3 poems by Andre Bagoo

Mealy Bug Sonnet


all they get, they get by chance

and multiply in ignorance

page white, they grow between bliss

they grow, this peacetime upheaval, grow

outbreak of dandruff in cotton tranches

behold: diamond dew (a mistaken view)

‘til the whole plant is ensnowed

fossil leaves curled like Mother’s hem

Texas sage made fungus, at last transformed

from a thing living to a thing possessed

this is how it blooms, like mushrooms in

the Savannah after Amerindian rain

this is how it moors, to wide open fields,

unexplored hills in the distance, grief



Ibis


You make art of me,

turn hate into the second poem

of a book you author

deep inside a closet

of sleep.


Count sheep

dreamer,

I authored you.


I looked and saw

a flower that looked and saw

itself

a flower that saw

itself—


nightmare, petals


stone



Mora Trees Walked From Venezuela to Trinidad

(a found poem after JS Beard)


Viewed from the air, the canopy of Mora forest has the same undulating but

continuous character of the waves of the sea.

The bark of the Mora tree is brownish and scaly, about 5—7 mm. thick, hard and

tough.

The blaze is pale brown, the sapwood white, the heartwood deep red-brown.

The timber is hard, and though resistant to termites it is susceptible to fungus attack

and therefore not durable when in contact with the ground.

Mora is evergreen. Flush leaves are pinkish brown in colour. Flushing takes place

over the whole tree at once and usually over the whole forest also, at which times

the canopy is a striking sight.

Shrub, field and ground layers in the forest are composed almost exclusively of

young Mora seedlings and saplings, which form a dense, scarcely penetrable growth.

Mora forest as a whole seeds abundantly every year, though individual seeds may

not do so.

The seed, which falls during the second part of the wet season

(November—December) is a heavy bean about 7—10 cm. in length and weighing

nearly 0.5 kg.

It naturally falls only beneath the parent tree, but the seedling produced is vigorous

and able to stand heavy shade, so that the forest floor is densely carpeted with Mora

seedlings.

Mora seems to have reached Trinidad just as earth movements made it an island.

Mora then became cut off from its original home in Guiana, but as forest conditions

were returning in Trinidad it was able to establish itself there successfully.

During Pleistocene times the area that is now Trinidad was a part of continental

South America and consisted for the most part of a vast, level plain, which was co-

extensive with the great llanos of the Orinoco.

The aboriginal Indians in British Guiana are known to use Mora seeds as a food.

It seems quite reasonable that wandering hunting parties of these aborigines may

have carried supplies of Mora seeds on occasion about the Trinidad forests and have

abandoned them at campsites, where they germinated and initiated a new block of

Mora forest.

It is just possible that Indians may have carried the seeds to Paria beach. Otherwise

no rational explanation seems possible. This point is the northernmost in the

distribution of Mora.

It must be a matter of difficulty for any seedling other than a Mora to come up

through the dense mass of Mora saplings. The species thus establishes initially a

thick ground carpet of its own seedlings which maintain an almost exclusive right to

succession in the forest. Once such a carpet has been laid down it is only a question

of waiting for the older trees to die before a gregarious Mora forest comes into

being.


________________________


Trinidadian poet Andre Bagoo is the author of four books: Trick Vessels, BURN, Pitch Lake and The City of Dreadful Night. His work has appeared in journals such as Boston Review, Cincinnati Review, St Petersburg Review, POETRY, and The Poetry Review. His essay collection on poetry and culture, The Undiscovered Country, is forthcoming from Peepal Tree Press.