Bahamian Journal

by Timotha Doane
Cover photo by the author
16 pages, 2005

Dream: I dreamt I was winding up a class I had been teaching. It was a class of my peers, and we had been coming together weekly to discuss a strange, eclectic bunch of writers. They weren't poets necessarily. In the dream Mary did something I really don't like. Because this was the wrap up class, she knew I was going to ask folks for an evaluation. At the beginning she told me to not be defensive. This time I ignored her. One of the students began talking about Burroughs in such a way that reality shifted and there we were, in it. Only this became a gangster story a la Law and Order or Third Watch. But then each we studied became our three dimensional space.

I had the feeling when I woke up that I have been dreaming this class for a long time in installments.


It's strange to be here without my mother, here in the Bahamas where I resisted coming for a long time. This is, however, my fifth time here. I feel out of place, but Dad and I had a good time this evening.

six of disks              Hermit       six of cups       Ace of cups
three of swords       Death         Sun                nine of cups

                                                                                                                                    It works.

It is very hard to find a surface to write on. They favor benches too high for tables. My mind is dull. Tomorrow, I must exercise more. Later, here in the Bahamas , I read Denise Levertov, opening to The Jacob's Ladder,

    To the Reader

       As you read, a white bear leisurely
       pees, dyeing the snow

       and as you read, many gods
       lie among lianas eyes of obsidian
       are watching the generations of leaves,

       And as you read
       the sea is turning its dark pages,
       its dark pages.

As I lie in the dark
                            of the ocean's turning
waiting to fall asleep
listening to the sea
to the wind
to the clatter of the sea grape and wild
mamee leaves
I read this in the Bahamas
I listen to my father shuffle
to the bathroom
I listen to the sea
I don't know why
I am spooked at night afraid of the dark.

My father is quietly talking to my mother
dead these four months
my father pulls his soft blanket up to his cheek
like a child
he weeps

the sea is turning its dark pages
in the daylight
this sea is a miracle of color
but strangely the magic sea
doesn't change the people walking
on its shore they
are the same fearful judges
as those stomping city streets
sauntering country lanes
or navigating deserts as I write

the sea
there are certain things
I'm afraid to do alone at night

I miss my mother
which is strange
because she wouldn't understand
my questioning our worlds were very
still I wish I'd talked to her
when she asked if I had read
A Room of Her Own
She silenced herself—why?

Did she think she wasn't as intellectual as her sister Vicki or me? That she would embarrass herself. I regret not asking her. The book had obviously stirred something in her that she wanted to share or question. I feel bad that I hadn't taken that moment to connect with her. Maybe help her. Some spark toward liberation momentarily blazed.

But it got lost.
No one paid attention and the one
holding the spark painfully but
only a glimmer
aware it dies out.

              at last
                            with this breath

I am connected by my
self I am less afraid of this night
my father picks me hibiscus
large red and yellow blossoms
five large petals with
yellow stamen coming out
where the color is deeper
                                          flowers so secret
                                          to be worn in
              every woman's hair
sex so secret
I find a valentine cut from
Bahamian wrapping paper
exotic fish aqua
colors will you be my
valentine a hundred dollars
clipped to the card
for the clothes and the VO
and sweet vermouth I
brought him
this sweet, romantic man
misses his wife
he wants to