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Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

Death and Birth

While walking through some bushes, I heard a rustle behind me. I pulled out the pistol tucked into my waistband and looked around. It was quiet except for the sporadic gunfire in the distance. I realized that the rustling came from some thick bushes ahead. I walked in that direction, my fingers tightly wrapped around the pistol. Before I got to the bushes, a deadly scent filled the air. I wanted to stop walking because I knew deep down what I would find. Still I continued, my heart pounding hard, causing my vision to be blurry. My mother always said I was too bloody inquisitive. I parted the bushes, my eyes closed at first. Even though I saw what I expected, I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. There was a body lying on the ground, its green uniform, brown with dried blood. I stared at it as an army of nature’s scavengers helped themselves to the rotting flesh that was left. I stood there horrified, my heart racing, my body tingling. It was as if I was waiting for something to happen. I closed my eyes, I guess I was trying to see myself in that man’s place.

Bob Marley lyrics exploded in my head, “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery none but ourselves can free our minds”. I swallowed hard, trying to stop myself from throwing up. Then another quote ran through my mind. It was the Karl Marx statement “Everyone is a victim of the system.” I wanted to be that body, feel free, no political system to tell me what to do, no religion to watch my every move. At that moment, feeling nothing would have been like paradise. Another Bob Marley lyric came to mind “If you know what life is worth then you will look for yours on earth”. I was not about to die to attain the freedom I seek. I had to stand up and fight for the life that I wanted. That moment was like becoming born again, a born again human being.

I was jolted back to reality when a helicopter swooped in and hovered over the bushes. I pointed the pistol at it, my hand shaking, beads of sweat rolling down my forehead, settling in my eyes. I wiped the salty liquid off and kept looking up. I was afraid they might have seen me; I was prepared to defend myself. The mosquito-like machine glided towards the hills on the other side and opened fire. Leaves and dust flew into the air, soldiers shouted, and birds flew from the chaos. I took the opportunity to run in the opposite direction. AK-47 rifles barked angrily as pockets of the local army fought back. I ran until I reached the dusty highway and I stopped to catch my breath, my chest burning. I realized I was still holding the pistol and tucked it into my waistband. The shooting stopped, and the helicopter whizzed by, its rotors creating a whirlwind of dust. I went home and sat in a chair on the verandah, my heart still racing. I got up, took out the pistol and looked at it. I placed it, along with an AK-47 and a couple of other guns, in a can that used to hold Lard, filled it with grease, dug a hole, and buried it next to a Paw Paw tree. That was the last time I held a gun, forever elevating the false sense of safety I once felt.  

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Storyteller

Sounds Of War

Thirty one years ago on this date, six am in the morning,I was woken up by a low hum. I shrugged it off and started to does off, but then I heard loud explosion. I sat up in bed, it quiet for a second, then a sudden barrage of anti aircraft gun fire. I jumped up and ran to my front door, a huge plane was flying over, soldiers floated down, their parachutes fluttering in the tropical wind.  Confusion set in, even though we expected it, finding ones self in the middle of life and death will wake anybody up. That was the day the world turned gray for me.  The tropical flowers were grey, the blue skies were gray, the ocean that I love so much turned gray. Nothing makes a person feel more helpless than life spiraling into total confusion, not because of your actions, but by the actions of politricksters who think they know how people should live.I still have dreams about that day, I guess they will never go away.

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Storyteller

Its Time to move on

Here I was, deep in sleep Sunday morning at around 3:30 am when I was woken up by a volley of gun shots. I lay there, did not move. I did not hear any screaming, or running, nor did I hear any police sirens so I went back to sleep. Monday I was scrolling through face book when I came across a news story. It seems that two young men got into an argument outside the pizza restaurant across the street from me and one pulled out a gun and opened fire. One was shot several times and even though he was bleeding tried to leave before the police got there. When questioned he refused to give the police any information about who shot him. Its seems like where I live shooting have become a regular thing. In West Virginia drugs have become a serious problem. Outsiders, primarily from Detroit, comes in to sell their drugs, they even call the little town I live in, Huntington,  Moneyton, So this last incident have made my mind up, I need beach, sunshine and cool runnings, Time to move on. I will soon visit the island for a little but and then hopefully move Clear Water Florida. Closer to the island for me and sand, sea and beaches year round. So the push in on, find a place to write in peace.

