Friday, December 30, 2005

Global Voices

I do a interview here yesterday.

And I can think o' two people who gon

[1] fret

[2] worry

that I

[1] say too much

[2] say the wrong things

[3] talk tongue in cheek at one point.

But I thoroughly enjoy doing it. Thank you Georgia of Global Voices.

And thank you blogger-friends fo' giving me the confidence.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

He Guana Eat It.

There me was today, in this line in the bank. The line snake ‘round and ‘round and ‘round like a camoudie. Like a boa constructor. A alaconda.

Well I never! What all them people doing in town, crowding up the bank on the same day I got to be there? Sigh. I gon never get outta there.

A red-tee shirt fella behind me, smelling sweeter than ten pink soap, looking like somebody name Satesh, he forehead high and round, and he face long and plain, whisper to me, "Excuse me, if I want to make a transaction, I got to fill out a form?" I tell he what to do. The line drag on. Curve ‘round. Moan groan sigh.

SUDDENLY.

In the line, parallel to me, on me left. A young black fella walk in with a long pointy tail in he hand, it black-stripey, yellowy and scaley. He holding it down by the side o’ he leg, trying to hide it.

I say to he, and pointing me finger too, "Excuse me, is that thing alive?"

He try to hide it near he leg. He look at me like he ain’t trust me, he mutter yes.

I say, "Is it going to jump on me and bite me?"

He try to hide it and say, "No."

I say, "Can I see?"

He raise it like he ain’t want to show me, quick up, and quick hide it back down near he leg.

Me haul in me breath, me stare like country-gyal come to town, me open mouth.

Iguana.

I say, "Is you pet? Or you gon to eat it?"

He ain't answer.

The Satesh-looking fella behind me laugh [a li'l too mocking it sound to me] and say, "Pet? It's his dinner!"

A little boy behind the iguana say in a loud, excited voice, "It's an iguana."

I say, "Dinner?"

A plump black woman parallel to me, on me right, laugh and announce, "Dinner yes. If I get my hands on that! The meat sweet, sweet, sweeter than chicken."

Discussion going ‘round, people muttering ‘bout iguana meat.

I ask nobody in general, "Is not a protected animal? Endangered or something?"

A fella behind the Satesh-looking fella...he look like how Harry Potter would look if he grow, put on a li’l weight and turn East Indian...he say, "They're too plentiful in Guyana. They're all over the place. They sell them all over in Big Market."

Big Market is Stabroek Market where plenty thieves hang out and where vendors sell anything, from vegetables to gold jewels. And now I hearing, iguanas.

He say, "They sell those and turtles."

"Sea turtles?" I ask. Everybody in Guyana know that we sea turtles endangered.

The Satesh-looking guy behind me say, "No, river turtles."

The line move up, curl and coil and shiffle-shaffle up.

The iguana guy get left in the curve far behind me. I craning me neck to see what going on. He grinning and showing off he iguana to a group of other black folks. Shucks. What they saying? Why they laughing? I want to hear, man.

My turn almost now, I first in the line. The iguana guy parallel to me again.

He watching me in a not-too-sure, don't trust kinda way. He friend behind he with the darkest skin and whitest grin watching me too. I smile. The friend flash a smile.

I tell the iguana guy, "I never see one before."

He hold it up to me and say, "You want to touch it?"

I said, “Noooo,” and back away like the true-born coward me is.

Then me stretch out me hand and touch it. It warm and soft. The feet tie up together with red thread. He eyes look sad.

I say, "You don't feel sorry for it?"

A man buss out one big jolly-Santa kind o’ laugh. I look up. A tall, burly elderly black gentleman rolling out he bellyful laugh, the laugh rumble ‘round the bank, and he looking at me and shaking he head, glad glad.

I grin ‘cause he laughing so merry, and I say, "What? I feel sorry for it."

The iguana owner say, "Sorry for it? When I done curry it I ain't feeling sorry." He look happy, man, real happy.

The teller ping for me. I tell the iguana guy, "Enjoy your dinner."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Eggnog

You like eggnog?

Want some?

Well, Stunner in Jamaica working this long weekend and can't celebrate Christmas, po' fella, but he sharing out eggnog.


Hop over
RIGHT HERE
and share some with he, nah?



Sunday, December 25, 2005

December 25: SNAPSHOTS

6:30 am.

Standing on we seawall, the whole place cool 'n' grey. Thank you winter in the north, the colder you get, the cooler we feel, hope you turn bitter cold hehe.

I watching we chameleon ocean take on the sky mood. To the left, the water orange; to the right, it grey.

Only one or two walkers. The wall stretching for miles; no bodies blocking me view.


I walk East.

I smell roses.

Agarbhati...incense burning, smelling o’ roses, floating on water lily leaves.

A woman, li'l brown children crouching down on the sea side o' the wall, father looking on.

Hindu family peeling short, fat apple bananas, cutting watermelon, putting them with the agarbhati in the water lily leaves, then in the water.

The tide low an' slooow so them leaves floating gentle.

But how them agarbhati sticks standing, I wonder.

Oho! They chook them into one banana each.

I look north and wonder if people out there, over the horizon, know that not everybody does celebrate Christmas, and that Muslims have Jesus and the immaculate conception in the Qur’an.



Water play.

The ocean turn grey, it sleepy, yawning, stretching low, slow, can barely come to shore, roll up in lazy lines o' white fluff.

