Man-made fireflies on the hillside, I can see their flashes, I can hear the bark.
They say seek and you will find
So you go seeking
And you find something
But still you do not understand what you have found
You can ask yourself, what is it?
Based on what you thought you were looking for
But all the things you thought you were looking for
Really does not mean anything in that space and time’
And then you realize that what you were searching for
Was simple existence
Because simple existence is peaceful
When you wash away all the man made expectations
I never saw crack-heads on the island. Mainly drunks, some people love their fire water, but if you ask me, they are just as stupid and equally as dangerous. I was on the beach chilling, watching some kids play football – soccer to some of you. I saw a drunk in ragged old shorts and no shirt. That man was the skinniest person I ever seen. He looked like the rum was drying him up. He was using a cutlass to open a green coconut, but he was swinging it recklessly, becoming a danger to those closest to him. One of his friends tried to take the cutlass away from him and he became belligerent. More of his friends tried to reason with him, but he began swinging the weapon wildly.
“Call Babylon!” someone shouted, and the melee escalated. The drunk was not swinging at anybody who came close to him. He was screaming something about the devil and evil angels.
The police arrived but even they could not control the raging drunk. They shuffled around as if doing some kind of voodoo dance, then the drunk broke free and ran for the ocean. He splashed into the emerald-colored water, still holding the cutlass. He swam or waded until he could not stand, and then he started sinking. The police had no choice but to go after him. They reached him, grabbed the cutlasss and dragged him back to shore. When they got to the shore and laid him on the sand, laughter erupted when the people on the beach realized that he had lost his pants in the struggle. His little Dexter was exposed for all to see. That made the drunk furious. He started to fight again. He broke free and began running down the beach with the policemen in hot pursuit, followed by the crowd, laughing and shouting. They finally caught up with him when one of the policemen dropped him with a perfect football slide. But now that they had him down, they hesitated, not wanting to touch his naked body. They finally had to when he tried to get back up. You have never heard such cursing and screaming in your life as they carried him off the beach and to the police station.
Where there is space, time is ticking away
Slow like cotton in a gently gust
Sometimes stagnant like a puddle in a pothole
Sometimes winding, a surprise around each space
Space makes room for no man
And no man can truly control space
The greatest time of mankind’s existence is not in the past, nor is it in the future, it is now because we are alive. Now
Neighbourooooo Ah see yuh liccle man at de bus stop yuh know, he chatting up all ah dem guil and dem you know. I tell you girl, dat boi go bring back a baby one ah dese days yuh know. He better leave dem pickiney and dem alone. All dey want to do is trap a nice young man like he yuh know. Yuh remember Miss Jones son, nice young man, well one ah dem fas guil dem trick he, next ting yuh knew she belly swelling and now dey have a baby, all he future mash up mash up. I telling you, keep you liccle man away from dem bus stop busy bodies. Mark me words, gurl, mark me words.
As the day fades natural light and man made light come together, family for just a couple of hours. And in those hours a battle of sibling rivalry plays out across the sky. Angry reds, furious oranges, with a little gray to keep the peace. But sooner or later man made light wins, and it lights up the village in spots, man made stars from a bird’s point of view.
