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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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Storyteller

From the new project Disorganized crime

                There was silence; the television was still on despite its fall. Its silver light flickered on the green walls sending partial shadows of chairs, tables and the two men throbbing across the walls. The attacker continued talking; Nelson slowly got to his feet and almost fell over but steadied himself. There was a knife on the floor, so he picked it up and crept towards his attacker.

                “You mean this is a free one………….. I don’t know, he was here, I messed him up……….. Am going to need help moving this one,” he stopped talking, Nelson was over him now, and he placed the knife against the man’s throat.

                “Who the hell are you?” Nelson asks, he heard his attacker’s heart pounding, felt the knife move as the man swallowed.

                “Take it easy buddy, am just doing my job,” the man said, his voice a horse whisper. Nelson pressed the knife against the man’s throat; felt the man’s his esophagus move against the steel blade again. There was a wine bottle sitting on the only table left standing, Nelson picked it up and hit the man over the head , he fell sideways onto the couch, the cell phone still in his hand, Nelson picked it up,

                “Who is this?” He asked his voice still a whisper, his throat burned when she swallowed,

                “Who the hell is this?” The voice responded. Nelson cleared his throat.                

               “It’s the man you just tried to have killed.” Nelson tried to shout, but only managed to sound like he had laryngitis,

                “I don’t know you, what the hell is your name and where is my man?” The voice screamed back,

                “Oh he is fine, just taking a little nap, who are you working for, did the commander hire you?” Nelson demanded,

                “What the hell are you talking about, all I know is you are one dead nigger when I get hold of you!” the voice screamed.

                “You don’t have to tell me anything, your man will give me the details, I will find out who you are, and when I do, you will wish you never met me.”

                “Who the hell do you think you are, you don’t threaten me you little shit, I could have your balls served to the pigeons in the park, do you know who I am?” The voice screamed. Nelson chuckled then said,

                “No I don’t know who you are, why don’t you tell me,” He waited.

“Do you think am an idiot, screw you,” the voice screamed. Nelson dropped the phone and turned to his attacker, the man stirred a little, his green shirt bright against the black leather couch, his dark stone washed jeans spotted with blood, his eyelids fluttered a little, his facial expression that of a baby who just woke up from a nap. The voice on the phone was screaming so Nelson reached down, picked up the phone and turned it off. He went to his closet and retrieved a handcuff; thank god his last roommate was a kinky bastard. He returned to the living room and handcuffed the attacker to the large mahogany center table. The man’s sandy blond hair was caked to his forehead, as a mixture of sweat and blood rolled down his head, and settled just above his eyes. The man opened his eyes and looked at Nelson,

                “Who are you and who sent you?” Nelson asked, the man did not answer, his blue eyes cold, and his blond eyebrows translucent against his pale white skin.

                “Who sent you?” Nelson insisted, slapping the man on his head blood flew in every direction, fell to the ground, creating nail head size polka dots on the cream coloured carpet. The attacker spat at Nelson, the white and red froth landed on his chest then dropped onto the leather couch.

                “Are you sure this is the way you want to play this game?” Nelson asked grabbing the man’s throat, he gasped for breath, his blue eyes growing bigger as if they would pop out of their sockets. Nelson let go of his throat,

                “I will get it out of you. You will tell me what I want to know even if it means cutting you up piece by piece.” Nelson said and looked around for his cellphone but could not find it; the house phone lay in pieces next to the television, so he began to walk to the kitchen,

                “You are nothing but a nasty immigrant you have no power, when my people get hold of you will wish you had died in your filthy country.” The man shouted, Nelson stopped, turned around walked over to the man and punched him in the face, he fell backwards hitting the floor hard. Nelson spat at the man then turned and walked to the kitchen, he was thinking that he had to get help; he picked up the phone and called his friend,

                “Hey Trevor, I need your help man, I have to store something away.” He said, waited for a second then said.

                “Thanks man.” Then hung up, he walked back to the living room, the attacker was trying to sit up so Nelson punched him in the jaw and the man flopped back onto the couch.

 

                                                        ******************      

A sprawling mansion three stories high, a green well-manicured lawn with ancient like Roman statues placed tragically across it, a marble pond with fishes splashing about, and a waterfall cascading out of a stones drain. In the back of the house was a horse farm beautiful stallions ran free in the field behind the house; trees lined the boundary, giving shade to most of the yard. There were other animals on the compound, lamas, peacocks, sheep and goats, the place looked like the Ringling Brothers was about to do a show. A burly man in a tan Toyota drove up, and parked in the front of the house. He walked up to the big wooden door, that door was about twelve feet tall; he opened it and went inside.