In two different spots near shore the water doing something I never see before.

Li'l laps o' water moving anti-tidewise; other li'l laps gyrating slow to the left, some gyrate slow to the right, or to or fro.

Laps meet, hug up, kiss up, jump up, froff.

Then a li'l chill run through me; I remember reading 'bout the li'l girl from England who did notice the sea in another place faraway behaving strange last year...


Cousin Analis phone.

She grumbling. She got to go to she husband cousin home for lunch. Doctors meet doctors, all they talk about is liver, spleen and blood.

I remember a doc. from Abroad saying how doctors in the Caribbean limited, all they talk 'bout is med'cine.

Then Analis laugh and say one day last week she go in town with two friends, Em and Vee. She had a hard time parking she big, ol' clunky square jeep in a small space.

Suddenly, a bunch of men appear.

"They say don't worry baby, we gon help you. And they telling me, do this, lock hard, turn. I struggling, and some other man come up and he behaving the way daddy does behave, giving instructions and getting frantic. I tell he, you, you go away, you're stressing me. He shut up and another man say don't worry with he, we gon help you."

She say, "When I done park people across the road, street vendors, people passing by, them men who help me, the whole street started one big clapping. And Vee and Em cringing and cussing, hahaha...”


The newspaperman

I pay he, he smile and say Merry Christmas.

For some strange reason I ask he, "What you doin' today?"

I picturing he at home, sitting with friends, knocking back rum.

He smile crumble, he lips tremble.

He say, "Is not a good time for me at all. My wife is in the hospital, dying."


Auntie M.

She know the paperman too, so I phone she to tell she the sad news.

She tell me [again] 'bout she grandsons.

The other day she tell them twins [who turn 10 recently], and they brother Rashid [who turn 14 last month] to sweep and mop.

Rashid 'cut he eye' on she...he walk off and give she a sideways, up-down look.

Them twins say, "What she take we for, she slave?"

She slam the kitchen door on them and tell them don't come back. They live right next door.

"You did vex for true?" I ask she.

She say, "Naaah, you just got to pretend sometimes. When they come back is like nothing ain't happen. They got a special way to say 'grandma' that does melt me heart. Owww, they does say it so sweet."

She say, "Last week they did want to play cricket but they can't play in the side street. Neighbour husband cuss them stink, stink 'cause they cricket ball going in he yard. And they can't play in they mother yard 'cause the ball mess up she wall so bad, she had to buy paint and pay Clive to paint it."

[Auntie M. does say Clive is she African son. He did refuse to go 'way with he mother and father when the racial disturbance start in the '60's, and he grow up with Auntie M. and she family].

Auntie M. decide to sweet talk the watchman for the big yard next door that recently vacated.

The watchman let them play cricket. But they mother get blue vex. She quarrel up that Auntie M. teaching them boys to trespass.

The yard playing end after somebody inform Auntie M. that the yard got a Dutch jumbie, Dutch ghost. And the Dutch jumbie make two l'il girls fall to the ground and talk strange things.

Today Clive scold Auntie M. Ask she what kind o' foolishness she telling them boys, since he been a li'l boy he play in that yard and nothing happen too he, them li'l girls faint 'cause they did hungry.

Cricket playing resume.

Boy dancing

One o' Auntie M. grandson, 15 year old Ebadi, spending the holidays with she and she husband. He come to visit one day then decide he ain't going home.

He send for he clothes but does live in he pyjamas 'til midday. Today, he want to play cricket in he pyjamas. She talking to me on the phone, and hollering on he to go and change.

She say, "Yesterday, he put on music, stick his two finger in the air and put on one piece o' dancing, he showing we how he uncle does dance. Clive does dance too, if you see how he graceful."


After lunch

I read the newspapers.

Bandits with big guns raid Fort Island in the Essequibo River; they rampage, rape and rob.

Damn devil spawn.

Oh police, police why you don't go to the border places where them guns entering and stop them?

Everywhere this fear, only fear...


Song and Dance

So if today you hear me playing this Bollywood DVD with colours and drums and lush girls, sari flying, pure romance and smiles and Shah Rukh Khan eyes...and we house sounding like countryside-wedding house...don't call me foolish...I just bein' happy.

As we Guyanese people does say, "You got to make youself happy."

Friday, December 23, 2005

Sweet Baby

Sweet Baby arrive bright and early yesterday mornin’ with Mr. Singh we car mechanic. Sweet Baby sit between Mr. Singh and he daughter Sareeta. Sareeta is twelve years old and mentally handicapped.

What a trio them was, that swing into we gate. Mr. Singh, tall and slim and brown; Sareeta with she shiny, straight-long hair tie up in two fat, black plaits; and Sweet Baby, so perfect-pink in she girlie-pyjamas, she Swede-blond hair tie with two flashing-red ribbons.

I laugh, fling down the newspaper, fly outta we verandah where I been waiting for Mr. Singh.

Mr. Singh look at Sareeta, look at Sweet Baby and me, he greeny-eyes laughing. He say, “Whole night this girl no sleep; she crying, crying, she want she new dollie. We did suppose to wrap it up and give she on Sunday but she insist she want it now. We had to give she it. If you see dollies what she got. Them head bruk off; them hand and foot bruk off. This one here, everything stitch on together. She mother try to break she out o’ the dollie habit, but she nah stop.”

