Scavenging down the blue potholed hill, rocking
out of cobalt acid, they steam chromatic, these Elijahs
in their cloud wheels, fatherless and man-killing,
their guts bloated with red heat, lice, cast-iron-soldiers
who frighten you into a jacaranda’s scattered stare,
making your poor heart rain, every day trembling
from the exhalation of their shunting furnaces
without backseats, only peril tingling Thy Kingdom
Come, so they come, helicoptering their menace
for the fishing industry dying, the banana, dead
after so much foreign pesticide maimed the coastline.
They sometime weep silently passing Arcadia,
but now their coffins beetling crazy music, carve down
Free School Hill, rille-shambling and pitching along
into the common light of day, aiming to assault
the town, to circle the bleached clock tower
madmen shade and smoke with mongrels,
and then invade the market, the pier, the square
scorched to a crusty bleb of worry and quarrels.
Here their fleets arrive, closing the circuit, shaking
up dust, diminishing your eyes as they leap
to the waiting pavement, and even beyond that.
Ishion Hutchinson was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica. He has published one collection, Far District: Poems. He has won the Academy of American Poets’ Levis Award and the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry.
Listen to Ishion Hutchinson and Jonathan Gerhardson read and discuss “Trouble on the Road Again” on our Contributors in Conversation podcast.