Andre Bagoo

Carnival Mask, Pablo Escobar’s Hippos: Andre Bagoo

Carnival Mask

Upon your face I find my meaning
Against the elements, your body my standard, I am
Cut for you to breathe, my eyes fearful symmetries, my
paper skin long hardened, forever bent to your
Imperfect form; the jaws of life, the spires of
My horns are effortless and proud.

Heavy is the crown, heavier when
Discarded—dumped in dust, lost among the
Used-up cinders, my beaten shape of ash.
Yet, next year you will see. You cannot leave
Me. Like a man scorned, I bide my time.
For the mask is really all of your fear—
The mask is what you do not wear.

Pablo Escobar’s Hippos

After the raid, they found them in the hacienda
Four big, bare ungulates, even-toed, porpoise-like
Worthy cousins to whales, each a quatrain of wallowing.
They slipped away, lost to cathedrals of night.

They re-emerged, some time later, dozens of them,
Volcanic islands being born,
Basalt flecks on the water at Magdelena,
Steamy and slick and legion.

A feral species culls what it finds.
A feral plant becomes a noxious crop.
Pablo Escobar, they say, has come back.
And the world is one long murder.

Andre Bagoo is a poet and writer from Trinidad and the author of several poetry collections, including Pitch Lake. His essay collection on art and literature, The Undiscovered Country, won the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize for Non-Fiction. His fiction debut, The Dreaming, is forthcoming from Peepal Tree Press.