I say, “Man, look, let she enjoy she dollie if that’s what make she happy.”

She father say, “If she happy! She cover it with blanket, she put on fan…”

Sareeta laugh and say, “No! Nah true.”

She beaming like sun in the yellow pick-up. I go up to she.

“What you dollie name?” I ask.

Sareeta say, “She name Sweet Baby.”
I never see a child so full up with joy. She can’t stop smile and she eyes them big and dark and shining.

She let me hold Sweet Baby for one minute. I say, “Come out o’ the van, nah? Come. Bring Sweet Baby for a walk.”

She shuffle out, hugging up Sweet Baby like precious-love. While Mr. Singh jook around we car, Sweet Baby smell the jasmine. She look at the bird sitting in she nest. I pick a li’l rose for Sweet Baby and Sareeta carry it for she.

I ask, “She got pillow?”

Sareeta say no.

I ask, “She got blanket?”

Sareeta say no.

“Awright. I gon make a blanket and pillow for she.”

Mr. Singh finish with we car. He refuse to charge. He ask me if I mad to think he gon charge for a li’l squeak that only need CRC.

He walk around we garden, spot the sugar cane. “You know how long me want plant some cane...me can get some?”

I run up for the chopper. When I come down, he eyes laughing. He say, “You promise this girl to make pillow and blanket for she dollie? She just come whisper, tell me.”

“Yes,” I say.

He say, “Oh Lawd, she no gon done harass me now to phone you to see if you make it.”

[Me and me big mouth.]

I say, “Don’t worry, Sareeta. Saturday bright and early I gon call you daddy and mummy to come for the pillow and blanket for Sweet Baby. Today is what day?”

She say, “Thursday.”

“Good,” I say, “You only got to wait Thursday and Friday.”

Sareeta beam and hug Sweet Baby and go back in the pick-up.

Mr. Singh cut he stalks o’ sugar cane, throw them in the back o’ the pick-up.

He ask Sareeta, "You no want leave the dollie so she can get the measurement?"

Sareeta say, "No no!"

He laugh and the three o’ them drive off...a tall, brown man sitting near a pink dollie, and he sweet-baby daughter on the other side.

I better go and sew this thing now if I ain’t want trouble in that happy home.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Live and direct

We Mazaruni Prison had a Christmas Programme goin’ on the radio the other night.

One prisoner sing; he words go one way and he tune sneak off and disappear the other way. Ow, if you hear he though, singing out he heart and soul. I could just see he...eyes shut, wrinkle up he brow.

‘Nother prisoner say in Guyanese accent dat he gon sing too. Then he do a rap in a ‘Mericain accent ‘bout Christmas and family and being together.

Most o’ them send out Greetin’s from de Mazuruni Prison.

The one that make me night was Prisoner E.B.

“Yeah, dis is E.B. I would like to sen’ out greetin’s to my aunt, to my mother, my brothers, my sister an’ cousins, an’ friens.

An’ to all my fans out dere.

Merry Chrismus an’ a Prosperous New Year.”

Monday, December 19, 2005

Radio Blah-Blah

The Carpenter Man arrive with he bagful o’ tools at 7 o’ clock, Saturday morning.

He crouch by the kitchen door. He say, “Hold the torchlight for me, nah? I tell you and you mother to put a bulb here, this place so dark you can’t even see youself. How that mad lady down the street? She house wall outside ah-peel like when ya peel sheepskin!”

The Carpenter Man gleeful ‘bout that bad paint job. Whenever he see we, he does got to mention it at least once.

A year ago, the lady did make he do a estimate for a paint job. She make he go back. Then she tell he to go back again. Then she tell he that he too expensive. She say she find a more cheap painter from the country.

Dip into toolbag.

He say, “I ain’t eat breakfast yet, y’know. And when I done here, I goin’ to the seawall. Goin’ to buy fish.”

Pull out screws, pull out old lock from door.

“I don’t feel hungry so much since I start taking that noni for me sugar. You see when I use to take the doctor medication, I get hungry all the time. 7 o' clock, I eat. 9 o' clock, I take a li'l snack, by 11 o’ clock, I hungry again. Then I eat lunch. Li’l later, I hungry again, then 3 o' clock, I eat a li'l snack.

After I start taking that noni, all that hungry business done. I see it at a fair. The man say take one dose a day ‘til the bottle done. Then get another bottle, take less dose. Ever since that, me hardly hungry.”

Examine door lock, pull out mortise lock.

“Then I discover that plant 'never-done'. Some call it 'knock-about.' The white periwinkle. A man foot been going bad ‘cause o’ sugar. Them doctors did going and cut off he foot. Somebody tell he family ‘bout the 'never-done’ and they boil one pot full o’ leaves, he drink it. No more doctor. Man, this new lock different, them screws ain’t fitting into them old place...”

Hammer, hammer, nail new holes.

“I does drink that too some days, with the noni. And sometimes, I does boil bitter neem and drink that. I alternate, this one today, that one another day.”

Pull out nails, turn in new screws.

“I been to the doctor 2 years ago, me family nag me, and when the doctor test me, he no see no sugar. The doctor say he can't treat me for anything. If I eat something sweet I know when to take me noni, me knock-about or neem. Me got a testing kit at home.”

He launched into all them signs that first tell he that he had diabetes.

