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Storyteller

Turned Around

I am flying with fins

Sleeping while crossing the street

Walking with my fingers

Hearing melodies through my eyes

Seeking shelter from the rain with my hair

Uttering sentences backwards to a priest

Sprinting on my knees

This is what the world looks like

When we fight for peace

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Storyteller

From “My Father’s Shadow”

Sunday morning Andre got up, got ready and went to church with his mother. They arrived at the church and as soon they walked through the doors his mother turned to him,

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Storyteller

From “My Father’s Shadow”

Andre woke up to voices in the living room. He got up and opened the door. His mother was talking to a man,
“Fada, I don know wah I go do wid him, is like de child possessed or sumting,” she said in between sobs.
“I thought bringing him here woulda change he, but he is still bad, fada, I don know what to do I tek him to church, I give him good licks, I sent him to stay wid he aunt, but notten works. Sumtimes he acting jus like he fada you know”
“Sister Monica, God works in mysterious ways, I am sure your son will be fine,” the man said, Andre creped down the hall and peeped into the living room. A priest sat on the couch, his silver hair combed like a bridge over his bald spot. His mother paced in front of him a mere shadow in the light from the window.
“Bring him to confession on Sunday, there is nothing pray can’t fix.” He said. Andre turned and walked back to his room and flopped onto his bed. He heard the front door close and he got up and went to the window and opened the curtain. The priest walked across Rochester Avenue and got into a small car and drove off. Andre went back to the bed and sat down.
“Ohhh Ohhh, you in real trouble now.” The shadow said, “Is you fraid?”  Andre sat up,
“I not fraid of notten,” He shot back,
“Ohhh, liccle man ha some balls all of a sudden eh? The shadow said snickering.
“Don laugh at me you know, cause I go…”
“You go do what eh?” the shadow said. “Is me who teaching you to be a man and don forget it,” The shadow said. Andre’s mother opened the door.
“Who is you talking to bouy, who in dey wid you?” His mother asked walking into his room, her long straight black hair swayed as she moved.
“Nobody,” he replied,
“Bouy, why you always talking to youself eh?’
“I don know,”
“I is real disappointed in you you know, why you always misbehaving for eh?” she asked. Andre hung his head,
“I don know,”
“Every ting is I don know I don know. Bouy you is getting to be a big man you know, time you start acting like one,” She said reaching out to rub his head. Andre smiled,
“I know mamie, I promise I go try me best,”
“Sunday we go go to church and you going to confession, the fada say he go talk to you,” she said,
“O K mamie,” Andre said,
“Now come help me make super, I getting real hungry,” Andre got up and followed his mother to the kitchen.
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Cool Runnings Storyteller

42th Installment of La Diablesse

I started walking round the cave water gushed out of the holes on the walls creating that trickling sound I heard all night. I went by the entrance and for a spilt second I thought of going through it but I sense that there was someone there so I kept walking. On me second pass by the entrance the presence was even stronger so I slowed down and peered into the darkness and just as I was bout to walk away someone grabbed me arm and pushed me to the ground. I tried to get up but Christine emerged from the darkness and sat on me she eyes ablaze with anger as she face materialized into the light. . “Soon you will be mine,” She, said, grinding sheself down on me she fingers wrapped round me neck squeezing. I struggled to breathe but that did not concern of she, she lifted she head she eyes rolling back as she grinded harder she breathed escaping in short bursts of excitement, then she leaned she face closer to mine,

“Ooohhhh yes, soon real soon I will have my way with you, just like all the men I knew two hundred years ago did with me, you may think I hate you but I don’t, I just want them to suffer like I did.” She reached down and pressed she lips against mine only it was not a kiss because she was biting and growling like an angered dog. Then with unrealistic speed she got up pulling me up by the neck and with the strength of two men she threw me across the cave. I landed on me back me head bouncing of the sandy ground but I immediately scrambled to me feet and retreated to the Alter. I looked back in she direction to see if she had followed me but she had melted into the darkness. I sat on the alter trying to compose meself but I was too anxious to sit still so I got up and began walking round the alter feeling like a trapped animal.

