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Pics with verse Storyteller

Fantacy Lunch

So I am sitting here in West Virginia, listening to the rain hit roof and day dreaming. I remember back on the island wanting to use the coal pot 1045600300_2a38d6254e_z

So I can cook up some food. But damn it, the rain was pounding on the galvanize roof, the wind was whipping the coconut branches, Stray dogs lay under the banana tree using the big leaves as shelter. Man I wanted to cook on the bloody coal pot, not the stove. So I brought the coal pot into the kitchen, fill it with coals, pour a little kerosene on it and blazed it up. Peeled the green bananas and plantains, washed the sweet potatoes, yams, tanyas, got out the avocados. Now all the provisions were ready for cooking. Then its time to wash out the salt fish I had soaking, get some onions, garlic, tomatoes and seasoning, put the frying pan on the coal pot, poured some coconut oil in there and fry up the salt fish, oh man, that scent mixed in with the smoke that bellowed out of the kitchen. Now my belly rumbling, the rain was real heavy outside now, there was something about rain and smoke I liked. When the salt fish was done, it was time to boil the provisions. Only one drink will go with this meal, a nice, tall, cold glass of guava juice,

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ahhh yes.  And when all is prepared, I sat in the veranda, watching the rain fall, eating the food made for a tropical king.

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Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

Where The Weed At from I am a Dirty Immigrant

I was stressed out so I decided to seek out the only thing that calmed me down. Yes, I was going to find some good weed right here at this Christian school. One day, I was playing basketball at the small gym when I befriended this young man. He was quite large, about three hundred pounds and six feet three. He had sandy blond hair that hung down just above his eyes; a haircut shaped like someone had put a bowl on his head and cut the edges of his hair. His cheeks were permanently red, and his blue eyes were expressionless, like there was nothing but air and broken dreams behind them. Frankly he looked like an overweight Huckleberry Finn. He told me he knew where to get the good stuff. I almost laughed when he emphasized good stuff, his eyes lighting up like a Christmas tree.

One afternoon, we walked down the street looking for a place to smoke. The little town was quite beautiful. The houses lined the streets, the grass was brown from the winter cold and there were Christmas decorations on their porches. Their yards were covered with leaves of bright red, orange and brown. Quite frankly it was kind of peaceful.

We arrived at a small bridge where trains went by which was something I had never seen before. We got under the bridge; there were two other young men with us. The fat guy pulled something out of his pocket, and I remember thinking, I had never seen a white tooth pick before. To my dismay he flicked his lighter and lit up the smallest bloody joint I had ever seen. He passed it to me, and before I could take my usual long draw, the other kid had his hand out. When we were done, the big kid stumbled out from under the bridge. He was jumping around like Sugar Ray Leonard shadow boxing. To tell you the truth, he was surprising light on his feet. He was going to tell the world how high he was. I slowed down, letting him go ahead of me. Huck’s antics were going to get us caught. That day I decided to stop smoking. I could tell that this place was going to be a buzz killer.

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Stories Storyteller

Run For Your life

So here I was, in the middle of the night, walking through the bushes. Tress lined the sides of the foot beaten path, it was real dark and I was sweating with fear. I bet you wondering how I ended up walking in the bushes at night eh? Well it all started when me friend Ras Burtrand ran into me in the city. He was all excited, his eyes that was usually dull from smoking ganja was dancing all over the place. He grabbed me hand and said, “Tall boi, leh me tell yuh, I just harvested some ah de best ganja ever, mon, you have to come over and tek a taste,” Well I for one did not need a second invitation, I mean Ras Burtran was known to cultivate some of the best weed in the whole damn country. I mean that man did not just have a green thumb, I mean this man had the golden touch when it comes to growing weed.

Later that afternoon, I went over to the village where Ras Burtran live. His house sat on a small incline, there was no grass, nor trees, just dirt. That man could gross some bad ganja, but he could never get the grass ton grow around his house. He saw me coming and jumped right up. I sat on a big rock next to the door of his one room wooden house waiting. He came out with two of the biggest joints I ever seen. I took the first puff, inhaled and boy did it hit me. and I swear to you I heard African drums playing, lions roaring, monkeys barking. That damn ganja took me back to Africa, I repatriated in me head. Ras Burtran leaned in and smiled, his teeth looking as big as a donkey’s, “What I tell yuh, I bet you feel real nice right now EH?” he said, inhaling a cloud of smoke. All I could do was smile and shake me head, well I believe I shook me head.  Me stomach started rumbling and before I could say anything Ras Burtrand went into his house and came back with a bucket full of freshly picked mangoes, plumbs, sugar apples and guavas. We sat there eating and smoking and before I knew it, night had fallen. Around eleven or so I decided to get back to me village. I did not wanty to take the highway home so I decided to use the short cut through the bushes and boy do I regret that now. Here I was, high as can be, walking through this thick bushes.

