#NoMorePresidents: Four Poems by Joel Anthony Harris

Prince Varmint Stops a Viking Siege

I’ll never forget the Bastille Day, how it stormed the countrytown
      like a kettle of vultures. 
Yeomen toiled in fallow fields hacking the soil with their harrows.
From the north hailed a drab dragonship that fiddled the still moat.
There he was the wretched sprite, the scoundrel: Sam the Terrible!
His eyes were set upon the lofty castle basking in Arthurian pomp. 
The country folks knew him, I knew him as a power-hungry grunt. 
He wore a horned helmet like Asmodeus ready to unleash Tartarus.
He bore a fiery red mustache half the length of his little dwarf arms.
“It’s Sam the Terrible!” a yeoman shouted, visibly gripped in panic. 
“We are being invaded! Run for your life!” yelled his mate, fearful.
Ashore, armed with his sword, his silver shield, Sam cackled aloud.
Everyone headed to the castle: the townsfolk, a blubbering rooster.
All except one—a brave rabbit that dwelled in a hole in the ground. 
With one look Prince Varmint deduced he was dealing with a child.
“I suppose I’ll have to dispose of that little monster” he pronounced.
At first Sam tried to march through the stone castle again and again.
Then he charged like a bull across the bridge with elbows jutted out.
Then he scourged an elephant’s backside so as to flatten the garrison.
He remolded the elephant into a cannon to fire off balls of boulders.
He planted shiploads of dynamite outside, waiting for them to boom. 
In a twist of fate, the elephant—Sam’s ally, turned on him, for good.
Left alone and defeated on a sandy shore, Sam then vowed to himself
“You double-crossers! I’m coming back, and I ain’t coming back to 
      play marbles!”

For Anthony   

When he breathed, it was through a Ventolin inhaler.
When he wheezed, an epileptic seizure rocked your stomach.

When he smiled, an ephemeral sunset glowed from his face.
When he laughed, it was an HBO late night comedy special.

When he was calm, it was Lake Baikal, a frozen tranquility.
When he spoke, it was a surf breaking onto a stony beach.

When he slept, he was a black bear bedded down in winter.
When he grew suspicious, it was a scalpel slicing through skin.

When he was angry, he was La Soufrière, a plume of ash.
When he raged, he was Hurricane Maria laying waste to paradise.

When he swore, he went gangster; Al Fucking Pacino, unfiltered.
When he fought, he was a raging pit bull determined to maul.

When he was congenial, it was French toast and scrambled eggs.
When he ate, it was crushed cornflakes and digestive biscuits in milk. 

When he wanted money, it was for Nike sneakers, baggy jeans.     
When he was lonely, he befriended a baby caiman in his bathtub.

When he listened to Lauren Hill, it was Chardonnay in a flute glass.
When he wrote, it was a gritty album destined to go platinum. 

When he was happy, he was the Royal Botanic Gardens in bloom. 
When he loved, he was Pablo Neruda’s poetry bursting with passion.

Another Day in Gotham   

SUNDAY EXPRESS, January 21, 2018

50 YEARS OF FEARLESS JOURNALISM

THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

www.trinidadexpress.com

No. 18,116: 92 pages: $4

Copyright Trinidad Express Newspapers Ltd

Woman Express, FREE inside

GULF OF PARIA GOODBYE FOR MAX

Final Resting Place:

The ashes of former president George Maxwell Richards
were dispersed in the Gulf of Paria near San Fernando
on Friday. Here Richards’ daughter, Maxine Richards,
from left, his widow Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards, a Coast
Guard officer, Keith Belgrove of Belgroves Funeral
Home, and son, Dr Mark Richards prepare to scatter his
ashes. Maxine Richards told the Sunday Express
yesterday that her father, who was born in San Fernando,
requested that he be cremated and his ashes dispersed in
the Gulf of Paria. Richards’ State funeral took place at
the National Academy for Performing Arts in Port of
Spain on Wednesday.

ISIS FIGHTERS COME HOME

Imam says no threat to T&T

Story by Asha Javeed on Page 3

PLAY WHE:

10.30 a.m. 4 (Dead Man)
1 p.m. 21 (Mouth)
4 p.m. 23 (House)
6.30 p.m. 11 (Corbeau)

PICK 2:

10.30 a.m. 3/20
1 p.m. 20/15
4 p.m. 31/14
6.30 p.m. 36/25

CASHPOT:

1, 14, 15, 16, 18   M: 3

LOTTO:

9, 16, 21, 28, 32   P: 10

Nationals return home from ISIS

“Crime in T&T more frightening”

By ASHA JAVEED

asha.javeed@trinidadexpress.com 

Families who journeyed from Trinidad and Tobago
to Syria and Iraq to join the jihad of the Islamic
group ISIS are returning home.