Hypochondriac me run through the list, check off this, tick off that. No, nope, ain't got that, no, nope, phew.

He start to talk ‘bout a sore on somebody foot.

“What you doin’ for Christmas?” I ask. I think I did sound a bit hysterical, he change the subject.

“Christmas? Man, look, lemme tell you...everyday ah Christmas. Everyday you got to clean you house. If you clean it today, and you clean it tomorrow, is the same amount o’ dust you go find.”

He stop work and cup one hand to show the amount o’ dust.

He say, “Everyday you eat chicken. What so different on Christmas day?”

By the time the Carpenter Man leave, me head been spinning. Oh no. He did say one o’ them symptoms was head spinning...we got white periwinkle, we got bitter neem...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hear the children...

I does think in a straight line, planning, logical.

And at least once a week, along that line fireworks, colours and stars does burst out.

Projects like THIS does make me head full up with colours and stars, make me think o’ the big, gobaluptuous potential for sharing positive vibes.

Now, I gone to think in a straight line, plan how to introduce this in we schools here.

[Well, after I finish partaying with fam’ly ‘n’ friends].

Enjoy y’day everybody. As Bob Marley sing, “One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright.”

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Santa Exposed! [A Christmas tale for you]

In a busy li’l village long ago, in the late 1960’s to be precise, not plenty people did believe in Santa.

Most o’ them people was East Indians, and Santa was just not in they culture. Most o’ them village people was farmers, planting rice and vegetables; mindin’ cow and sheep; racing horse; catching fish; running shops.

But one or two families did hear ‘bout Santa, and them children use to put out they stockings for gifts. Even the two wicked li’l brothers, as mischievous as they be, use to get gifts from Santa.

Then one Christmas the boys cha-cha, they father brother, decide he gon take all them children...he children, he nephews and niece...to see Santa. He pile the whole bunch o’ them in he pet red Mercedes and drive them to town.

Well!

That Christmas them two li’l boys really see Santa for true!

Them two boys, 7 and 9 years old, was the oldest of all the children. As they was the oldest, and they cha-cha been busy with the other li’l ones, he tell them boys to look around, see what they want to buy.

The two boys look around.

They peep into a room in the store.

They see a man tie a pillow on to he belly. He put on red clothes. Belt. Cotton-wool beard. Boots. Them two li’l boys stand up in that room and take in the whole show, as we does say.

And they go back VEX to they home over the village store.

They tell they mother, “It ain’t got nothing name Santa. Is just a ordinary man dress up. If you want to give we presents, give we, but no tell we is from no Santa.”

And they went about trying to convince them other li’l ones that it ain’t got nothing name Santa. But them li’l ones tramp up and down, and hollah and scream, and refuse to even think that what them two boys saying was true.



Not too long ago, in October this year to be exact, in a narrow cacaphonics street in town, me and me mother see a big blowup plastic Santa on top of a park-up car.

She watch he good, she lips twitching with a smile, then she say, “One big fake man, got the whole world fooled.”

And she laugh and tell me again [again!] the story o’ how she two sons discover the truth ‘bout Santa long ago.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Thursday Aftern -oon.

I need to buy a doorl -ock.

[Got to have more than one doorl –ock on one door, always.]


One o' them, out of the many on the door, break.

Yesterday aftern -oon.

I went out and come back early. Pull my keys out from my bag to open the door.

One keyb -reak. Can't get into the house.

Ib -reak into colds -weat. I pan -ic. Me mother not home; the spare key not at Auntie H. where we normally leave it.

I phone me beautif -ul and brainy cousin Analis. The cellph -one sounding more crackly-breakly than me voice.

Sweet -art that she is, cousin come with she jeep right away. We drive to the Carpenter Man home. Good man that he is, he come right away with we and he bag o' tools.

He breako -pen the lock, let me in and tell me what to buy.

Cousin repeat what I got to buy. She tell me s-l-o-w, and she talk a bit LOUD like if she trying to make sure I get the thing right.

We drop home the Carpenter Man.

She bring me back home, and we sit in she jeep at the gate, gyaffing...y'know, chatting.

She say, "I wasn't too sure you would know what you have to buy..."

I say, "Man, you forget we in the building business so long…"


"Yes, that is true," she say, "but I swear the Carpenter Man keep saying you must buy a 3-inch morti -slock. And I keep wondering, what is morti -slock?

Then it hit me.

He saying mortise lock.

And I fretting that you gon write down 'morti -slock' and you gon go to the hardware store and show them that, and they gon say they ain't got any morti -slock. So I repeat it s-l-o-w, GG, make sure you buy a 3-inch Mortise Lock. Okay? A 3-inch Mortise Lock."


So that is what I got to go and buy. A 3-inch depth mortise lock and a new doorl -ock.

Beethoven's Birthday

“Beethoven birt’day” is a family joke, a euphemism for my birt’day.

Is the one, single, only day I does like me fam’ly an’ friends spoiling me. They should call me Narcissisma every Dec. 16.

I like calls, emails,
e-greetings, comments, books, CD’s, Qantas ticket...

T’ank you, Cream, for this!!
T’ank you Pat, you’re sweet.

And phone call at 5:45 am make me day.

Tell me what you like when is your birt'day. [Some people I know don't want it at all, so I does sing "It is not your birt'dayyyyy..."]