I thought I saw someone ahead of me so I stopped, the person seemed to stop too except they seem to be rocking back and forth. I tell you, me whole body went numb and I heard meself breathing hard. We stood for a second, I wanted to turn back but that would have just made me trip longer so I braved up and started walking, the person did not move. As I got closer, I realized that this was no ordinary person, they seemed to have several hands all sticking out from their sides. Me heart almost stopped beating and without thinking I bolted, if they were not going to move I was going to run right through them. Just as I was almost on the person, beast, evil spirit, whatever it was, I changed me mind and took a sharp right, bolting through some vine. I was in full stride, being smacked in the face by branches, bushes with thorns ripped at me arms.  I heard rustling in the bushes next to me, something big was running step for step with me. I heard what sounded like growl that echoed through the trees. Something big was after me. I speed up, me legs burning, me heart pounding. I busted out onto the highway and narrowly escaped being hit by a car. I heard the driver curse and watch the back lights fade away. I stopped and bent over trying to catch me breath. Suddenly the bushes from where I had come shook. I was too tired to run so I braced meself to ward off any beast, evil spirit or devil that came at me. I heard the hoofs before I saw the sheep standing in front of me, looking at me the way I was feeling, surprised. I remember saying to meself, not that explains what was chasing me, but what kind of monster did I see on the path. It was then I remembered, that was the plumb tree I used to climb when I was a boy. Ras Burtrand ganja was way better than I thought. I made a pack, never to smoke and stay late at Ras Burtran’s house.

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Cool Runnings Storyteller

26th Installment of La Diablesse

                                                                                          CHAPTER 9

Days turn into months and the government kept a tight leach on the opposition and the young people, well they seemed real defeated. I went bout me daily routine of teaching during the day and spending most of me evenings with Jane, she would come over with she books and study while I grade papers as the sun set over the ocean. Sometimes we would talk for hours Jane asking all kinds of questions bout the voodoo culture, I tell you what, it was real nice talking she, I mean, she melodic voice kept me mind off all the crazy things going on round me. The woman in white had not shown up for a while, so I went back to sitting at me window enjoying the Caribbean nights, the smell of food cooking in the early evening, the children playing in their yards, music playing and the wind slightly brushing against me face, paradise was back.

December Nineteen Seventy eight was a real lonely month, Jane had went home for the Christmas holidays and the island was packed with people visiting they families from America or England. The opposition leaders were becoming restless again I mean it seemed like every week there were meetings or rallies, everywhere I went on the island pockets of young people were standing round talking, they were becoming more and more discontented with the political situation. There were some scrimmages between them and the secret police but the worse was when an Inspector on the force was assassinated, man I tell you what the whole bloody place was in chaos, I mean them damn police was arresting everybody, people were leaving the island like crazy afraid they would be locked up too. One of me friends took a job on the banana boat just because there was a rumor that he was the one who shot the policeman, but soon enough things calm down a little and the people tried they best to go on with they lives.

I had let me hair grow out and it was fast becoming as long as Mr. Hopson’s pretentious Afro. Me relationship with some of the teachers had become strained for so, I mean, I did not really care because I too was becoming fed up of the colonialist rule and I even attended some of the opposition rallies. The encounter with Alison’s grandmother and the people in they village made me aware of a side of the island that me mother tried she best to keep me away from. She used to fight with me grandmother every time I came back from a visit with tales bout spirits and curses.

In late February of nineteen seventy-nine the atmosphere on the island was real tense so tense I had stopped going to the political meetings and was writing more than ever, me hair was long, to me shoulder dreaded up, yeah man I was Rasta now. Much to the disdain of the other teachers and the education board I had started following the Rastafarian faith, I mean I even started smoking up the herb with the fellas and them, listening to Bob Marley and other reggae artists all the time hell, I even started attending Rasta ceremonies; I tell you those boys had the best ganja anywhere. Jane and I were still seeing each other and that was the only true stable thing in me life. The woman in white had not approached me, nor had I thought much bout she thank god because for a while there I though I was going crazy.

One morning I was preparing for the days teaching and listening to the radio when it suddenly went silent so I walked into me bedroom and smacked it a little when suddenly a voice I had not heard before started talking.