A few more days went by and I would lie on the alter looking up at the sky, the sun come up and then later watched the yellow gold slowly disappear wondering what day of the week it was. One late afternoon, when the sun was brightest and the seagulls flew round the opening of the cave and white clouds formed human like shapes in the sky, a La Diablesse walked into the cave she held a silver cup in she hands like a priest holding a cup of wine.

“Drink this,” she commanded pushing the cup at me, I was reluctant and she looked at me with insistent eyes, I slowly took the cup and drank a mouthful of the brown liquid it was real bitter, I mean I almost threw up. I started to put the cup down on the alter,

“All of it” she shouted and I immediately picked up the cup and drank until the silver bottom glittered in the sunlight. Without saying another word she grabbed it from me and walked out of the cave. I sat down on the Alter bewildered me head throbbed contorting me vision like crazy. I lay down and closed me eyes fear over came me as I realized the ceremonies were about to start. The pounding in me head faded away like an echo in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica and I must have passed out because when I woke up the torches were lit and there was bout ten La Diablesse’ standing over me. I blinked trying to clear out me misty vision the yellow lights from the torches bounced off they skin creating devilish like shadows on they faces. They stood in a circle round the Alter each holding a torch, I curled me body up in a futile attempt to protect meself, the leader leaned over me whispering in me ear.

“It is useless to fight us.” She words were like one long hum that caused me skin to tingle like crazy. I slowly stretched meself out leaving me body exposed to them, they stood there looking at me like baby birds about to take their first flying lesson, man they were so beautiful I almost forgot where the hell I was. They faces lit up with anticipation and fear and yet there was something spiritual in the way they stood like parishioners in an ancient temple bout to take they very first communion, the leader spoke breaking the silence.

“Ladies, you are about to embark on one of the many freedoms Erzulie Frieda have given us. We must offer ourselves up to the omnipotent goddess this is your first step to everlasting freedom.’ She raised she hands above she head and chanted in some unknown language she body beginning to shake she eyes rolling back in she head. I lay there wishing they would get started I mean the sooner they were done the sooner I could go about planning me damn escape. She was dancing wildly now she body moving seductively; she hips twirling in a hypnotic circle. Despite meself I was becoming aroused me heart was pounding and that warm feeling right before sex engulfed me whole damn body. I looked away from she and closed me eyes a flash of memories went through me mind, Jane’s smile, Alison’s suspicious expression and Legba John insisting that I believe.

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Stories Storyteller

Sunday Morning Mass

Sunday Morning Mass

Through de small city, you can hear de church bells ringing, Dong, dong, dong. Its Sunday morning, time to put on me Sunday best, yes mon, see me wid me shiny shoes, de crease in me pants pressed wid an edge so sharp it would cut de priest if he hug me too hard. Me shirt so white it could make you go blind when it reflected off the sun. This was no ordinary shirt, nooo, it was long sleeves with ruffles at the end of the sleeves, and ruffles down the front of it making it hard to button up. Yes mon, I look like Sir Walter Raleigh with an afro. So here I was, walking de streets of St Georges, holding Mommy Charles hand, de morning sun beating down on me.
We got to de church, little old ladies wid white robes on, covered all over except for dey wrinkled faces, Nuns always made me uneasy. Other families dressed to de T, laughter, smiling, talking. We entered de church, dipped we hands in holy water, did de sign of de cross, never understood why. De church was packed, even De Prime Minister was in attendance. We made we way down to the frount of the church, Mommy Charles always like to be front and center on Mass day. De Nunman walked out, well dat is what I called de priest and dem, followed by some Acolytes (Alter Boys). We used to call dem Acolblites. He got to de pulpit, mumbled something in a language I could not understand, when he was done, everybody said Amen, even though I knew dey did not understand a thing he said. De Nunman mumbled for a few minutes more, making we, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down. Den for what seemed like hours, he talked and talked and talked. Sometimes he broke out into a sing song voice that sounded more like a scary movie. He stopped for a while as people walked up to de alter, kneeled before him, opened dey mouth and he placed a white piece of something on dey tongue. When all was feed, he went back to his sing song voice. It echoed through de church sometimes interrupted by a cough, or a baby crying. Den suddenly it was over, well suddenly because I had fallen asleep. We got up and everybody filed out of the church to de sounds of the church bells, dong, dong, dong. De sun hit me and I woke up completely. I jumped down de church stairs. You have never seen such a happy eight year old. I was free, no more Nunmen, no more frightening old ladies with robes on. Now I can go play some cricket, or go to the beach. After all its Sunday, funday. I danced and skipped all the way home. A child emancipated.

