martes, 22 de noviembre de 2016


Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné 

(Trinidad y Tobago, 1986), poeta y artista plástica trinitobaguense. Su obra se ha mostrado en numerosas publicaciones y antologías impresas y digitales. Fue galardonada con el premio Isidor Paie-wonsky por la primera publicación en el año 2009 y fue ganadora del concurso poético Small Axe Literary en el año 2012.

Danielle Boodoo Fortuné también fue finalista en el Premio Wasafiri New Wrinting en 2013 y en el Premio Montreal Poetry en 2014. Fue galardonada con el Premio Hollick Arvon de poesía en 2015.

Danielle Boodoo-Fortune is a Trinidadian poet and artist.  Her work has been featured in The Caribbean Writer, Bim: Arts for the 21st Century, Tongues of the Ocean, Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, Small Axe Literary Salon, and Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing.  Her art has been featured at Trinidad’s Erotic Art Week 2011, and the WoMA (Women Make Art) exhibition, in Grenada, 2012.  Her art has also been featured in St. Somewhere Journal, Firestorm Literary Journal, Splash of Red Literary Arts Magazine, and on the cover of Blackberry: A Magazine.  She was awarded the Charlotte and Isidor Paiewonsky Prize for first time publication in 2009, nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2010, and shortlisted for the Small Axe Poetry Prize in 2009 and 2011.

Morning Song for a Second Son

Second son, how I fear my own singing.
Each word sounds like regret,
like the rasp of torn laughter
sputtering from the kettle
of your prodigal’s tongue.
Lord knows, I cannot bear the sound.
The house sits deep in darkness,
tarsals click against tile as
you measure the breadth
of another’s shadow.
Son, of all the things I’ve made,
you are the truest, and the one
most unknown to me.
Each tic in your jaw is an ocean
of hurt I cannot cross
How I wish I could sing for you.

The Man Who

The man who lives in the house at the corner
has a face made of noise and paper.
His roof is thatched from dead skin
and the hollow bones of birds.
The man looks at you as though
he has already had the wet pulp
of your heart between his teeth.
The wild thing in you thrashes,
having smelled the rust of the cage.
Perhaps he has built you a room
lined with eggshells and hair,
a delicate death made of
smashed little prayers.
But he has no idea
of all the wars
in your morning,
all the knives tucked
into your curving smile.

Anniversary Letter

for Kevin

I will not leave you.
Your heart, this place
of need, naked night
and cracked stars,
keeps me.
I have peeled away
the layers, 
found the rubble
cooling inside you.

I wonder now
what to do with this love.
I will not flash it on my ring finger,
dangle it from strings, polish it,
try to make it sparkle,
till it breaks.

I am many things,
but know this:
I love you wild
like a season of rain,
deep, overgrown.
What I’m saying is,
curl into this sleep with me
each night.
I will warm you with bones
you’ve learned to read well
like palm lines and sighs.
I will keep you.

Listen to me,
I will not leave you.

“Gardener of Small Joys” – Painting by Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné


The moon in me,
swallowed whole,
draws you close,
plays on your chest
like night rain notes
on galvanize.

Milky sleep
clouds your breathing,
your arms close
into constellations
around my bones.

At morning
I will wash the lightning
from my eyes,
button myself
into crisp quiet,
retrace the muted line
of my smile.

You will go about your day,
moonlight burning up your joints,
its ache drawing nameless need
from your throat.

I’m still spinning my lunar song
along your heart’s surface.

Make your way home now
through a night of rain.
You’ll need no light
to find me.

The Same Thunder

I shut my eyes
and the white room breaks
into glass stars.

I tear down my body
to the thing burnt and volcanic.

Love, all this screaming
is the same thunder
that cannot be held
beneath my tongue.

And you want me
because I taste like the thing
you just barely remember,
because you can smell
the waves rising
on a galloping fire.

I open my eyes
and all is new again

but these splintered stars
and your necklace of ash

Rooted, by Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné 

Five Songs for Petra


They say my great-grandmother was mad,
but I like to think she flew into herself,
got trapped in the wool of her feline heart
and decided to stay there.


He was already married when he met her.
Her name juts from the borders of his own,
half-Carib woman with a forest in her bones,
mother of his mad children, she who would dare,
with her sharp white teeth, to try and eat him alive.


They say my great-grandmother lived alone in the leaning house.
I slept there once, long after her death,
my body rocked between the walls by
a slow August earthquake.
I smelled her in the damp floorboards.
The syllables of her name
rolled through the broken windows like
swollen fruit and grating metal.
That was how I found her.