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Letter to Teacher

Dear Teacher in America,

I writing you all the way from Guyana, St. America to give you solutions as to how to deal with me 7 year old nephew. Yes, that li'l brown boy with the big, wet laughy eyes.

First, you say that he correct you in class all the time.

You tell he mother that he do it so much one day, you couldn't take it no more.

If you want, I gon send you some cotton wool.
It does work y'know. I does put it in me ears now to block out the sound o' rain nighttime.

Next you say he does talk too much.

Hmmm.


Think of it this way. You ever hear them li'l children complaining that you standing in front o' them, bossing them, talking the whole day?

Nah.
They ignore you.

That is what you got to do. Ignore the li'l chappie, let he talk, man, let he talk.

Recently, you say that he go in the school bathroom during "out-of-bathroom-time" and he play with the water and splash it up.


You po' teacher, so frustrated you send he to the principal office. But I ain't really understand the Green Card, Amber Card, Red Card business too much.

Man, all you had to do was...








...actually, this one stump me!






Anyway, I just want to tell you that is the Guyanese genes in he that got he behaving so. Is that Guyanese blood running wild in he.

For example, look at the "talking too much" thing.


All them teachers use to say that 'bout me. They saying it now 'bout me cousin son in America too.

And the teacher say that 'bout me 5-year-old niece in England.

She father, me brother, tell the teacher that talking plenty run in the family.

Teacher, if you think me li'l nephew is wutliss, you shoulda see me second brother! That is a whole book by itself. And me mother when she been a li'l girl. That too is a book by itself.

Anyway Teacher, take heart. Just rub the li'l chile halo and you gon see how it shine.

Yours,
Doting Guyana Aunt.

[No, not "Dotish" as in "Doltish"].

P.S. Put he in front o' the class and tell he to talk and teach.


You gon see how quiet the li'l scamp gon get.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005

This fella

This fella teach me 'bout Spiderman, Superman and Hulk. He use to bring them by the paperbags, and Commando comics too, small black 'n' white comics 'bout heroes fighting wicked krauts in World War Two.

And I learn from he 'bout the lunatic on the grass, Aqualung, the Don quietly flowing. And V.S. Naipaul night watchman journal.

From he I learn to whistle. Even though here they does say girls must NOT whistle. [A whistling woman and a crowing hen is an abomination, people here does say.]

I learn weird facts from this fella 'bout people in Guyana, things like thiefman can fly from coconut tree and get away.

I strrrreeetch me imagination and LAUGH.

When I come back to Guyana to live after studies and work, he been here for a while. He warn me 'bout who and who and who suspected o' dealing in drugs so I don't go with me naïve self, thinking I can be friends with every Tom, Harry and Mary-Sue.

Not too long after, I buy a pineapple. I peel it, cut it. It over-ripe. I quarrelling, not shutting up, I musta sound like a proper tantaria, just nagging 'bout the over-yellow pineapple sitting innocent on the kitchen table.

Fella musta couldn't take it no more. He come into the kitchen. Point to the poor pineapple. He say, "Hear! If you did living in Africa and starving, what you woulda do with that?"

"Eat it," I say.

"Well alright," he say.

I laugh. I get the message. And the pineapple, when I taste it, was sugah-sweet too.

The other day I been going on about jumbie, how they scary.

He email. "Listen to why I nevvah scared o' jumbie. Dey have in UK here a large sum of money set aside by some organisation, for anyone, who can prove that jumbie or anyting like dat exist.

NOBADDY...NOOOBADDY even come close.

Dem people money safe, safe.

Dey even invite Uri Geller to come an ben spoons, even a li’l bit and he nah do it."

This fella is me big brodda. The other brodda ain't any better. Teasing people, playing pranks, putting things into perspective.

I does proper miss them. Them and they friends.

Today is the big one bir'day. If he was here, and all them boys, today this ol' house woulda full up with food and laughs and talk, all o' we celebrating.

Happy bir'day big bro.

[P.S. Lemme tell you though I coming to get that money when I prove that jumbie exist. I did see Ma, we gran'mother after she die, when me was five. Bet you ain't know that one!]


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Leaks and drip drip and zzzz

Been tryin’ to

...sleep.

Today, I close the curtains, snuggle down, shut me eyes and


trying

to

sleep.

Can’t get no sleep rain, rain, stompin on the rooftop, on, off, on, off, phone ringing, people visiting...trying to phone brother in England, can't get through...

Last night the stompin’ wake me up, get me outta me bed to see what o’ clock, and was just 3 o’ clock. Mosquito with a needle slip under the net, jooking me, jooking me skin. Was war in that bed, me standing up under that net, tracking down the enemy, but it sly, and it know all them folds in the net and it hide.

Lack o’ sleep make me crotchety...no scratchety, today I discover something else that Kamla the cleaning lady do slippy-sloppy...why, whyyy she got to be so...so...haphazard, forgetful...?

Today in me foggy sleepy head it strike me.

On Friday gone Kamla say, “Me roof leaking. Every place that them nails bore through the roof got a leak. Water fall on me bed, everywhere, I put pot an’ pan all over.”

“So where you sleep?”

“On the floor, me put the mattress on the floor, but it hard.”


She must want to sleep too. Got to be why she been extra-haphazard last week.

Lemme tell you, no saint she ain’t, on a good day she can be bazzodee, careless, sloppy, she repeat the same mistake.