                The floor of the large hall was covered with Middle Eastern rugs all the way to the other room, white walls that seemed to be fifty feet tall, to the left, an eloquently furnished living room, cream coloured couch and love seat, fifty two inch television, and a large fire place on the far side of the room. Straight ahead form the front door was a stairway, it seemed to go up for miles, like the stairway to heaven; its gold plated railings disappeared into the second floor. A crystal chandelier hung in the middle of the foyer glittered, as light from the open door shined on it. The burly man turned right and walked into the den.

                A distinguished looking gentleman sat at a desk at the back of the room, he was about fifty, and his hair was grey on the sides, and it was combed perfectly, as a matter of fact he looked like a statesman, like he belonged in the oval office. The burly man walked in and the distinguished man looked up, his feet on a chair behind the desk, his Italian made shoes shined in the dark, his blue eyes were cold and lifeless, just like a politician.

                “What is it Ramon?” he asked, his voice a husky growl, Ramon started talking, but a girl no more than eight years old ran by outside the door chasing a cream coloured poodle, Ramon shook his head, this house had more animals than the African Jungle. Ramon reached over and closed the door; his big meaty hands looked like it could crush a man’s skull.        

                “Well?” The man in the suit asked, his dead eyes shifted a little,

“Have you heard from The Exterminator?” he asked. Ramon shifted from one leg to the next as if afraid to answer, but before he did the phone rang, the man in the suit answered,

                “Hello.” Then he waited. “Is it done?” Ramon was rocking from one foot to the next.

                ”Big nigger what big nigger?” He listened.

                “I know what you should do, clean the shit up and get back with me.”………. a puzzled look covered the man in the suit face.

                “Of course it was the right apartment; you are the one that fucked up.”……….

                “What the fuck is going on there, hello, hello.” He listened; a look of angry replaced the puzzled expression.

“Who the hell is this?” He screamed

                I don’t know you, what the hell is your name, and where the hell is my man?” The man said then waited.

                “You are one dead monkey,” The man in the suit was really angry now, his face was so red he looked like a volcano about to explode.

                “Who the hell do you think you are, you don’t threaten me I could have your balls fed to the fishes!” The man screamed spit flying out his mouth. He listened for a second then shouted,

                “Hello, Hello.”

Ramon stood looking at Vince, his eyes did not look dead anymore, they light up anytime he got angry, wanted someone dead, or when he gets the news that they were dead.

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Pics with verse Storyteller

Surrender (October 1983)

Surrender (October 1983)

Surrender, surrender. Defeated before it began, freedom is make believe, lesson learned, you can’t fight for peace, the words fight and peace should never be in the same sentence. Just like the words hate and love. So we surrender, no choice, the sword is mightier than compassion, so I raise my had, and my soul escapes through my finger tips, and settles where the trickle down effects stops, right above the heads of the Third World peasants, seven feet up, seven feet down, that’s the poverty line, a giant left with his soul sitting on top his afro hairstyle, a spiritual man with freedom at the tips of his dreadlocks. Lets have freedom so we will never have peace.

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Pics with verse Storyteller

Drift Away

Drift Away

Before the battle, nobody tells you that you will be killing human beings. They say, we are killing communism, we are killing capitalism, we are killing a system, and you believe them, until in the heat of the battle, you pull the trigger, and you see pain, and you see eyes, and you see your reflection, a twin soul, a brother, only with different ideas, and suddenly the dehumanization drifts away in a moment of clarity/

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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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Stories Storyteller

The Ghost of Cooper Hill

Here Raphie was, standing at the top of Cooper Hill, not able to move, not able to scream, his heart racing, sweat pouring down his face, his back, his chest, hell sweat was even pouring down his legs. He started to run but realized he was not going anywhere, in his head he started to pray, “Oh God, if I escape dis I go never drink rum again,” He tried talking, but all he managed to do was sound like a rooster was stuck in his throat. Why you ask Raphie was in this predicament, well he was standing at the top of Cooper Hill, just before the only lamppost on the whole damn hill, drunk and face to face with, the Cooper Hill ghost.  Yes the Cooper Hill ghost. Romour had it the ghost was that of a World War Two Veteran who came back from the war and spent his nights standing under that lamppost as if keeping guard, but when he died, months later, people started seeing him there, his gun on his shoulder, still at attention. See Raphie did not believe, he thought all the talk about a ghost was pure nonsense, but here he was, face to face with the weary soldier. The old war man turned to him, then slowly brought his rifle down to his side and saluted. Raphie suddenly was able to move, he took off, stumbling down the cobble stoned hill. At one point he fell on his bum, but he did not stop, he used his legs to drag himself like he was rowing a boat, totally destroying his brand new pants. So I asked him, “Did de ghost chase yuh?” he said, Damn boi I du know,, I was just trying to get away from dere you know.”

