The Writers’ Room

A weekly column featuring the work of Guyanese writers, both established and emerging.

Illustration by Tahirih Gerrard
Illustration by Tahirih Gerrard

The Empty Rocking Chair

By Jamella Chesney  when the Matriarch dies She takes with Her the breath of the house   She takes with Her a generation a history a truth   She was a movement She mothered the village and fathered the farm   farewell to the voice that scolded the child  and consoled the broken farewell to the recipes i never cared to learn the stories She never told me   as i held Her in the final hour She had already gone cold the angels had gathered round stillness befell Her aura   then there were the cries guttural wails piercing the saturday sky like the horn of a ship with a broken compass pleading for a light in the horizon Her daughters held each other as if in utero as if muscle memory because now the cord hangs loose the branches become roots   the men draw words on the ground with their eyes the children panic   the light which had guided them beckons the Mother ship to the unearthly plains   when the Matriarch dies She leaves her trauma with a shattered lineage   as they wrapped Her in clean, white sheets Her rocking chair swayed in the breeze in the verandah overlooking the village that birthed Her   Dedicated to my dear granny, Cilene English nee Simon (3rd September, 1944 – 12th October, 2019)

Missed Connections

By Samaria Deonauth              He glanced around the sparsely occupied café, scanning the unfamiliar faces, but even the face he was searching for is unfamiliar.

HOLDING CELL NO. 15

Once upon a time, the world was bigger. And brighter. And better. Guyana was bigger too. A little brighter. A little better. It sat on the shoulder of what was then South America, which stretched out into what was then the Caribbean Sea.

Sweet Veins of Greed

                                                                  Sweet veins of sugar run deep within our skin Whipped and seared with striations of blood And salt-filled wounds, an indelible record Written on our backs A dark ink that runs through time Straight from our fore-parents’ pain History is not a past tense but a well-remembered thing Of toil and terror that bleeds into the present hours And addresses our soul with stories of monied greed That dripped from light, sugar-sweetened skins Those that clamped the chains, those that cracked the whips To brutish laughter and are risen yet again To entrap with new stories of gluttony and greed Wearing their thin disguise, wearing their blackened sheen That drills down through layers and layers of time To claim sweet veins of oil that rest unworried in the core beneath And we who once were hurt and who once felt the pain Have learned to profit from the loss And to profit from the gain And the massa-day avarice we once condemned and blamed We see in the mirror now garbed in full length And caught in full embrace of the very greed Of the very sweetened deals Now that we have signed our name Here on this dotted line that pushes past the past That pushes past the pain To reveal the grins, the skin-teeth open mouths Of the shiny, oil-slickened beings That we have become -Ryhaan Shah

Ryhaan Shah

Q&A: Ryhaan Shah

Ryhaan Shah, who has worked as a journalist in print and television, has had three novels published in the United Kingdom.

Nadia Sagar

Q&A: Nadia Sagar

Nadia Sagar is an attorney-at-law. In her spare time, she writes short stories and is currently working on a collection she hopes to one day publish.

Q&A: Chevy Devonish

In addition to being a journalist, university lecturer and newly admitted member of the bar, Chevy Devonish is an avid volunteer with various organisations, including the Volunteer Youth Corp.

Gabrielle Mohamed

Confronting the divide

In “Dear Coast Landerz ah Guyana,”creole poet Gabrielle Mohamed confronts the attitudes of coastland residents to their indigenous counterparts by way of a letter of complaint.

Imagining future Guyanas

By Nicholas Peters Colonialism had already imposed colonial mindsets on the psyche of African people, which meant that they continued to reproduce coloniality as their future even after direct juridical colonialism has been dismantled – Sabelo J.Ndlovu-Gatsheni

The ePaper edition, on the Web & in stores for Android, iPhone & iPad.

Included free with your web subscription. Learn more.