This poem is written through the perspective of my ancestor, Crandon Cort, who was forced into slavery. This side of my family are from Guyana and the Caribbean.
Each line of the stanza was picked in a random order to create three stanzas,
reflecting the repetition of life on a plantation as a slave.
1. The sun does raise its white head/ Beats us with the feverish rays
2. My blood stains the white/ sugar that gnaws holes in your teeth
3. I am worth not even two of your copper coins?
4. Let the diseases consume me/ Stagnate my blood
5. In death my soul will return home.
6. Ten more lashes until he falls down dead
7. King O’Kumfa is my only master
8. Whip my dark skin/ but take your coffee black
9. My back looks like a piranha attacked
10. To deny your name is to deny a part of myself
11. Chains cackle as I’m branded Cort
[slave name: Crandon Cort. free name: Cort Crandon]
Line 7: ‘King O’Kumfa’ refers to the King of the Congo river, which many people who were made slaves in the Atlantic Slave trade worshipped.
Line 11: ‘Cort’ was the name of the family that enslaved my ancestor. Slaves were often given the name of their ‘master’.