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.