At this place
the evening promises stars
and cicadas
I can hear my blood here
the fire in my lungs
walking barefoot
on concrete and grass
feeling the ‘soul’ of my feet
the pleasant scratching
like I’m actually here
and this is all mine
not David’s or Homer’s
mine.



Darryl Wawa: "I am a Port-au-Prince born Haitian-American who studied Photography and Creative Writing. I enjoy chocolate and good books. That said, maybe a movie is a good book. I love to work with images and words and their pairing."




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