It was a theft of knowledge, as much as the enslavement of a people. The northern european conquerors of this country knew nothing about cultivating in hot, sometimes steamy southern climates. But they longed to be rich or richer than they already were and here was what they perceived as a blank slate, a land empty of all but heathens, who were not people after all, at least not people with any rights to happiness or property. And that relatively newly discovered continent of Africa. Teaming with people who knew how to grow the things that would grow in the southern part of eastern North America -- peanuts, cotton, yam, sugar, indigo -- crops that were the entry to an industrialized agriculture based on the knowledge of enslaved humans powered by the engine of their bodies, their backs, arms, breath, blood.
The remnant of a medium size storm
that began off the islands of Cape Verde
as an arguement between
high cool air and dense warm clouds
raced up the coast from its first
ferocious swipe at Cuba to drench
autumn's dawning here in Boston.
I woke worried, as usual, about
money and all that is undone and
all that needs fresh doing and remembered
the search for the blue speckled pot
the hot water bath
had revealed not my old canning equipment but
a collapse of boxes
mostly old journals an avalanche of stuff
on the side of the basement floor where it floods.
I could not cope, last week, just before leaving
for the festival for the three days i couldn't afford for
the three days I get to remember I am a poet for the three
days I couldn't not afford.
Just before leaving I could not deal with the spider
web and the dust the journals never
transcribed the poems never set free.
But those boxes are on the side of the basement
So I awoke to the sound of water crashing through down spouts and worry
about my words
floating there beneath my feet
floating, floating, floating away.