Somewhere, the ocean looks like the stars had fallen from the sky
And you feel the urge to wade in it
Swim through the sparkling ocean
Walk out glittering in the moonlight
Feeling like the man who lit up the world
And lead lost souls to their final destination
I stood in the middle of an intersection. The street I came from was behind me. The brilliant red glow from down there was slightly visible from where I stood. I had walked up to the gates and asked the man standing there for a glass of water. He looked at me with orange colored eyes scrutinizing me like I was a plate of food, then he laughed and said,
“Boy, what are you doing here, there is no place for souls like yours down here.” I looked at the man, surprised that he turned me away. I turned and walked to the place where I now stood. I was confused, wondering what my next move would be. Making my mind up I turned down the right street. Over there the streets were lined with palm trees and flowers. At the end of the street was a mansion filled with people all dressed in their evening attire. Women in white frilly frocks, men in their black expensive suits. I told them I was thirsty, and a perfectly chiseled young man handed me a glass of wine. I sipped it, the sweet smooth liquid slid down my throat like syrup on ice. Still I was thirsty and I tried to exchange it for a glass of water, but no one paid attention, so I left those people to their vanity and went back to the intersection. Once again I stood in the middle of nowhere, my mind racing, looking for alternatives. I screamed in with frustration and then decided to walk down the street on the left side. This street was lined with broken down houses. People walked back and forth, their faces contorted with confusion. I tried my best to be noticed, but they were so busy fighting to survive they had no time to acknowledge the stranger that had entered their lives. When I first saw them, I thought for sure I had found my home as I stood among the mass of dilapidated houses, but they were too busy trying to find peace themselves. Rejected, I turned and walked back to the intersection. One street to go, one more chance to belong. I walked up that street, it was straight and narrow. Up there I saw a big black gate that sparkled despite the grey light. A black man stepped off a rain cloud. He was wearing a black robe and his beard was black and shinny. In his hand he waved a black bible. As he approached me, he smiled, his white teeth a great contrast to everything else about him. He embraced me,
“Welcome my brother,” he said and he threw his arms around me like I was a long lost relative. I felt nothing, my heart was not unburdened, my mind still unsure. He unwrapped himself from me still smiling. I looked at the stranger before me and backed away. There was a hint of puzzlement in his eyes. I shook my head. “This is not my home.” I said and I turned and walked back to the intersection. I sat down in the middle of the street my head heavy with all the images. It must have been rush hour for souls because they rushed by me, blank faces in a timeless existence. I watched them, busy looking for a place to belong. Ever so often someone would be forced out of the street on the right side, screaming as they were banished into the street on the left side. I sat there confused, unseen. No one was different we all were lost looking for a place to be.
There was no question at all that the front house belonged to Alison’s grandmother because bright colours distinguished it from the other two. The front door was painted in yellow and the frame in bright blue, the bright green roof shimmered in spots when the descending sun seeped through the trees round the house. I got off the bike and walked up the pebble-stoned walkway to a small wooden gate, I mean, what kind of strange people were they? No fence round the house just this bloody wooden gate. I shook me head and pushed open the gate and walked up three concrete steps, stumbled and almost fell into the door, damn steps was too small for me size seventeen shoes. I looked up at the door, there was a red cross painted on the middle of it and I leaned forward trying to get a better look at it, I remembered me grandmother telling me that some obeah priests used goat blood to paint crosses on they doors something to do with Passover I believe. Hesitantly I ran me fingers along the smooth surface when suddenly the door opened and I found meself looking up into the eyes of an old lady, she was wearing a gray dress the coarse material brushing against me face as a gently breeze escaped from inside the house.
“Wey you want?” she barked. I straightened up but still did not say anything I was vexed with meself, I mean, it was just a bloody old lady.
“You ah dummyboy?” she demanded a large mole on she bottom lip moved up and down when she spoke.
“I am Alison’s teacher,” I said, me voice a whisper. “She said I should come here to get help.” She eyes never left me face and for a moment she did not seem to know what the hell I was talking bout. I started to speak again but she raised she arm stopping me.
“Don jus stand dere, come in,” I got to me feet and followed she inside me heart pounding and me mouth suddenly dry. Before I could compose meself she disappeared into another room and I was left standing alone.
I sat down in the chair nearest to me wondering where the hell that damn woman went. There was incense lit in every corner of the room, teardrops oozed out the side of me eyes and rolled down me cheeks and I shut me eyes then open them trying me best to clean them. The chair poked into me skin and I looked down it was made out of Bamboo, now who in they right mind would have old bamboo furniture, I mean, the damn thing felt like I was sitting on needles or something. I cursed a little and slowly I shifted me position trying to make meself comfortable.