He was already married when he met her,
but there was something about her
that caught him, pierced his skin.
Her love was an unsheathed claw.
He waited, tunneled around in the flute
of her hip to find the sound
of himself.
But soon, the beasts around the bed
would not let him in. The house bulged
with books and bared teeth.
When she began to sing to the trees,
he decided it would be best
to remain whole.


There is a door that leads
down a broken hill. Trees grow there,
but are dark, burdened with moss
and too much hunger.
If she walked here, with her dogs
barefoot and half-blind, then
I might still find her.
If I go mad, like she did,
I wonder if he will stay.


This is not a poem about
the sound of my voice.
This is a poem about ribs,
and about how hard it can be
to hold a body together.
This is a poem about your last life,
where you lived among
the hard white trees, where
the man with smoke on his hands
held you,
as though
there would be no lives
but this.
Remember this: the night
will not leave you.
There is nothing here
to outlive.
Each time you wipe the earth
from your wet heart,
you find this poem
happening on your tongue,
hot, gritty and new.
For it is hard to keep poems
from claiming your bones,
especially when you are prone
to reckless memory.
It is hard to keep poems
from curling along your spine
and blooming, especially
when there is nothing to be had
beyond your window but
bricks and bright noise.
So gather your lives
and keep them here:
against your left lung.
For you see, this is a poem
about longing. It is not about
the sound of my voice at all.
This is a poem
About ribs.

A Hammer to Love With

On her sixteenth birthday
you gave her a hammer,
told her
here, love with this.
Love has been hard
since then, and brittle.
You’ve gone ten years
without sleep, five years
without silence.
Today she lets you in,
mines the cracks
in her bones with the
point of her tongue
and listens.
You straighten the sheets, crush
fennel seeds in her tea
to keep the gods at bay.
How any man can survive her
is beyond your wisdom, but
in some way you are proud
of the thing she’s become.
When did it happen,
she asks, as she always will,
her tongue bruised
from the night’s work.
When did it start?
You remember, oh yes.
She must’ve been seventeen,
dragged him home bleeding from the mouth
and singing in godstongue.
Between her bone-sharp teeth,
the hammer, dark and glistening.
Or at least that’s how you remember it.
You say nothing,
wipe the spilt marrow
from her breasts.
feed her, spoon idle talk
into her bitten mouth.
You do what you can.
Oh, this one is difficult,
you can tell by her eyes.
She is afraid he might undo her,
take her by the hips
too gently
the wound
too slowly.
But you smell the bones
buried shallow in the bed.
She will manage him,
like she always does.
There is no tenderness
here, not since
Tonight you will comfort yourself
with smoke and prayer.
When she licks her way
into him, you will wish
you hadn’t heard the cry,
wish you hadn’t said the words
But it is finished, you tell yourself.
And it is not your doing.
After all, a heart too soft
will fail, collapse in the lung,
send you  fumbling for a body
to breathe for you.
You know this better than most.
After all,
anything, swung hard enough
will kill a man,
hammer and heart alike.

On Being Burnt

The burning starts with a word
a struck match,
a searing fist.
You lie still.
You are so tired
of struggling
and there is no one waiting
to beat down the door
and save you from burning
inside your own body.
Someone once told you
that love must be borne
tight against your breasts
like an orphaned thing,
a calcified child.
You’ve been carrying yours
like this, all these years….
swaddled in sheets,
pressed up hard
against your lungs.

Still, you’ve always known
that the wild thing
would not be satisfied
with bread alone
that one day
it would hear
your heart’s thin shriek
beneath all the flammable layers
of cotton and skin
that the thing
you brought to your bed
would burn you.
And now, nothing is left
of your eaten self
but smoke, rising
from the house
never yours
to begin with.
In the bushes
something picks your hair
from its teeth,
walks upright
toward some other death.

On Not Becoming Useless

The truth is,

I write poems to keep myself
from becoming useless.

You see,
my fingers only work a thin magic
on seasoning, not enough to
curl bellies and astound tongues.
I don’t know how to bring senses to a boil,
lift spices to their perfect pitch,
how to claim this counter
as part of my kingdom.

The kitchen makes me nervous,
burns down my soul to scrapings.

I am careless,
like my grandmother says.
I am always barefooted,
I forget little,
remember even less.

I know poems are not bread.
They cannot fill the belly,
But what poems do, you see,
is keep me from becoming that woman
who walks to the edge of the earth
and falls,
leaving not one truth

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