We keep she on cause we sorry for she. Lack o' education is a sorry state for a human to exist in; that and poverty, and no husband in a community that think you is worthless if you ain’t got a man and people dis you; you saving money to build you own li’l house...so many people in this country in this situation...

But y’know, I got to be honest.


No matter how other people life hard

when you want to sleep

you want to sleep!

And right now

OH MOOMA FADDA ME WAANT SLEEP.

Friday, December 09, 2005

You're invited

The sky ain’t just crying.

It bawling.

Y’ever hear cow bawling? That is how this thing sounding.

Is the kinda day people should linger 'round they nice warm home and drink hot, hot tea...or as some people does say, ‘hat hat tea.’

But if you ain’t want to stay home, come and visit, nah?

We got all kinda tea.

We got kaffee-tea, or as other people say, coffee.

We got cocoa-tea, that is, cocoa.

We got Milo-tea and Ovaltine-tea.

We got lime-leaf tea, and fever-grass tea. Fever grass is what fancy people does call lemon grass.

And we got the loose-leaf tea that you bile in hat, hat water. We does call that green tea even though is black tea-leaf.

But if you just want a simple, ordinary cup o’ tea, we got tea-bag tea. The one in the tea-bag. That is what Neighbour cleaning lady say it name. Tea-bag tea.

Well, anyway, if you can’t make it to here, but you want romance, revenge, chills, thrills...

THE GREAT BLOG ADVENTURE IS HERE!

And when you done, join the gyaff in frawsay here.

Grab you cocoa-tea, cawfee-tea, tea-bag tea, red-wine tea and dig in.

Mission accomplished!

Aaah phew!

Two postcards from green land of Guyana now zwinngging they way to here!

Enjoy, li'l chi'ren, enjoy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Fly free

In a side street in town, further south o’ the post office, where the traffic does bung up and hollah, where them puddles does split and grow and join up, and split and grow some more, it got a pharmacy.

Outside the pharmacy, two or three feet away, vendors hawking wares...clothes, dishes, glasses, pots, spoons, tangerine, avocado, mangoes, bananas. Out there, people standing, talking; one lady sitting on a li’l bench, reading news to somebody else; nearby a canteen calling customers with food smells.

Inside the pharmacy dark like secret; you bump into elbows, handbags, oops sorry, is what you does hear every other minute. Is a typical modern pharmacy, got a shampoo-toothpaste-everything for beauty-section; a vitamins section; and a section to make you gain weight...chocolates, cookies, biscuits, honey-coated nuts and so on and so forth.

If you want real medication, you got to look good...go straight down to the back.

Yesterday after the post-office, I been to that pharmacy for iron tablets.

Suddenly I hear a sound, creamy and rich.

Eh? Where this sound coming from?

Creamy and rich and soothing.

So beautiful in the midst o’ the city.

Where? Where?

I look up.

On top o’ the tall, tall showcase.

In a cage.

A bird, russet and black, feathers shiny like dark satin, beak like ebony.

I think was a tawa-tawa bird.

Them tawa-tawa sing so sweet that men capture them and keep them in cage, and have bird-warbling competitions with them. In between them competitions, them men take they bird for walks in they cage. Take them for bicycle rides in they cage.

When I see that bird yesterday, in fact, every time I see a bird in a cage, I remember something me mother did tell me.

One o’ she sisters, when she was a li’l gyal, ketch a bird and lock it up in a cage.

Not many mornings after, on New Year’s Day, me nanee, me grandmother go downstairs before the sun ain’t even blush pink.

Nanee open the cage and release the bird.

When she daughter grumble why, nanee say, “Bird no belong in cage. Bird must fly free.”

Monday, December 05, 2005

One Bright Tooth

Maybe is the brooding heat, threatening to drop more deluge on we.

Maybe is town. Buildings bruk-uh down. Need paint.

Maybe is the people in town, not sparkly; they feelin’ dull ‘cause they can’t afford a shiny Christmas. Some o’ them draggin’ they shoes like they can barely walk.

Or maybe is just me.

I only seeing in shades o’ grey today. Even the air look grey.

Tomorrow, when I go to the post office, I gon look again for One Bright Tooth.

The first and last time I meet One Bright Tooth was in a long, morbid post office line some months back. Everybody grumbling, forty-two million people in this line and only one stamp seller there, why they don’t have more people working, give them a raise o’ pay, well if people would only pay they taxes, civil servants can get raise of pay, mumble grumble on and on.


A fella behind me say something to me back.

Me turn ‘round to ask he to repeat. Was a short, plump fella with dreadlocks.

He is not a real Rasta, I thinking, real Rastas don’t eat meat and other fatty, salty things, he too plump to be a real Rasta. "Pardon me?" I say to he.

He repeat it. I still ain’t hear.

I still ain’t hear ‘cause I did too busy staring at he One Bright Tooth. At first I thought was spinach, pum’kin and tomato stuck on the Tooth.

“Lemme see you teeth?” I ask he.

He grin and bare it.

I stare at One Bright Tooth. Was art work on it.


Red, green and yellow. I don't remember the art, I only remember the bright colours.

“Wow!” was all I could say.

Then I say, “How you do it?” Meaning, is paint on? Or is paste on?

The man say, “A man in Linden do it.”

