Poem introduction

I take no issue with identity politics; but here’s a manifesto for the imagination.

On Not Writing As A West Indian Woman

For those who jumped ship and drowned because the herding of people was intolerable

If you get my drift. She –
not containing oceans,
nor a spice triangle,
won’t boast that cinnamon
could launch femme announcements
over the bounding main:
set course for my rich shores.
No allure for sailors.
Blackout drapes in her home.

If you stick with me. She –
hasn’t cooked cassava,
nor become a mother;
might gatecrash Carnival
flaunting last year’s costume
and fall down in the dance;
rack up a huge phone bill
louder than a toucan,
vexed and still calling home.

She push the boat out. She –
on a far-flung causeway
prisoners handbuilt, ice-clawed,
take her pants down, rime-clawed
over sunken warcraft,
pissing into the wind?

Birthcries repeatedly
new, self pull out self, self
issuing that self home.


from Dark and Unaccustomed Words (Egg Box, 2012), © Vahni Capildeo 2012, used by permission of the author

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Recordings

Vahni Capildeo

Vahni Capildeo Downloads

1Inhuman Triumphs

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2Dog or Wolf

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3Handfast

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4Utter

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5STOP, Passenger

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6I Show You a Mystery

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7from Suite for Antony McNeill

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8Four Departures from ‘Wulf and Eadwacer’

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9Utter 02

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10Conversations for a Lifetime.

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11Framboyan

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12Tree with a Silver Lining

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13On Not Writing as a West Indian Woman

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14Completely F____D

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15You Have Your Space

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16from Journal of Ordinary Days

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17As In The Sunlight

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18Breathe Again

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19After a Hymn to Aphrodite

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20from Person Animal Figure

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21To Sleep Possum to Dream

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Books by Vahni Capildeo