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This poem is taken from PN Review 249, Volume 46 Number 1, September - October 2019.

Two Poems Jason Allen-Paisant
Walking with the Word ‘Tree’

To have money
is to have time
To have time
is to have the forests
and the trees

I look at my baby
in the sticky
film of the bud
rubbing her thoughts

and knowing the
purple lips of the
involucres in her mouth

And me    am I living
my childhood all over

For her a wood will not be
        burned for fire coal
        where the pig pen is
        where you hide from your Mama
        where you escape from scolding & rolling eyes
        where the duppies live
        where the madman lives
        where wild animals stray dogs
        and the unwanted go to die

And me    am I living
my childhood all over

a child’s way
of pinching flowers
a child’s way of touching buds
but what I had never known
this way of listening to the forest

Did Daisy
Miss Patsy’s eleventh child
and my playmate
even know her name
was a flower?

In Porus life was un-
The woodland was there
not for living in going for walks
or thinking
Trees were answers to our needs
not objects of desire

Catch butterflies
along the way to grandmother
on the other side of the yam field
Just don’t do something foolish
like lose the money or
take too long
so the pot don’t cook
before daddy reach home

There’s a way of paying attention to plants
a way of listening to trees
a way to hold a flower in your hand
now that I’m here in a park in England

and I stop when called by the pistils of a tree
There is something in the pink
that speaks so clearly to me    saying
glad you stopped    I saw you
from far away

I don’t even know
what they call it
but I want to know
what it tells me
about itself

its appearance
with thousands of others
on this tree
that up to April
seemed like death

Our parents and grandparents planted yams
potato slips reaped tomatoes carrots and so on
Then market then money then food then clothes
then shoes to go to school

Now I’m practising a different way
of being with the woods    only
I try not to stray too far from the path…

The daisies glitter
at my feet

The Body at Night

Does your presence make
some sort of magic
in the pavement?
Does your skin form
a wicked chemistry
with the street?

For as soon as they see you
they cross over
then cross back over
when you’ve passed

Amputated now
the limbs of you
are thrown to the ground
You watch them
your volumes
your legs
your arms
even your eyes
your too short
too long hair

A welcome
so you know
where you live now    
That is not to say ‘this city’
but a place
both inside and outside
your epidermis

When you forget
what it feels like to be
outside of yourself
watching yourself
you will go walking along
these streets again
these same streets of Leeds
this autumn night
of this too cold October

of this too
just come into the city
of this too
your body too obvious

This poem is taken from PN Review 249, Volume 46 Number 1, September - October 2019.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to
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