“Nice, nice,” I say. The man smiiiile, happy with the compliment.

One Bright Tooth cheer me for days after.

I gon look for it tomorrow.

One Bright Tooth in a li’l, grey town.

Nominations

OhmeLawdohmeLawd.

Oh.

Me.

Lawd.

I get nominated in the
The Weblog Awards 2005 for the Best Latino, Caribbean or South American Blog.

And if I not wrong, I reach the finalist stage. With Back to living in Paradise
as competition too!

Mike got
all the juicy details HERE!

You gon see other bloggers that I have in me links...they get nominated too.

If you want...now you don’t HAVE TO...but if YOU WANT TO...you can hop over and
vote for me here.

You can vote every day, and voting end on December 15. The day before me bir’day. Gimme a li’l bir’day gift, no?

T’ank you.

P.S. I root around and find out was Mike who nominate me. T’ank you Mike.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Doing the Henry

If was not the rum that addling Henry brains, was them sticks. Henry tell me big brother that them sticks does talk to he.

Me brother say, “What sticks, Henry?”

Henry say, “Sticks, man, sticks. All them sticks.”

And Henry tell me big brother that the sea does tell he what to do. Me brother ain’t bother to ask Henry what the sea does tell he to do.

Henry William Ramjattan use to work for me father in the early ‘90’s. Me father had a li’l construction business. And he use to feel sorry for every Tom and Kooley that come asking for work.

Henry come with he bony chest push out high, wearing clothes that shoulda throw away. [If he did wash them, they woulda disintegrate, was the dirt holding them together.] Henry was a East Indian man with the body odour of wild peccary.

But he get a work doing them odd job on the construction site.

Me brother say, “Henry, move them bricks from here to over that place.”

This was at ten in the morning. At two, when me brother go to give Henry another task, he find Henry still moving them bricks.

Me brother say, “Henry, up to now you ain’t done?”

Henry say, “Me move them from here to there, and there to here, and here to there...”

In other words, Henry move them bricks from Point A to Point B. Then back to Point A, and back to Point B. Then to A and to B. That is what he do whole morning ‘til 2 p.m.

[As we get to know Henry and he family life, we find out that the only thing he use to do well was bully he family...and them boys in the rum-shop.]

This particular Henry incident come back to me with this city flood...come back to me when I realise that doing the Henry is how plenty people live they life, do they work.

Them city council people move words, move excuses from that year to this year. Last year December, they say how everything fine, pumps working, everything in order, if we get rain, water gon drain.

The place flood.

This December, they say how everything fine, pumps working, everything in order, if we get rain, water gon drain.

The place flood.

And they shift blame from one person to other people.

Well, January 2006 around the corner. Boy, I hope they ain’t do a really big Henry on we and move the January ‘05 flood to January ‘06.

Lawd man, why they don’t just shift theyself and get them drains flowing; fix them kokers to open up so the water can run into the sea; why they don’t move the garbage?

As for Henry, what happen to he?

He blind now.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Howwwl...thus spake the dawgs

Yip yip yap yap woof woof howwwwwwl…

This li’l flood upsetting some dawgs in the neighbourhood.

The Foreignam Princess dawgs across the road been carrying on like a bunch o’ wuss. Them Brazilian dawgs been having one nervous breakdown after another.

Now is not a nice time to own a dawg. If you ain’t got outdoor stairs, you got to wipe you dawgs dry, carry them up into you home, scoop poop. Is work man, lemme tell you.

Mind you, it had a time this house use to have dawgs.

We dawg of all dawgs was a meek ‘n’ mild mongrel name Brownie.

Every dawg in Guyana does name after they colour. Blackie, Brownie, Whitey, but we Brownie was a exception to the rule. He did brown yes, but that was pure coincidence. I did name he Brownie after brownies, gnomes and pixies in Enid Blyton stories.

One time, Brownie disappear for days. Me mother start to fret. She did think that we North Korean neighbours eat he.

[Yes, we had North Korean neighbours. They use to live in the same house what them Brazilians living in now].

My mother fret because me big brother tell she how he see one o’ them North Korean man point to Brownie and say, “Me eat that.”

Me mother plot ‘n’ scheme to find a way to ask them if they eat Brownie for true.

But some days after, we ketch Brownie frolicking not far from here with a gyal dawg.

When we call he to come home, he bring home the gyal dawg. She bring home mange. For a long time she was purple ‘cause we use to rub a purple lotion, gentian violet for the mange.

In the end, Brownie get fed up o’ she and ignore she. Somebody carry she to the country to live and Brownie return to he bachie life, putting up with them cats rubbing up on he. How that use to shame he when we ketch them doing that.

Brownie outlive all them dawgs we had.

We had two brother dawgs, Jethro [short for Jethro Tull], and Wolf [short for Steppen Wolf]. Them was quiet, sweet mongrel dawgs.

Then we had a young dawg name Ole King Cole. Colie, for short.

Colie wasn’t a merry ole soul. He was a mean, miserable, cross brindle. If you sweeping the yard and he sitting there and you tell he to move, he use to growl he nasty yellow teeth at you.

I now thinking that Colie did cross ‘cause he did feel emasculated. He couldn’t jump over a wall, or on to a wall, like any normal male dawg.

When we go on the seawall for walks, even meek ‘n’ mild Brownie use to leap up with we.

Not Colie.

