Up your
Robinson Crusoe

It’s not just
pidgin talk,
but words

An authentic pilgrim’s
you make

On an (un)deserted
I piss on your head,

Because of a name
I carry; oh, what a name—
Man Friday

Or it’s disdain I feel,
unlike Solomon Grundy
born on a Monday,
christened on Tuesday.

Dammit Crusoe,
the Cross you carry
because of a burden

You bear, salvation
being always
at hand for you—
but never me

Cannibal as I may be;
and this bread I break
with you

Being more than flesh
I wish to devour,
sacramental time
because of a life we live

Far from home,
in foreign territory no less,
Empire being all

With meaning more solid
than I care
to think about,
all things being (signified).

Questions and Answers

What inspired “Post-Cannibalism”?

I can’t remember what exactly inspired this specific poem, save for my reading about Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday, and shipwreck, and in some way because of where I grew up, identifying with Man Friday, the underdog, the subaltern, to some extent; and, too, Man Friday is supposed to be an indigenous person, a person of colour, a “native,” and Crusoe was English/European, and vaguely in my mind, it was the idea of empire, and speaking back to it.

What poetic techniques did you use in “Post-Cannibalism”?

The technique is that of the voice of Man Friday speaking back to Crusoe, in a kind of dramatic monologue; the subaltern addressing the “civilized” voice and making claims for the “native” voice. One can do all sorts of exciting things with this form, just by going back into history or reacting to characters in literature—and taking it from there. The technique, too, in terms of metre and rhythm is free verse (which isn’t really free, as we all know).The other notion here, also, is that of playing with “post-colonialism” and a bit of spoof on it, and thus the title of my poem “Post-Cannibalism” (really debunking “cannibalism”).

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