Sip an’ Talk / angelique v. nixon

it is better to speak, remembering we were never
meant to survive
-Audre Lorde

so many silences about the ocean
connecting Haitians and Bahamians

so many silences to the cutting of life water
who gets to stay and who gets t’row away

so many silences rising upon salty weathered bodies
we want your labor, but yunna chirrin’ no

so many silences to teeth-sucking moans
“da Bahamas too small, cyan help erryone”

but we is dem, dem is us
t’rough blood, ancestors, many stories

so many silences to sip sip and talk
sinking Haitian sloops, shark infested seas, missing bodies

so many silences about all dese tings, holes in we history,
the middle passage, 60 million or more, nefarious thoughts,
oceans mixed in spirit and sweat, the weight of resistance

so easily forgotten under colonial eyes and books
dis-remembering roots, language and culture,
long time, water crossings in love and faith

so we must fill the silences with real talk, honest and dirty,
uncovering secrets, from Inagua to Grand Bahama
“all a we is one family, all a we is one”

so we must fill the silences with songs, stitching holes,
filling gaps, replacing fractures, no more blows
“you muh brother, you muh sister, all a we is one”

between us and them
between you and me
“all a we is one”

•••

Angelique V. Nixon is a Bahamian writer, cultural critic, teacher, and poet. Her poetry has been published in Julie Mango, Proud Flesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics, and Consciousness, Journal of Caribbean Literatures, and Black Renaissance Noire. Angelique is deeply committed to social justice, gender equality, and Black liberation.

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