He use to jump hiiiigh up, straight up in the air, four, five, six feet high. He did think that when he land, he gon land on the seawall. He body use to wave like a flag up in the air. Then he land on the grass.

Then he jump again, hiiigh in the air, wave like a flag, land on the grass.

People driving by used to skrrks they brakes, come to a full stop to gawk.

One morning Colie die. Them Russians dawg bite he on he neck and kill he. I cry the whole morning in high-school.

After that, we had a jet black dawg. Another exception to the name rule. He did name Crusoe. He did friendly, playful and ditzy.

Like I say, Brownie outlive all them dawgs. He bones now resting somewhere in we garden.

For a long time after that we ain’t had no more dawgs.

Then we get a puppy name Zarathustra. Me big brother did come home for holidays, visit some friends and bring home Zarathustra.

Zarathustra did smaller than he name, but he did think he big, and use to jump up on humans tall and all.

He try jumping on Auntie Aya at we gate. But she ain’t like dawgs jumping on she! She holler out for all them neighbours to hear, “Nephewww! Come and hold you dawg, Kamasutra...aw man, whatever he name.”

Zarathustra die, still a puppy. He eat a fat, warty toad and that poison he, poor li’l babba.

But for all the fun we had with dawgs, all I know is, if we had a dawg right now, I would hate the extra work.

The rain starting up again. The water in we yard inching up. Got to wait for them sandbags delivery. Got to think about moving the car to higher ground.

Howwwwwwwwl.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Thalk like we.

To talk like we, you got to drop you 'th'.

Three is tree.

The is de.

This is dis.

And that is dat.

But when you know a li'l bit o' English, and you want to impress, you speak with you thongue bethween you theeth in all the appropiathe places.

Today I call de sleepy Mayor and City Council office.

I speak with all me 'th' intact, and a smile in me voice. "Hellooo," I say. "Good morning. I live in an area that's a little flooded, not much right now, just above the ankle. Can you tell me please, if you're going to pump the water out?"

De woman who answer say...

Actually, no...de woman ain't say...she sing ouuuuut, "I donnn't knoooow."

Ah hang up de fone t'inking, "Aaah boy! Life in dis Turd World..."

For Sale

Rain ah-fall

Breeze ah-blow

Chicken batty out ah-do.

Every chile and they imaginary friend in Guyana know that song. Rain falling; breeze blowing; de chicken bahind hangin' outdoor.

Waaah waaaah the rain fall whole night. Not a big, loud, vulgar shouting and stamping. Just a steady waaaaaaah.

Like how it did waaah that night in January, the night before the big flood come and stay two weeks.
Holy camolie, was a weekend too.

On Wednesday night, the whistling doctor flood.

I peeping from window to window like a trapped jumbie, peeping fo’ see how far the water reach at different places in we yard.

Minutes to six. I tiptoe down them soaking wet backsteps fo’ check on the water level at we gate, inside we yard, if it reach we car, we front door...

Them Brazilians behind we flood. But I ain’t laughing this time at all! I remember what happen the last time I laugh them. This time, I go back upstairs meek 'n' quiet.

Aaah, them birdies chirping. That is a good sign, eh?

Now the rain trickling.

Hope we get low tide so them city council people can pump out the water. But I know “some” people don’t learn from experience.

Ohhh kakalamba, the rain waaaahing again.

Ow rain do, I begging you. Please stop long enough to let the water flow ‘way.

[Better make a list o’ things to do, just in case...]

Aiye, now I know what we can sell to them big countries...them big countries what need pure sky juice...and them big countries like Australia what always having drought...

Altogether now:

Rain ah-fall

Breeze ah-blow

Chicken batty out ah-do.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

World Aids Day

How strange, I coulda swear today is World Aids Day...

...but I ain't see a mention 'bout it in the newspaper we does normally buy.

Only one li'l ad I see from one, solitary religious organisation, the message chook up in the bottom corner o' page 9.

The whole day the A.M. radio station announcing World Aids Day, and this morning they had a play to educate young people, a play with a young woman and a young fella. He fool she up and seduce she in a car by the seawall, and she ain't remember nothing, so I don't know if he drug she or what...I ain't get to hear the rest 'cause I had to go on the road.

This evening, some folks having a rally.

Hmm, lemme be fair to we newspaper...maybe tomorrow is when they does talk about it, and maybe tomorrow they gon have information, and ads from private companies to increase awareness...to educate people.

HIV / AIDS is such a stigma in this li'l country...

Rainy season

Yesterday.

Rain lash up outside, whip up white froff.

Baddaboom Thundah.

Flick flash. Lightening.

Aaaaand...

pshiewwww...

Powercut!

Couldn't sew a stitch on the machine yesterday.

Whole night, whole night, the rain torment we. Every Tom and he cat fret 'bout flood again. People who never tremble, start to tremble.

Early o' clock, 6 o' clock, me and the entire nation run downstairs to see how far we yard flood. People who never pray, start to pray.

Now the rain easing up, slipping down in grey trickles. One or two birds chirping in the gloom.

To take me mind off flood, I take a li'l cyber walk in Scotland...Poland...

And now, heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to sew I go...

Extra, extra: Sun ah shine, sky ah-smile, I smiling too. Bollywood love songs going katang, katang on the radio, and I been on a li'l walk in the north Yorkshire moors...gone to sew again...