Poetry Play

This poem is already in the public domain since I freestyled it live on facebook in response to a picture post. So I figured why not share it here. Oh and sometimes I attempt poetry; some of it has even been published.

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Sometimes, it’s fun to play.



By Joanne C. Hillhouse

You are
Who I am
Not something I pull on or off
Like a favourite dress
The burnt orange one
That looks like sunset
You are the sun
And Blood
Gushing through tunnels
To where my heart beats
For you

The willow trees are gone
But I’m still here
The palm trees are dying
But I stay standing
Still breathing you in
And the smell of your
Sea salt
Though it stings
Still sipping gingerly
Of the red bean soup
That tastes like home
Still hoping that
We’ll find our best selves
On this pot holed road
Where we once danced barefoot
In the rain
Though it led nowhere

Come we talk
Inna arwe tongue
Ca mi lub you bad
Not no kinda lub
Fu use up and t’row ‘way
Not no dragged up kinda love
But love dat simmer long
Laka pepperpot
An’ taste just as sweet
Mi waan you listen me good
Mi love you full
An’ you full up every
Part of me
The word an’ dem ah dance
Pan me tongue
Me lub you bad, bad bad

Walk good

©Joanne C. Hillhouse. Do not Cut, Copy, Paste, or reproduce in any way, across any platform, or anywhere without the writer’s written permission.



De Bull

This one is a million years old (in a world where 16 years = 1 million years). I wrote it back when I was still on staff at the Antigua Sun (remember that?). I dug it up recently and thought, why not. Before you call me out on my lack of cricket-cricketing, whatever, Sir Viv eclipses all that (close your eyes and imagine smirky face emoticon here). And after that stellar introduction, De Bull:

by jhohadli

De Bull stride in
full of grace and beauty
decked out in his maroon
and tears that mirror
our own.

He kneels down before us
though not bowed.
Never that!

Never was a prouder man
Never a man to make us feel
as proud
Prouder still
as the sword lightly kissed
shoulders of steel
and tears liberally wet
his black cheeks
and emotion took hold of
us all
child, woman and man

This Black Man
Master Blaster
Antiguan Prince
who though he had
at battle’s end
put down his bat
to us would forever wield it
like some bronzed icon
like a samurai stripping
bare his enemies
like too many a arwe people
who, with callused hands,
swung cutlasses on sugar
He would wield it for us all

And our hearts would swell
as they swell now
not a begrudging word in the
just grinning, jumping ‘round,
crying and shouting
him marching from stand to
fist clenched in a stance
reminiscent of a 1968
Black Power salute
in Mexico

(“No bowler holds a terror!”
Shorty, we couldn’t have said it
From day one
the man demonstrated the
spirit of a Champion.

Vivi, we remember

Ent you too?
dreaming big dreams
hanging from the branches of
a tree over the ARG
where finally full circle
we lift you up
as you had done for us
long ago
no more minority
no more small islander
but Black People!

© 2000, Joanne C. Hillhouse. All Rights Reserved.

Words Travel redux

I wrote a whole blog about this, first thing ….something about how words travel or something (hence the title)… and then it disappeared. I’m going to take that as a sign that I was revealing too much and the blog gods intervened. So I’ll just let you know that my poem Under Pressure is included in Volume 4 of this series, coming in March 2016. I look forward to receiving my copy. Words travel, indeed.

A River of Stories

See links to previously published poems, fiction, non fiction, and books.
Also client projects.

Where craft and poetry meet

I’ve been writing everyday since completing the 10 day Challenge. The greatest effect of that, so far, I think apart from the new writing itself is how much I’m looking forward to writing time; writing is fun again. And usually the new writing is connected to works in progress. Today I decided to seek out a poetry prompt. This one, from Poets and Writers, in the spirit of the Dadaists instructed me to cut words from an article and then pick those words at random from a bag. What emerges is supposed to reflect you. What I found is that as random as it is, your brain (or maybe that’s just my brain) gives meaning to the order. My article was about animal rescue so there were references to dogs and puppies but in the poem, given my concerns about our modern Caribbean and the politics of development, concerns touched on in Oh Gad! – my novel – my puppies and dog were of the less cuddly variety. I’m copying it below with no editing (except tossing out the word some for sum which is cheating but…). It might look like gibberish to you but to me it makes perfect sense. Writers you should try it; if nothing else it makes for a good and relaxing craft project.

Park. Apartment. Occurrence.

However, dog is for

Who walks

Complex Caribbean

Question the puppies

Opportunity. Advertise. Sum.




My favourite line, by the way, is “question the puppies”.

Poetic License

Our hearts actually weren’t heavy on this night, we were enjoying each other’s company and the cane juice too much… but it was a night of transition and I took some poetic license for rhythm and rhyme and meaning… I hope they don’t mind… to my girls, M, B, B, Z… just a memento:


Photo by Brenda Lee Browne/Words by Joanne C. Hillhouse

Photo by Brenda Lee Browne/Words by Joanne C. Hillhouse