Thursday, March 31, 2011


again, inspiration (separately) courtesy salcedo+alooicious, another reimagining, griot's jestina's calypso; my flash fiction friday #39 (inclusion)trigger: rain, reign, rein, stair, stare, steer. walk good.

youth, you mightn’ know it watching me here now, but griot come like playboy of the west indies in meh day. back then, the ladies love to see me when i step out, cuttin’ it crips in meh bespoke suit.
but every sagaboy sweetman mus’ have one from he past that get away…
jestina…ah, boy, jestina…jestina was woman. you eh know woman until you meet this woman; this woman is woman mudda. when i tell you, no other woman like jestina.
she wasn’t pretty, eh. no. she wasn’ never dat. but she walk the road head high and never take no shit from nobody, never let the ole talk pull she down. and ugly for so. yes, fadda, i could say it- for a brief+blessed time i had the privilege to call jestina my woman, so i could say it: she ugly. ugly for spite, ugly until she beautiful; jestina face legendary. and you could always tell the rare one who eh know; when they see she, they cyah help it, trying all how not to get make out but they cyah help but stare. when it was me standing nex’ to she i watch back, boldface, hard hard to show them, yes, i know you think she ugly, but i know she bes’ and i proud to stand up nex’ to she as she man.
the boys used to real pong she, every day every day them fellas have something to tell me until after time pass they realise me eh taking them on and they start to respec’ we ting. they eh know wha’ it is, but they see i moving with she right through and taking talk and still happy like pappy and not leaving she alone. so the ole talk eventually stop. for me. but never for jestina. even if neighbours eventually get bored and leave she, the world’s endless supply of chirren tirelessly cruel.
a time we walking home in the rain. i have meh arm round she waist, liking how she feel, slightly damp, holding me tight in the cold drizzle to warm her, cyah wait to reach she inside. and when we pass these youths jumping up in they yard bathing in the rain start to chant behind we, “long reign jestina, queen of ugliness!”
i wanted to snatch up my jestina and run ‘way with she, rush straight back to the flat upstairs picton street, pack up nutting but she smallest bathing suit and take she off to some desert island where me+she could be alone, nobody around who cyah appreciate the woman she was. i did real love that woman. but she prince fly in from foreign and take she back. i mean, i mighta love she bad bad, but back then, wha’ i could offer a woman like that?
jestina had one sweet body, smooth and muscular, but curves, a real woman body. the face mightna’ be nutting, but the body…boooyyy…and she could cook! if you only taste this woman hand you put she in house one time. and like she making stew-chicken from thin air, because them days i never had a dollar self to let my woman buy something special for we for dinner every now+then. and still that woman throw down in the kitchen, no matter how little she had to wuk with. she real look after yuh boy. bes’ ting…all i had was a little small hustle. how i keeping a woman like that?
i try my bes’, eh. everyting else i coulda do, i do- stop checking other gyal, rein back in the liming with the boys little bit, pick up after meself in the flat, help she maintain the place, nah…i woulda do anyting i thought woulda keep she. but with no real prospects, when the man come for she, what i could say? i love you? nah man, love not enough, not enough to put food on she table and nice clothes on she back and jewellery+shoes to go with the frock…and jestina deserve all them ting, i wanted to gi’ she them ting, was wukkin on all them ting, but the man reach and my house eh in order yet, so…
i watch she go. she pack up the upstairs flat on picton street, i take my few tings back by my mudda, and that was that, although even after i move my tings i stay with she right up until the man come. every night i would try and go by my mudda house and instead find myself on jestina front step. and she was good to me even then, she let me in, feed me, let me sleep in she bed, and never make me feel like i was less man for not saying, “stay, and lemme take care of you…” i think she know i wanted to but know too she couldn’t wait on me to be ready, neither…she was older than me and used to talk ‘bout wanting a family, and he was taking she to a whole new life where she didn’ need to wuk in no parlour and could cock up she foot and let him mind she and all the chirren she wanted to make…
take wha’ i telling you and doh let yuh boys and they stupid talk steer you wrong: get your business in order. when the woman come along that make you want to be the bes’ man you could be, you bes’ had be ready, ‘cause no amounta pummpumm will make missing out on she less fuckup. trust me, that is the one sorrow you cyah drown in punani.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this ms. bartels, a third spin on the story. One in a play, one in song and now one in an fff