“Is de dawn of a new day, de people and they have taken control of their destiny,” I stopped and sat down, the voice was that of a young man and there was a disturbing urgency in he tone, man, I tell you what, I sat there numb for so. He went on to say that the people had had enough and the opposition party had taken control of the island and will not be oppressed by the colonialist dogs anymore. I was real stunned, me heart pounding as I listened.

“De people should rise up and take up arms to fight the tyranny dat dey have endured over de last twenty five years now is de time me comrades. Power to de people.” Then the song Get Up stand Up by Bob Marley played, I sat there looking down at the floor, man all hell was about to break loose. Then I thought bout Jane and got up and ran all the way to she dorm and I knocked on she door,

“Who is it”? She asked and when I answered she opened the door and immediately reached out and hugged me, I squeezed she trying me best to calm she down. The radio was on and the announcer was talking frantically sometimes not making sense, in the background I heard rumblings like someone was going through papers. He was giving details of where policemen can be found and giving the revolutionaries’ instructions on how to capture them. In the distance we heard the faint sound of gunfire, man I tell you what that was the angriest sound I ever heard in me whole damn life. Outside medical students ran back and forth to each other’s room trying to get more information bout what was going on, I got up and opened the door a little and peeped outside, people were running along the beach, across the crystal blue ocean smoke bellowed out of a burning building, I closed the door and went back inside.

“I think we should go to my house, it will be safer there,” Jane nodded she head but did not move reluctant to go outside, I took she hand and gentle guided she to the door.

“Wait,” she said, “Let me take some of my things, she hurried over to she dresser and grabbed some of she clothes and stuffed then into a knapsack. She hoisted the bag over the shoulder and picked up some books that were laying on she desk, then she looked at me took a deep breath and said,

“I am ready,” I took the backpack from she walked over to the door opened it slightly and peeped outside, there were still some students running round out there. We stepped outside just as another medical student came running down the corridor.

“Where are you going Jane?” he asked, looking at me suspiciously.

“I am going to his house it should be safer there,” The man looked at me he blue eyes shifting from me to she, Jane brushed past him running down the stairs, the man and I stood and looked at each other two cultures on the verge of colliding, and then he shrugged he shoulder and walked down the corridor and went into the room next to Jane’s. I ran down the stairs to where Jane was waiting on me an impatient look on she face. We headed in the direction of me house passing jeeps laddened with young people carrying A.K 47 riffles. Some of them recognized me,

“Power to de people! They screamed some of them shot off they riffles into the air Jane jumped and grabbed me hand squeezing it, I mean she was used to guns but the idea of maybe being the target put the fear of god in she. By the time we reached me house I was a lot less concerned because I realized that the young people were so jubilant bout they liberation to harass anyone, Jane too realized this and was fast becoming a little more relaxed.

We got to me house and sat in me room listening to the reports of the takeover, one by one the revolutionaries were taking control of the police stations and government offices. I thought bout me students and I wondered how many of them were involved with this action, I mean I knew how upset they were bout the attack by the hooligan’s months ago, I even heard some of them talking bout revenge. I thought of Alison and she grandmother did they agree with what was going on or were they concerned bout what the young soldiers would do. Jane was sitting on me bed and I still saw a hint of fear in she eyes so I got up and walked over to she.

“Why don’t you try calling your family and let them know you are alright,” She slowly got up and went down the stairs and I heard the sound of the old rotary phone and then she was talking in a hushed tone so I walked over to the window and looked outside. The backyard was silent the sea still, no boats no seagulls, not even the sound of children playing. I looked over at Ken’s house it too was real quiet it was like the calm before the eye of a hurricane blast across the land. Jane walked up behind me and wrapped she arms round me, I took a deep breath, it seems like every time she touched me I had to struggle to catch me breath. I turned round and looked at she a teardrop rolled down she left cheek and I gently wiped it away with me thumb.

“The phone went dead when I was talking to my dad. He was so worried when I told him what was going on.” I kissed she on the forehead, it was the only thing I could think of doing. I thought bout me mother I bet any money she real worried too and now there was no way I could call she to let she know I was fine.

“ I told my dad where I was and he felt a little better that someone on the island was looking out for me,” I hugged she, squeezing gently I mean I wanted she to know that I would not let anything happen to she.