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POEMS Storyteller

The Running Soul

So you spend your whole life running, running from the hate, running from the ideologies, running from yourself, running from the memories, running from war, running from death, then one day you realize, death never left you, those bodies, with the buzzing flies, the melody of death, caught up to you in your nightmares. But you keep running, running from the lies, running from the politricks, running from fear, running from your shadow, but once again you realize that you are your shadow’s keeper. Realization don’t stop you so you keep running, running from commitment, running from compassion, running from intimacy, then the biggest realization ever, though being alone can be pure bliss, being alone can be, well, lonely.

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Pics with verse Storyteller

The Past in Daydreams

The Past in Daydreams

Its all coming back now, seeing that house after 28 years. It was that front door to the street I ran out to see the 82nd airborne floating down. It was that roof that shook with every explosion. You see where the light is on in that front window, yeah right there, it was there I laid in the dark night after night clinching a weapon, hoping that friend or foe do not try to enter. And that dark hill to the far left, it was there I saw the orange flares light up the night. Its that bush fence I hide behind when soldiers drove by, it was from that house I left to catch the plain to become The Dirty Immigrant. Sometimes we run from memories, we try to leave them behind, but then as you live, something brings them back, the loud pop of a car backfiring, the scent of smoke, a helicopter flying by, sirens blaring, shouting, crying, just everyday things can take you back to where you left. And then the urge to go back, because you remember before the chaos there was peace and you long for that peace.

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POEMS Storyteller

I Wish (1983)

I Wish (1983)

I wish I was the one who painted those clouds
Then I would paint a distinct pattern everyday
I wish I could huff and puff and move those clouds
Then I would blow them over warring nations
And its beauty will make them stop and look on in wonder
And I will paint everyday, and they will stop and watch everyday
Until they forget their war
Until they forget their hate
Until they realize they were not killing systems
For the only ones dying are human beings

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Storyteller

The Threath

It  was 1981, I was standing outside the Ministry of Finance building waiting for Mommy Charles to get off work. It was November and we were going to the town to do a little window shopping, a tradition we had during the season. I looked across the small parking lot, standing on the other side were three People’s Revolutionary Army Soldiers or PRA as we called them. They seemed to be looking at me and talking. I did not pay them any mind, they were showing off with the A K 47 rifles slung over their shoulders. I looked away and to the public library, a woman and a little boy walked out. The little boy had a book open trying to read and walk at the same time. He stumbled down the steps and almost fell. His mother caught him and they walked past The PRA members. One of them looked at me then slowly began walking towards me, the rifle hung loosely over his should from a strap, I pretended not to look at him. Soon he was standing next to me, his eyes red from standing in the soon, his Russian made green uniform pressed, his boots sparkling in the tropical afternoon sun,

“Dat woman wey work up dey, dats you sista eh?” He asked. At first I did not respond not knowing why he was asking.

“wah woman?” I asked, he smiled and shook his head,

De one call Mis Charles,” he said, adjusting the gun on his shoulder.

“Dats me mudda mon, why you asking?”

“she used to be A Garyite,”  Mommy Charles was a prominent supporter of the former Prime Minister, I used to go to parties and political rallies with her all the time,

“Yea mon, we locking all ah dem who used to support the old government, yuh mudda is one ah dem. One day we go come tek she to jail,” I sttod speechless, the thought of Mommy Charles being carded off to that dungeon they called a prison flashed before me. Then I felt my face get hot, and a sharp throbbing around my eyes. The PRA soldier smiled, adjusted the rifle, turned and walked away. It was at hast moment I decided that I needed to arm myself.

Two weeks later, after I made sure no one would be home, I sat in my room looking down and two Avtomat Kalashnikova rifles, a Russian made pistol. Several rounds for the weapons lay next to them. My heart was racing, I have held guns before even shot them, but this was different, sweat trickled down my face, my back, my chest even though there was a cool breeze sweeping through the house. I took the guns, wrapped them in plastic and hid them in the chicken coup in the back yard. Weeks later, just after Christmas, I was once again standing outside the Ministry when I saw the same PRA soldier, I walked over to my, propelled by fear and anger. When I got to him I stopped, looked him in the eyes, then leaned in,

If all you come get she, dere going be a blood bath.”  Before he responded, I turned and walked away, my knees felt like they were rubber, my heart was beating so fast it hurt. Luckily, they never came to get Mommy Charles because in my opinion, not much in this life is worth dying for, but Mommy Charles, well that was a whole other story.