I looked round the room but I could not tell what colour it was because the smoke settled on the walls creating a black, gray cloud. There were dolls everywhere and the shadows on their faces made them look almost life like as if at any moment one of them would stand up and start a frigging conversation with me. Right then I wanted to get up and run but I told meself that everything was cool runnings so I settled back down. The curtains on the lone window shifted as the early evening breeze pushed it; I mean good lord, what have I gotten meself into? Alison materialized out of the smoke startling me, man, I need to stop talking to meself so much. She body made a pathway through the thick smog as she stopped in front of me smoke whirled round she then dissipated in the breeze.
“You all right Mr. Dickens?” She asked bending over and looking into me eyes.
“Yes, I am fine,” I replied, brushing away a teardrop that rolled down me cheek.
“Come on den, Ah go show you to you room.” I got up and followed her to a door that seemed to appear at the side of the room me water logged shoes squeaking as we went. I stepped through the door into a Victorian looking bedroom, I tell you what, the difference between this room and the one I just came from was like night and day. There was a huge window that took up one side of the room, a cream coloured laced curtain hung from it barely touching the floor, a mahogany dresser stood at the foot of the bed and on top of it were pictures of Alison, so I walked over to the dresser and looked at the black and white photographs. There was two of her as a baby and one of her when she was still a pupil at the small Primary school just a short distance up the road. There was a jewelry box over flowing with bracelets and necklaces, Jesus, did she think she had enough jewelry or what? I turned round in a tight circle surveying the room, surprisingly there was no smoke in there not even the sent of the incense violated the room.
“Dere is you change of clothes,” Man, I jumped so high me head almost touch the ceiling, I mean I had completely forgotten Alison was still in the room. She was pointing to a suit of clothes that lay in the middle of the bed so I walked over and picked up the garments
“Ah go come back to get you later on for de ceremony,” she said. I was still feeling the clothes not paying any attention to she at all so I was surprised when I turned round and realized the girl had already left the room.
I sat down on the bed me head started to hurt a little. I looked at the light blue paint on the walls it made the room seem brighter in the fading afternoon light.
There was a grandfather clock sitting in the far corner of the room and I watched the hands go round, I mean, I was looking at the bloody thing so long it’s ticking and me heart were beating the same frigging rhythm.
I heard a commotion in the backyard so I got up and walked over to the window, there were two roosters fighting while the other chickens scrambled round trying to get out of the way, dirt and feathers flew into the air as the two roosters tried to get the upper hand on each other. After bout three minutes of wings flying and intense clucking one of the roosters gave up and ran away its wings flapping vigorously, I chuckled to myself, run brother run before he kills you.
I opened the window and leaned out its wooden frame pressed against me elbow making them hurt a little, the late afternoon sun gave me enough light to see what the yard looked like, Aloe trees were planted along the sides of the house, it was common for Islanders to plant these trees because it was believed that they had the power to keep out evil spirits. Some people even eat the bitter plant believing that it would cleanse them, Idiots, that plant was so bitter it could make you hair stand straight on your head. The chickens had stopped milling round in the dirt and were beginning to settle down for the night, a bat flew by a mere shadow in the florescent light.
I went back into the room and sat down on the bed thinking hard bout why I was there and what good it would do for me. An owl hooted outside and I got up and began looking round for a light switch but stopped when I heard the door creek. Puffs of smoke seeped through then disappeared as it was sucked back into the other room. I waited, a dull pain in me chest as me heart rate sped up like crazy. It was just a few moments, but I tell you man, it seemed like a hundred years before an old man walked into the room surrounded by a cloud of smoke. He did not even look at me as he walked over to a chair beside the door and sat down, he wrinkled hands clasped round a homemade cane that supported the weight from he hunched over body, thick veins ran up and down he arms disappearing under the sleeves of his shirt. He dropped the cane onto the flow,