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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