Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 1



Mervyn R. Seivwright


Touching Selma

My hand shivering on cold round white iron
rivets of this bridge, puzzle pieces to the arc
of a bridge size bird cage. Wondering
why colored people, birds could never fly through
the gate over half a century ago. Those birds

were as the ivy connecting the poplar trees
down the shores of the Alabama river. Standing
on this bridge, car fumes brought 1965 memories

of tear gas suffocating 500 people walking two
by two to scatter as ants blown from their path―
scatter their steps off Edmund Pettus bridge―

bringing sounds of horse hooves trotting
with law officials striking the law away. Marking
memories to stain a warning in blood red clay dirt.

500 battered, bullied, bathed in a lawful lie
leaving with no escaping path. Crickets in the trees
by the bridge whisper a Sunday hymn of pain.




Seven Men

A black ink spot on a white sundress
can be overlooked, seven black ink spots
bring attention, grouped together in
Slovakian city, culture’s diversity reflected
only in colored apparel.
                                              Scenes full
of gothic gray and black iconic buildings,
except the rainbow paint strokes on coffee
and retail shops.
                                 Evening find pubs
full of vodka drinkers, eyes attention float
to seven black stains on their canvas.

Three Neo Nazi erasers, no hair on their head
―pale skin, puzzles of anti-Semitic
dark tattoos, now standing a step away.

A single finger jester followed by unknown
tongue, expressions to erase me, until
six black shadows secured me,
allowing seven men to walk away.




Jamaican Country Market

Our painting reminded me of Cristiana
country market set up on a mountain
summit. Sunrays shine through fruit
trees glaring on amber ackees, reddish-
olive mangos, golden star fruits on trail
along the market path. Sidewalk vendors
selling yellow yam, green banana, pumpkin
sitting on used boxes and blankets.

On the main street coffee shops are vibrant,
draped outside tables, bakery flavours
create a cue of hungry patrons into the street,
tongues salivating for curried beef patties
flaking each bite. Children beside bakery
teasing goats, carousing circles bringing
belly-laugh to the old drunken man
standing on the corner with his beer.




Ice Pusher Cream Man

Faint wind brings familiar jingle,
explodes joyful taste buds
for children in elementary, junior high             and high school,
dripping, melting flavors of ice cream.

At this school bus stop,
children in waves get their sugar                        and product
from early morning time,
selling not only soft-serve ice cream,
selling Klondike, Chocho Taco, Chipwich          and Skunk,
Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate Éclair            and Bennies in a bunch,
sandwich of ice cream, Bomb Pops                     and Oxy,
Drumsticks, Snow Cones                                      and Red birds to fly,
this wasn’t an ordinary                                          product supply.

His attire was basic,                                               a wife beater vest,
rough thin out brown hair style
and beer belly, brown beard to his chest.
Mornings, afternoons
before school buses would show
I never heard his van jingle,
kids already planned to go
to him, before the short walk home
and spend left over lunch change                        or cash they made,
                                                                                    a pusher man’s story, a capitalist paid.




Between Maroon Mountains

In the heart of the Jamaica, my family settled
between lush mountain forest, next to pothole roads
snaking fertile terrain, soil filled with yam, plantain,
banana. Far from the tourist-soaked beach clubs
and hotels, away from the cities, where a myriad
of people filled streets. A peaceful place

with predawn rain pounds the banana leaves
in syncopated beats, easing sleeping spirit
to awaken in its warmth joyfully. Sounds
before sun rises whispers swift machete
motions against yam plants, feet shifting
on dirt path to market, to school. Outside

village folk are peeling fresh ackee for salt-
fish breakfast, bartering on the street
for bright coloured pumpkin, cho cho,
callaloo, mango, potato. In shops my nose
heightens to sweet raisin filled spice bun,
bulla and rum cake, hard dough and coco bread.

Near a high plateau look deep into my home
green valley―placed white casket houses,
generation of my family protected by cement,
from flesh-eating earthworms, patchwork
monuments in Maroon mountains, ancestors
in Warsop winds sings of our land.


Mervyn R. Seivwright: "I was born in London, England. I have appeared in Park University's The Scribe publication, Dayton's Flights Literary Journal and have been commissioned by the British Museum, Ipswich, United Kingdom. I am currently studying for an MFA in Poetry at Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky and residing in Tipp City Ohio."




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