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Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

From the book I am a Dirty Immigrant

From the book I am a Dirty Immigrant

Invasion

The explosions grew louder and more frequent; that was the angriest sound I had ever heard. Villagers ran up and down the street, their lives even more uncertain than when the communists attacked. Members of the People’s Revolutionary Army used anti-aircraft guns to defend the airport. A couple of the paratroopers disintegrated in midair, their bodies exploding like fireworks, but there were no bright colours. I left the window with my heart beating so hard I thought it would explode. I ran back into the house and turned on the radio. The announcers frantically shouted for the islanders to pick up arms and defend their country. I was confused, wondering if I should go to the front lines, or just let the warmongers murder each other. After all, this was my island, my forefathers had fought to free the slaves on this very ground. Why should I let these outsiders occupy my homeland? After five minutes of the announcer’s erratic talking, a Bob Marley song, “Ambush in the Night” was played. To this day that same song plays in my dreams over and over again. The young announcer’s voice shook as he began talking again, sometimes struggling to get the words out. Suddenly, his voice was replaced by the annoying sound of static; then the radio went silent. I sat there for a moment not knowing what to do. Then I heard a loud explosion and our brick and mortar houses shook. I jumped like someone had poked me with a nail, and ran to the front yard. A puff of smoke bellowed into the air beyond the lush green hill, top to the left of my house. It was then that I realized that the explosion had come from the direction of the radio station.

Then as if with a predetermined purpose, I got up and walked into the house, went to my bedroom, and retrieved my Red Bear-made pistol. Now you may wonder where I got the weapon. Well the government wanted a militia, and they got one – lots of islanders with guns. I checked the chamber to make sure there was a full clip, then reached into my dresser and got a few extra rounds. I walked down the street, my eyes scanning the rows of houses, anticipating any attackers. Trucks loaded with people’s revolutionary soldiers raced by, creating a gray cloud of dust that covered the village. Young men and women clenched their AK-47 rifles, some screaming at me to join them in the defense of the island. I shook my head; poor bloody souls were off to fight a war they could not win. I ran my finger along the smooth metal edge of the pistol. You can’t imagine the false sense of safety I felt with that bloody thing stuck in my waistband. I did not know what I was going to do, but I was becoming angry. First we had to endure the rule of the Union Jack. Then the Red Bears came with their inadequate ideology, brainwashed the population into believing they had a chance to determine their own destiny. Here I was, locked in this battle, confused, frustrated and scared. It did not help knowing that lives were being lost all because we were just a pawn in the destructive cold war. Now the invaders were here claiming to save us from certain destruction. I remember thinking was this not destruction I was witnessing at their hands.

Angry Guns

I snapped out of my thoughts when there was another explosion. Jeeps raced down the street from the airport, carrying the wounded. Their screams caused my skin to tingle and burn, like someone injected hate under it. I forced my mind to shut out their agony, but the sound was unbearable; those screams still linger in my dreams today. The antiaircraft guns were firing constantly now, causing the air to taste like sulfur. Deafening explosions shook the brick houses, and the screams of frightened children echoed through the village. A debilitating exchange of M-16s and AK-47s erupted just down the street as the paratroopers hit the ground. An earsplitting explosion rocked the village as a building disintegrated. Villagers scattered in every direction, screaming. I instinctively pulled out the pistol and ducked into the yard of the house closest to me. I was shaking so hard I was barely able to keep my grip on the weapon. More trucks screamed by, stopping to pick up some volunteers on the highway. I wanted to get up and join them, but I decided that it was not my fight. Instead, I stood up, the pistol hanging loosely in my hand, my heartbeat echoing in my head. I stood there listening to the sounds of war around me. I have to confess, there was a rush of adrenaline running through my veins. Strangely the explosions were dull hums, like a fishing boat engine in the middle of the night when you are half asleep. For the first time in my life I did not feel human. There was a monster growing in me. I wanted to kill someone, make them pay for the fear I felt. A jeep sped by, fleeing the battle. There was a young man in the front seat with a bloody stump where his arm used to be. I almost threw up, but swallowed hard, then turned and walked back to my house.

