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List of Caribbean Poets

4/07/2012

Chameleon Thoughts, by Danielle Boodoo-Fortune

Chameleon Thoughts is one of three poems Danielle chose to share with Poets of the Caribbean readers. I enjoyed reading this poem, and I hope you will too. As usual, I would love to have your feedback, so feel free to share your chameleon thoughts or experiences!


Chameleon Thoughts


I



I wear this chameleon around my neck

to keep myself from changing.

I go from fire to fire

with each new skin,

spin prophecy,

secrete visions,

shed my face again

with the turning of the moon.

This last incarnation

must not kill me yet.

I have a little luck

left.


 

II



I bought the chameleon pendant

from a man at Store Bay who

promised it was lucky.

I bought it on a morning when

I wasn’t quite sure who I

was trying to be,

found it underneath

one massive shark tooth,

stone phallus on a string

and rough clay terrapin.

The chameleon, trapped

on flat brown medallion,

could not change

as he wanted to

and at the moment

neither could I.



III



We fear chameleons too much,

want things to be just as they seem,

we, who sell raw heart meat

to strangers, burn bridges, use

God’s name without permission,

We want our small dragons

to stay green, pocket-sized,

always crushable in good conscience.


 

IV
 

Like a good chameleon,

I change when my skin

tastes danger.

Right now, I am not the one

you wanted. I am a shade alien,

I climb poisonous trees,

turn my open mouth

to the breeze.

I am not the one you

hoped to find when

you hatched me.

Perhaps you wanted

something softer, like

a pony or a butterfly.

But here I am: telescopic

eyes and all,  lizard

waiting for wings

under the trees’

leaving.



V



I don’t know if this pendant

will withstand the water,

but I wear it anyway.

In the hollow

of my collarbone

it rests, warm

brown stone,

for the moment

unchanging

like me

until I decide

to turn

again.


Copyright 2011 Danielle Boodoo-Fortune

Reprinted with author's permission.

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