We spent the day listening to the radio all the reports and reggae music echoed in me head. Round six o’clock the revolutionaries had mopped up what they though were the last remnants of resistance and the leader of the opposition was named Prime Minister of the island. When the announcement was made, we heard cheering coming from Ken’s house and loud music suddenly erupted all over the village as more people ventured outside. Jane and I left the house and walked back to she dorm she wanted to get more of she things. We passed groups of young people laughing and dancing singing the praises of the new leader, the older people seemed a little more concerned with what had happened but even some of them joined in the celebration. When we got to the dorms there was a large group of medical students standing in front of it, the blue eyed man from earlier came over,

“Look at them,” he said pointing to a group of young people celebrating on the beach, the pungent scent of marijuana filled the air, Rastamen was having a celebratory smoke. Jane brushed past him and went up to she room while I walked over to the Rastamen and began talking to one of them I knew.

“We take over, Dickie bouy,” he said a big joint in he hand. He reached it out to me and I shook me head. He pulled it back up to his thick lips and sucked smoke floating out of his mouth when he spoke.

“Yeah man, tings go be a whole lot better now,” he said as Jane walked up to us holding a small briefcase. I said goodbye to the Rastaman he looked at Jane,

“Don worry lady, dis here is a peaceful revo. No one go hurt you and you American friends.” Jane smiled a nervous smile and looked at me, the Rastaman looked at she he droopy eyes indusive to smoking way too much damn Ganja.

“Any friend ah Dickie bouy is ah friend ah we, I used to lime wid ‘im in school man. We used to get into all kinda ting wee,” and he laughed a roaring laugh, Jane’s smile grew bigger, I don’t know if she was tickled that he wanted to protect she or if she was laughing at the bellowing sound coming from such a little man. I took the suitcase from she just as the Rasta stretched he hand out,

“Me name is Ras Itran,” Jane took he hand and he shook vigorously.

“If you need anyting jus come to me O.K.” Jane shook she head.

“Later Rasta,” I said and walked away. Jane waved at him.

“Jah, guide me bredrin, come by me house and see me sumtime, tell me how you family doing and ting,” he said and then he looked at Jane he waist length dreadlocks twirling round he body, the joint in he hand popping as seeds exploded falling to the ground.

“Don let the system get you down me little sister,” he smiled showing big white teeth then turned and joined the other Rastamen who were singing a Jimmy cliff song

“Treat de youths right or you playing wid dynamite!” They voices trailing off as we went

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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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POEMS Storyteller

Cultureshock vs Mistrust (January 30th 1986)

As they rejoice over their victory
I feel it again, it is that knot in my stomach
That feeling of defeat, that lack of trust
I live vicariously among them
Knowing that within a second they can turn on me
For I think different, I see the world differently
Today the world is grey again
The clouds hang over my head like an atomic mushroom
I see faces I encounter everyday
Yet I don’t really recognize them
Their faces bare smiles, but in their hearts lurk a dark shadow
We are first world, we know best
You are just jealous because we can kill you in a heartbeat
A dubious thing to be proud of
Their rhetoric covers the earth like smoke from an oil fire
Their souls are covered with religious lies
So I live walking on eggshells
Waiting for the day when my words are misinterpreted
And they become offended and they turn on me like sharks on the attack
And they will try to devour me
Until that day I will live with my soul in my hands
My eyes wide open to the truth
For all I have is myself
Now tell me, is that the way life should be lived

 

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Parts Dirty Immigrant Storyteller

Burn Playboy Burm, From the novel I am, a Dirty Immigrant

Like I said before, I never dated when I was growing up on the island. My mother saw to that. Her favorite way of stopping any carnal urges was by telling us if we ever got a girl pregnant she would kill us. I was never allowed to talk about sex. Looking at women was a cardinal sin. Nasty thoughts, as she called them, were the devil’s playground. I remember the first time I saw condoms; it was the one and only time I saw a Playboy magazine too. My brother knew this nurse. I am not sure if he was dating her but she had given him the magazine and a large brown paper bag of condoms. He brought it home and I remember flipping through the pages, my heart racing and my eyes popping out of my head. There was this one woman, Katsika the African princess. She was my favorite. For weeks we were able to keep it hidden from our mother, changing hiding spots frequently. We soon ran out of places to hide it, so my brother placed it under his mattress. One day we came home from playing football and as we entered the yard, I thought I smelled rubber burning. We walked to the back of the house and sitting on a bonfire was the brown bag and the Playboy magazine, engulfed in flame. I did not turn around but I felt my mother’s eyes piercing through the back of my head. We did not go into the house; we just stood there and watched Katsika burn. My mother did not talk to us for days after that, but her reaction was worse than getting a whipping.