Aftershock

I sat at the kitchen table and listened to the war raging at the airport. That whole day, I stayed in the house. I would grab hold of the pistol every time I heard footsteps on the road. That night, the electricity was out, so I sat at the window and watched the orange flares light up the sky. Revolutionary soldiers ran through the village, retreating from the battle, their voices fading into the dark, replaced by barking dogs, angry they were woken up by the commotion. I stayed in the village for a week, sometimes going down the street to see what was going on. There were periodic lulls in the fighting, and lots of villagers stood at the top of the hill overlooking the airport. It was like standing in the middle of a bloody movie set. The invading soldiers had advanced from the airport. I remembered thinking that that was the first time I had heard inner city blacks from “The City of Golden Streets” talk, well except for the movies. I remember scavenging for food in my garden, making it a game to go outside when the shooting was intense. I had some common yard fowls and I had to break down and kill one. Later that day, I took the rest of the fowl and let them go into the bushes behind the house. I watched them scatter in all directions, their wings flapping, their feet kicking up dust as they ran for their freedom. They were more like pets to me and I did not have the heart to kill them. I wanted to be them, just for a moment, feel the freedom they felt.

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Stories Storyteller

The Gray World (1983)

The Gray World (1983)

As the war raged, I tried my best to cope, but nothing worked. One day my oldest brother walked into the room and placed eight cigarettes as big as Cuban cigars on the kitchen table. I looked at them, a little skeptical, but he swore that they would calm my nerves. I took my first draw on one before I realized it was the most potent joint I’d ever had. Needless to say, I must have smoked a pound of marijuana a day until all the fighting was done. We would get high, then go out into the front yard and watch as helicopters hovered over the city. They sometimes shot at targets, and I wondered how many were killed. One afternoon, when all was quiet, we stood outside watching the Navy ships come in closer. Suddenly a volley of gunshots rang out. I was standing next to the door, high as can be. Before I could react, I felt someone grab my shirt and pull me. It was my brother’s wife. That bloody woman was strong for her size. The look on her face was classic: she did not care how big I was, she was determined to move my big ass out of her way even if she had to huff and puff. I landed on my back looking up at my size seventeen feet. I remember thinking how big and ugly my feet looked against the tropical blue sky. Yes, that was my ganja voice talking to me. Before I could gather myself, she had disappeared into the house; I was the butt of jokes for a while.

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Storyteller

Revolotion )March 13th 1979)

Today marks the anniversary of the Grenadian revolution. On that day I woke up to my mother bursting in screaming “The communist are taking over.” It was the first time I saw real fear in my mother’s eyes. I jumped up and followed her to the living room. The transistor radio was on. The Announcer was screaming instructions at the revolutionaries, letting them know where pockets of resistants’ were. It was strangely quiet, I heard no cars, no voices of children going to school but most of all there was a revolution but no sounds of gunshots, no sound of a war raging. The world seem different, like something, not scary, I did not believe the the islanders would harm anyone, we are not by nature violent, but somehow the would seemed to get just a little grey for me.

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Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

Conquered (1983) from I am a Dirty Immigrant

One day when we were out of weed, we decided to go out and get some. There had not been any shooting for a while, so we figured it was safe. On the way, we encountered a group of Marines standing next to a white Nissan truck. In the bed of the truck, we saw about four bodies stuffed into what looked like black garbage bags. Being the inquisitive idiot that I am, I asked one of the soldiers if they were dead. One of the Marines, the one clearly in charge, shouted for me to move on. That was when one of the bags moved and a young man shouted that he was alive. My whole body went cold; no one deserved to be treated that way. That was the first time in my life I felt totally defeated. I guess we were now a conquered people.  When we got back to the house I smoked so much ganja I was totally unaware of my surroundings. The only thing I remembered was using a knife to peel an orange and my sister-in-law herding the kids out of the kitchen, away from me. My brothers were laughing so hard tears rolled down their faces

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Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

A Nightmare

The night before we left for The Wild and Wonderful City, I had one of the most vivid nightmares I’d had since coming to this country. All the stress from moving to another strange place did not help. I was homesick and wanted to be around people from my island simply because I knew only they would understand the images in my head. I was restless that night but somehow fell asleep.

