Raymond Antrobus

Posted in 2022-2023 Readings and Talks

Raymond Antrobus Headshot
Photo Credit: Suki Dhanda

November 1st, 2022

Moderated by Carolyn Forché


Her Taste

Funny that my mother was a clown
a college dropout who joined the circus
with another clown who made inflatable giants.
It’s funny. His name was George,
a Marxist who swore he was serious

when he said the men who tried
to mow him down in a car one night
were sent by Thatcher, so he fled England
to hide while my mother pulled another
man at a Ska and Reggae night in Hackney

who was tall and afro’ed and swooned
her under the music.
I’m Seymour, he said, pointing
at his eyes, saying the more I see
the more I see, and she burped.

George (who was serious when he said
he didn’t want children) came back
to England to find my mother
pregnant and he struck her in the face
but ended up staying in the same house

saying he’s help raise the child,
but wasn’t serious, he left
and my mother and Seymour,
who was my father, raised my sister and me.
Thirty years later my mother says she’s

holding her head higher at seventy.
She never needed a man,
Of course I wonder where her taste
came from. He own father was quiet,
detached and serious all his life,
reaching out his arms for God
while his children crawled at his feet.

From All the Names Given (Tin House Books, 2021)


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