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Storyteller

From a new project Father’s Shadow

Andre’s mother did not say one word the whole subway ride home. He sat looking down, too afraid to see the disappointment in her eyes. They got to the house and still she said nothing. He went into his room and sat down staring at the walls,

“Boi, yuh mudder mad for so,” the shadow said. Andre did not respond. The shadow giggled.

“Cheer up me liccle brodda, what yuh want me to sing yuh ah lullaby, put yuh chin up,” Andre got up and walked over to his boom box and put on a Bob Marley song,

“Boi, you better turn off dat Tampi smoking music before she come in here, yuh know.” The shadow said, Andre turned the music up and went back to the bed. His bedroom door creaked and his mother peeped in. For a second they stared at each other, then Andre slowly got up and walked over to the boom box and turned it off.  His mother looked at him for a few more seconds then closed the door,

“I did tell yuh,” the shadow said laughing.

“Shut up yuh evil Jab Jab,” Andre said,

“Wah yuh vex at me for, I din do notton atal atal,” The shadow said,

“Is your fault I hit dat bouy, is yuh who tell me do it,” Andre said throwing a pillow at the shadow,

‘Yeah is me wey tell yuh, but it felt real good din it?”  Andre did not reply. A slight wind rustled the trees outside the window,

“Look at me eh, I is dancing,” the shadow said,

“Go to hell,” Andre said,

“Come on, me and yuh is friends don be mad at me.”

“I said leave me alone,” Andre shouted and got up and closed the curtains. The room plunged into darkness and the shadow was silent. He lay down and was soon fast asleep.

Andre woke up to voices in the living room. He got up and opened the door. His mother was talking to a man,

“Fada, I don know wah I go do wid him, is like de child possessed or sumting,” she said in between sobs.

“I thought bringing him here woulda change he, but he is still bad, fada, I don know wha to do. I tek him to church, I give him good licks, I sent him to stay wid he aunt, but notten works. Sumtimes he acting jus like he fada you know”

“Sister Monica, God works in mysterious ways, I am sure your son will be fine,” the man said, Andre creped down the hall and peeped into the living room. A priest sat on the couch, his silver hair combed like a bridge over his bald spot. His mother paced in front of the priest a mere shadow in the light from the window.

“Bring him to confession on Sunday, there is nothing pray can’t fix.” He said. Andre turned and walked back to his room and flopped onto his bed. He heard the front door close and he got up and went to the window and opened the curtain. The priest walked across Rochester Avenue and got into a small car and drove off. Andre went back to the bed and sat down.

“Ohhh Ohhh, yuh in real trouble now.” The shadow said, “Is you fraid?”  Andre sat up,

“I not fraid of notten,” He shot back,

“Ohhh, liccle man ha some balls all of a sudden eh? The shadow said snickering.

“Don laugh at me you know, cause I go…”

“You go do what eh?” the shadow said. “Is me who teaching you to be a man and don forget it,” The shadow said. Andre’s mother opened the door.

“Who is yuh talking to boi, who in dey wid yuh?” His mother asked walking into his room, her long straight black hair swayed as she moved.

“Nobody,” he replied,

“Boi, why you always talking to yuhself eh?’

“I don know,”

“I is real disappointed in yuh yuh know, why yuh always misbehaving for eh?” she asked. Andre hung his head,

“I don know,”

“Every ting is I don know I don know. Boi you is getting to be a big man you know, time you start acting like one,” She said reaching out to rub his head. Andre smiled,

“I know mamie, I promise I go try me best,”

“Sunday we go go to church and you going to confession, the fada say he go talk to you,” she said,

“O K mamie,” Andre said.

