Jocilene Lima

I was introduced to some of Joci’s early poetry on Goodreads a year or so ago and have had the pleasure of watching her develop and grow as a writer since. I was instantly taken by the visual quality and freshness of her poems as well as the subtle feelings of melancholy I am often left with. I find Joci’s writing incredibly atmospheric and slightly different from most poetry I read. I have a suspicion that this is because Joci reads in her native Portuguese but writes in English. This combination creates something extremely beautiful.

But don’t take my word for it, head over to and experience the magic for yourself. In the meantime, please enjoy:

This long paradigm shift

We have clung on to leading a commonly sucked life
Like criminals defacing walls in a once glamorous city
Maybe a long streaming wave enlivens its streets
In a quiet night where only the wind commands the flow of a non-living soul
Miles away an honest man has wounded himself,
In a wire of long steady stubbornness
Thousand more miles away a wave has crashed along some shore
And maybe a kid was born; a young adult may have died
We are light years away from that one-off tone
And have traveled ever since to a dot com dot-bubble era
An old black and white newspaper article
Takes me back to those years, at my grandparent’s door
With my cousins and I listening carefully
To that wolf story that used to fill our nights
Before this long paradigm shift
That has become more like silent nights filled with the light of a screen
And maybe, just maybe, behind it someone tells us stories
Of how it used to be to escape from war, to be in a queue for an orange…
Just maybe…

– JL. 01/07/2015


Name: Jocilene Lima
Age: 24 years old
Location: Mindelo, Cape Verde

Influences: Talking about influences is very difficult as I read in Portuguese and I write, these days, mostly in English. I always enjoyed Mia Couto’s writing and the way he plays with words – though I cannot do that the way he does. I’m more into philosophical or as you can see – romance. A big influence to me has been Ryan Stone himself and Guy Duppereault, two friends I met when I first joined WSS January this year and which have been big fans and supporters of my writing. It is thanks to both of them that I keep writing!

Inspiration for this poem: The poem first popped out to answer the weekly contest on Goodreads whose topic was Paradigm shift. When I saw the topic, I started thinking about the influence of internet in our lives nowadays and “those years at my grandparent’s door” are very real. Different from kids in Europe, parents here in Cape Verde, and I think generally in Africa, were not that well schooled, and some could not even read. So, reading a story before a child goes to bed is not much a cultural thing. Parents would tell, or even invent stories instead. And some of them were very scary, I have to admit. It is a pity that this tradition is now disappearing.

Techniques/ideas/thoughts during writing: None that I’m aware… I like free versing and I use parallelism and repetition quite often.


Bio: I was born and raised in Mindelo, Cape Verde. We, Cape Verdeans, are born with this desire inside that we have to go abroad. It was always my dream to study in Lisbon, and it came true in 2010. In 2013 I already had a degree in Translation and life sent me to Germany where I lived the most unforgettable experience of my life. I came back home last year, mostly because of my family. However, my mind and soul still leaves in Germany. I now work for an incoming tour operator aiming to promote sustainable tourism in Cape Verde.

Copyright for the above poem and image remains the sole property of Jocilene Lima.