I walked into the concrete building. My legs were shaking so hard I stumbled and almost fell. Smoke filled the room, causing my eyes to sting. Gunshots and explosions rocked the structure as the battle raged outside. Tears rolled down my face and I wiped my eyes with my fingers, but that made them burn even more. I walked further into the room, my chest burning, my skin tingling. I thought I saw someone move and I almost fainted with fear. Suddenly, it was quiet, and I heard myself breathing, the sound echoing in my head. I thought I saw someone move again, so I stopped and looked around. I took a step, my boots sliding on the floor. I thought I had stepped on a rock so I bent over and picked it up. I almost passed out when I realized I had picked up a severed finger and immediately froze as a cold breeze whipped through the room, clearing the smoke. I looked around the room, my vision still blurred. Body parts covered the walls of the room; fingers, toes and raw flesh dripped off of the ceilings. There was a body laying against the wall in a corner, the young man holding his stomach. Its contents spilled out, some of it lying on his lap. In the mush of flesh lying on the ground, I saw boot prints made by retreating soldiers. The walls were crying, blood draining onto the floor.

The stench of blood and rotting flesh burned my nostrils as hundreds of flies buzzed around, the sound resonating in my mind. Rats scurried around my feet. Some stopped to bite at my boots, so I took a step, trying to get away from them, but only managed to slip and fall. The rats scattered in every direction, snarling as if infected by rabies. I lay there for a second, blood and pieces of mashed flesh soaked into my shirt. I pushed myself up with my hands, worms crawling up my arms. My hands slipped and I landed face first into the mess. The rats were not affected by the commotion I made; they were too busy feasting on the body parts.

I got to my feet just as a group of soldiers charged into the room shooting, so I dove to the floor trying to avoid being shot. A soldier fell next to me, a gaping hole where his nose used to be. Blood squirted out of the wound, landing on my face. It was warm and tasted salty. I sprung to my feet and began running. I did not care where I was going; I just wanted to escape. I saw a wall in front of me and tried to stop, but the floor was too slick. Just before impact, a dark hole appeared and I fell through. There was no light at the bottom; it was so peaceful.

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POEMS Storyteller

What is it Good for

You are hidden in the thick bushes
something moved just ahead of you

you clinched your riffle
there he is, your so called enemy
you jumped out of the bushes
your riffle trained on him
he sees you and raises his pistol
you pull the trigger
for a second there is death in his eyes
but that soon turn to a blaze of anger
he raises his gun
you react

bang

bang

bang

he hits the ground like a rock
you stand over him
he is motionless
you look down at him
you don’t see ideology
communism
capitalism
who gives a fuck
you just buried a soul
now the devil lives in you
one shalt not kill
war is no excuse
there is no excuse
there is no excuse
forgive me
forgive me
forgive me

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Stories Storyteller

My Yardfowls

My Yardfowls

I saw this picture this morning and it reminded me of the yard fowls I had. It was October 1983, gun fire echoed through the village, fighter jet roared over head causing the galvanize roof to vibrate violently. My stomach rumbled, sharpe hunger pains meandered through my belly. For two weeks all I had to eat was hard boiled eggs and fruit. Shops were closed, or looted, harvesting season for corn and peas had come and gone. I looked over at my chicken coup. The twenty or so chickens clucked and flapped their wings as an explosion shook the trees on the hill behind the house. I opened the door and walked over to the coup, the fowls were quiet now, as if anticipating something. I opened one of the doors and grabbed one of the birds. It fought back, its wings flapping wildly. I walked over to the bucket that lay on the concrete stand next to the door. The cutlass sat next to the stand, its sharpen edges glittered in the tropical sunlight. I removed the bucket and lay the fowl on the concrete stand. I covered its body with the bucket leaving its head out. I reached for the cutlass but hesitated, looked at the bucket, the bird did not move, there was complete silence as if it was giving into it’s fate. How can I do this, these birds were more my pets then a food source. The sound of gunfire brought me back to reality, my stomach grumbled with a combination of fear and hunger. I lifted the cutlass, swung it. I sat and looked at the place of cooked chicken, I did not eat until my stomach compelled me to. That night I lay in the dark agonizing about what I had done. Then like a jumbie, I got up and walked to the back door, the night was orange with the glow from flares, sporadic gunfire persisted beyond the hills. I walked over top the chicken coup, opened the door and shewed the fowls the fowls out. The flapped their wings, landed on the ground, then with a confusion of clucks disappeared into the fading light of the flares.