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Storyteller

The Shadow and the Confession

Sunday morning Andre got up, got ready and went to church with his mother. They arrived at the church and as soon they walked through the doors his mother turned to him,
“O K, now go to confession, may be the fada could help you,” Andre hesitated, but his mother put her hand on his back and gentle pushed him towards the confessional. Andre walked into the box and sat down,
“Boi you sweating for so,” The Shadow said.
“Don you have no respect, dis ah church,” Andre said as he parted the curtains to the confessional and peeped inside,
“Me, I ein fraid of man or God,” The Shadow responded.
‘Don say a damn word in here, yuh hear me,”
‘Who yuh tink yuh is talking to eh?” The Shadow said. The priest walked into the other side of the confessional and sat down, then gave the sign of the cross,
“Forgive me fada for ah may have sinned, it have been six months since ah gave me last confession” Andre said as he did the sign of the cross. The priest was silent for a second,
“Well son, what is your sins?”
“I don have no sin fada,”
“Everybody have sins son, now tell me what are yours.”
“I don have no sin fada.” Andre repeated. The priest sighed.
“Then what is it your mother told me about you fighting in school?”
“He started it fada, he beat me up,”
“Son, one should always turn the other cheek,” the priest said.
“But fada, de bible also say an eye for an eye,” the priest was silent.
“Boy, are you being smart, now go ahead and confess your sins this instant.
“Ohh de man in de dress is getting vex for so,” The Shadow said.
“I told yuh to shut up,” Andre hissed,
“What was that you said young man?” the priest asked
“Notten fada,”
“She want it, give it to she,” The Shadow started singing a dirty calypso song,
“Shut yuh mouth,” Andre said,
“Young man, remember you are in the house of the lord. Be respectful or I will have your mother punish you,”
“Sorry fada,”
“Now tell me your sins,”
“I kissed Mr. Jones daughter, put me hand down she pants den smell me fingers,” the shadow said snickering, Andre could not help it, he giggled.
“Young man what is so funny?”
“Notten fada,”
“Now go ahead, tell me your sins and you will be forgiven,”
“I don have no sin fada,”
“Yuh go let dat ole white man talk to yuh like dat?” The Shadow said,
“Fada I said I don have no sin, wah yuh want me to say?”
“Son you know that fighting is wrong, you hurt someone, and that is a sin, you have to confess to receive forgiveness.”
“Fada, he hit me first,”
“It does not matter; confess your sins now,”
“Bonjay, de ole white man getting real vex now, yuh go get it,” The Shadow said
“Keep you trap shut!” Andre yelled,
“Young man that is no way to talk now confess,”
“Ohhh, don let him talk to yuh like dat, give him a piece of yuh mind,” the shadow said. Andre hesitated for a second,
“Wey the fuck fada, I say I din sin, why de fuck you trying to make me say I did?” There was silence as the stunned priest tried to collect himself,
“Oh he real vex now,” The Sadow said,” the priest came out of his side, pulled the curtain on Andre’s side and yanked him out,
“Filthy mouth, come I will take you to your mother.” The priest took Andre by the ear and dragged him over to his mother.
“We need to talk,” he said.
“Go wait over dey,” His mother said pointing to the door. Andre walked away hanging his head. He saw his mother’s mouth drop open with shock, then she stormed over to him, her hazel eyes twinkled with anger.
“Ohhh yuh in deep doo doo now,” The shadow said,

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POEMS Storyteller

Seen

Your voice is like a cold wind on my exposed heart
It plunges through me like Brutus’ dagger
Your words settles in my soul like hot syrup
They run through my veins like ragweed porcupines
Your stare penetrates my being like I was a hollow man
You shut me out like a priest shuts out the devil
But yet, you have my soul, It hover over you like a guardian angel
It attempts to protect you from the world, from yourself
And still you don’t acknowledge me

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Stories Storyteller

Frist Comunion

Frist Comunion

That day, when I knelt before the old man in the white robe, beads of sweat rolling down my forehead, my palms clammy, my heart pounding, his voice shook as he muttered words in Latin, his eyes red, maybe from age, maybe from the wine. He looked at me and smiled, then he reached out to me, a small, flat, white circle in his hand. I opened my mouth, he placed it on my tongue, it melted away, no taste, no spices. He made the sign of the cross, mumbled some more and it was over. Later I walked out the church, hoping to feel different, but nothing, I was still the same mischievous kid, planning in my head to go raid old man Jones mango trees.