Six a.m. Halfway Tree, Kingston 10

and the chip-chip chop of jelly and cane
the cart man out again and
the windscreens showered with bottles and boxes and mint and
nuts and crackers and crix
and the begging tricks of the shuffling rags
the criminal act of the open palm
the tight-fisted hand behind the glass
slid safely shut and sealed away
from hungry gnawing at the bone
as buses gorge on schoolers crisply ironed, lightly greased and
pressed between the seats
'ductors defying gods of sense swing from doors half hinged and
rattle and bob to the boombox spewing gravely grain
the rockstone voice
vomiting vice,
innocents enticed to
sing along
while elders wilt in far back rows
humming hellfire
these church organs
gripping bosoms and bibles and Jesus and
visioning flocks
washed white as snow to stem the flow
of red down gullies and gutters slashing streets like scars
where taxi cars
weave on speed
heart attacks on wheels
blasting drivers
driven to exceed
driven to exceed
all limits unconstrained 
life as passa passa
all untamed 
all peeled open
all revealed
the ever static change
the buzz. the heat. the same.
halfway hell and halfway heaven
pull up and come again.

From So Much Things To Say: 100 Calabash Poets, edited by Kwame Dawes and Colin Channer. Copyright © 2010 by Natasha Trethewey. Used with permisson of Calabash International Literary Trust and the author.