4:26 pm  

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Monday, March 14, 2011

the unbearable sadness of jouvay and too-small mas

walking up the avenue from cut+clear to the corner by the stadium where trucks await, where we meet the band, become the band, where music+bodies+vibes congregate to start the only orgy i ever been interested in, not for the sex but for self and the leggo of self and becoming more self than self in losing self, selfless...walking up the avenue to meet the band is the saddest moment. this is when i realise ting about to start and i excited but so sad because now is a matter of mere hours before the bes' part of the year, of life, perhaps, done with no more for a whole nother year. i almost cyah bear the moments before jouvay start because it already nearly done.
stop typing to clear tears enough to watch my heart take shape in black letters onscreen; i know i not ready to write this yet, this is why every year my carnival post ridiculously late, or never, like las' year, drafted but unpublished, unfinished, it makes me too sad. but i have tabs open on my screen days now, i somehow cyah read wha' anybody else say this year until i finally say wha' i wanna say every year. i trying to not let the tears wash away the words this year and ironically, it might be because of some photographs so wonderful they truly doh need my thousand-words, that make me wish i was there every time i see them even though i was, photos of a carnival season culminating is a bes' jouvay that show me myself so joyful+powerful i sometimes didn't recognise that girl when the photographer showed them to me. al*s gorgeous captures of the show+jouvay remind me that recording a response to these moments and experiences is wha' i here for, for those of us who aren't.
anybody who know me can tell you how i start vocalising my longing for jouvay jus' before christmas, when i feel i cyah keep it to myself no more, 9months long enough. then after ole years night i start asking in earnest: is time for jouvay yet? then once the 3canal show start rehearsing i feel like surely it mus' be tomorrow any day now, and when the show open i on the verge of exploding every time i realise i still have daaays to wait after waiting the longest year of my life for this nex' jouvay, the las' one always sooo looong excitement builds, i feel i eh go make it, cyah stop asking if is time yet, i start walking in the middle of the road from canboulay carnival friday morning 5am, think i'ma die if the las' days doh pass right now in this breath, until walking up the avenue, all my excitement melts into sadness at the imminent end of the bes' time ever and i almost cry in the road. i keep it together though, put on my jouvay warrior face for the characters out there with me and know that once i hit the corner and paint and laventille riddim section hit me i will know nutting mostly, for the nex' brief eternity, except the few random moments when i look out of my joy long enough to see those sharing it with me and know we will not be together like this again for a whole nother year.
my sadness is similar when people ask if i play mas and i say: nah, jouvay is all i need, once i play jouvay, i good (especially if i in the 3canal show, tha's my mas for the season, stretched weeks-long). is true, jouvay and the canalshow is all i need, i doh even miss feteing, but i do miss (not enough to ruin jouvay, but still miss) mas with minsh. after seeing my mother play minshall mas every year my whole life plus eventually being in the mascamp making my own costume and others, i eh see any designer since bring anyting that make me want to play. i promise myself i will play the year i inspired to make my own mas, and know with paul kain incorriging, it go happen, but meanwhile, i saddened by the lack of design-variety in the current carnival market.
i eh ponging bikini+beads. i might not be playing it, but i have no problem with it either and doh see bikini bands as the death of carnival. my philosophy is always that everybody should have the carnival they want once it doh infringe on others, whether that be 500lb. women in 8oz. bikinis, old men in 9,000feathers, children beating crix pans covered in oil+blue, doctor wining low in the canalwater (big-up mar for a lyric beggin' to get tief)- everybody is somebody, doh 'fraid. play yuhself! wha' i take issue with is ropes and general exclusivity of certain arenas, anti-carnival; the death of mas is in the lack of options; bikini bands have as much a right to carnival as traditional mas, they provide a service for which there's apparent demand and their patrons deserve the carnival they want too. the problem is that there aren't enough bands offering alternatives.
we have macfarlane (doh ever appeal to me, but helps provide options) bringing a big-band alternative, skullduggery might be the start of someting new (didn't see it tuesday, boo me), folks like robert young and ashraph bring lovely small bands whose masqueraders help/create their own costumes, a few individuals like the inimitable paul kain doing their own ting, plus some communities still make their own mas, but where are the designers to fill the gaps between tribe and macfarlane, and between macfarlane and minshall? bikini bands doh need to trample carnival if a lack of re-evolution leaves a gaping hole where fully-conceptualised costumes used to dance, insteada the green section roped neatly between the red and yellow, followed by the blue+brown version.
bikini bands deliver exactly what they promise, give them that; wha' we need is the promise of more...
walk good.

*alvin k. henry's photographs (including top of this post) of the 2011 3canal show and jouvay, from rehearsal in bohemia through 1st night in the still-under-construction-carib, tech+run, plus jouvay; feast your eyes:


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Friday, March 11, 2011

flash fiction friday #39

been a hot minute since we flash fictioned, but once i finish fff#38 it was all about 3canal carnival show+jouvay, and me eh really check for allyuh until ash thursday. but timing was good- nobody else fff until this week anyway, so i right on time with flash fiction friday #39 (inclusion)trigger: rain, reign, rein, stair, stare, steer.
rules of engagement:
you will send in your suggestions for flash fiction friday triggers (starter sentences/phrases, closers, titles, inclusions, etc.) anytime during the week up to 11.55a.m. friday, trinbago timezone; i will post the new fff trigger by noon friday trinbago timezone.*
if your trigger is not chosen and you think it is too brilliant not to be chosen, you will send it in again the next week.
you will write an anecdote, short story, or novel length prose poem using the trigger provided.
you will add comments and appropriate linkage to my trigger-post indicating your desire to participate and the completion of your piece (don't need a blogger/gmail account to comment on my blog).
you may join in at any time prior to the deadline.*
you will display your piece as a post on your own blog (or as a comment on my trigger-post or fasbook note or whatever, once we can all read it- please make sure we can all access the link to read it, not just those who are your friends on fasbook; there's a way to create public links for that, right?).
you will be done by monday noon trinbago timezone.*[in light of collective busyness and my general mentality, i not pressed about these deadlines 'cause i'd rather have fun reading late than never, so if you want to fff past deadline, go through hard, just make sure you comment on the appropriate trigger-post so we know which it belongs to, and if is a real old trigger, comment on the most recent post as well so we know something new to back-back+read...if nobody fffs i'll leave the same trigger up until at least 1person other than myself writes a piece]*
write fresh!
walk good.


Blogger sweet trini said...

forgot to say i was in+done, coupla posts above this on mainpage...walk good.

9:01 am  

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