ISSUES WITH THE LAW: Shane Crawford

VISITED BY POLICE: Imam Nazim Mohammed

Imam Nazim Mohammed of the masjid in Boos
Village, Rio Claro, confirmed to the Sunday Express
that several men, women and children have come
back home.

Mohammed’s daughter, son-in-law and three
grandchildren who went to Syria in 2015 are still
there.

In 2009, Mohammed came under the radar of the
United States-based Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) and was interviewed before former US
president Barack Obama visited for the Summit of
the Americas.

I don’t see why people should be scared. There are
some people who are creating fear in the hearts of
people, he said. The crime situation in T&T should
cause it to be blacklisted. That is more frightening.

Conspiracy to murder case may close without phone evidence
Guyanese shot dead in POS
Trinidad & Tobago Murder Toll 2018: 40

Pope consoles Peruvians reeling from floods, violence 

Violence on Charlotte Street has some shoppers fearful

UK, Canada warn tourists about violent crime in Jamaica 

Since 2014, T&T nationals of Muslim faith 
have steadily journeyed to Iraq and Syria
to join ISIS’s jihad. 

Islamic Front leader Umar Abdullah
said he encouraged young Muslims
to leave Trinidad for Syria
to fight for ISIS.

In the early days
when I started to passionately practice Islam,
with the limited knowledge I had,
I encouraged some of my brothers
to go down a particular path.
And it wasn’t just ISIS,
but the Taliban as well,
and we encouraged Muslims
to align themselves with these organizations
because they all promised
to re-establish the caliphate.

Among the professionals who journeyed to Syria
were lawyers, doctors and a chemical engineer.

The journey to ISIS …  

WONDER OF THE WORLD

HARD LESSONS 

Got news? Call us at: 62-PRESS (77377) 
or 623-5337 (TV6 News) 
or e-mail us at: express@ trinidadexpress.com 

National Security

Let me explain the shudder chuckling down your spine, and why it is
you feel you’re an unwitting victim in a slick confidence game.

National security is language: morse code: an unexpressed Tetragram.

It means amen, an affirmation of a blind faith in an invisible lawgiver.

I think of it as the world conceived as an eight-by-eight grid with its g-
allery of gallant kings, queens, knights and pawns.

Pornographication vis-à-vis sexual innuendos: ballistics, missiles, sex   
bombs, carpet bombs, pull out, pistols—cum cocktails of conquest.

When politicians erect firewalls to end a conversation, think of it as a
hedge to crouch behind in a vain quest for the Golden Fleece.

My golden ratio of plausible deniability, redactions, gag orders, secret
oaths, secret bases and omertà.  

It is my world of electronic entrainment, radiotronic waves pulled over
your eyes, so that you’re sedated enough on Ontolofloxin to sleepwalk
in a neoconservative reverie.

I am a gastric GCHQ digesting big data, gigabytes of digital compost.

I am Operation CHAOS, COINTELPRO; the G-man walking between
the slanted fall rain. 

My ontological purpose is robbery, which I garnish in the language of
civic duty.

What’s more, I’m a mountain of whiteness, the Kilimanjaro of national
emergencies, wars and crises reified in the fudge of manufactured con-
sent.

Logos—your single integrated microprocessor embedded in the Project
for the New American Century. A Five Eyes Frankenstein’s monster
stitched together by the NIA, the DIA, the CIA, the NSA and the TSA. 

I am Leviathan, a phoenix arisen from the union of the two towers, the
smoldering ruins pyred in a sneeze of pyroclastic clouds.

Camp Humphreys in South Korea, a panyard offering a tenor of home:
Arby’s, Texas Roadhouse, taxidermized moose heads. I have a special

markdown of 45% on selected items in our department stores, so come
on down at anytime. I happily accept Mastercards, American Express.

Structurally, I am an interlocking iron triangle of apparatchiks, over-
seers and too big to fail. Oligarchy wrapped as a protection racket in
sheep’s clothing.

When you gaze upon the night sky, I am Auriga the charioteer in the
Northern Hemisphere commanding my four whinnying stallions of
war.

Joel Anthony Harris is a Trinidadian poet and artist. In 2020 he was shortlisted at Into the Void’s Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in PRISM International’s summer print issue 59.4, Berkeley Poetry Review, and Anthropocene this year. He has edited and contributed to The Alpha Barrier of North South Dialogue and The Twilight of America’s Omnipresence: China’s Aggrandizement in a New Era of Multipolarity. He’s also a member of The Poetry Society in the United Kingdom and is the co-founder of Sirius International Caribbean Defence Contractors Ltd., where he leads outreach programs.  

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