A drawing done for me by an ancient Japanese calligrapher while I was on a Fellowship with the Foreign Press Centre,Japan
I may still call you that, may I not, Honourable Sir, at least for this last day when you may hold that title? But who knows, eh? Twenty-four hours is a long time – as the last several hours must have proven for you – on our political stage which never fails to put on a greater show than the greatest show on earth, don’t care who we shame, once there is a stage and all the better if there are some flashing local and foreign media lights, ent?
Some, like Sparrow, say I am a prophet/ess of doom and gloom ‘cause it seems for the past 30 years or so I have been wildly waving me own individual flag that we on some merry go round and round – lots of false starts and stops, and political comings and goings, and sinking ships and even an attempted coup, but the same spinning-top-in-mud, and all ah we still laughing and asking ‘Who’s Yuh Leader’ like when that MP Joseph Toney was in the Parliament Red House get stalled in midsentence with cross talk, ducking bullets from the insurrectionists, just like them little little children in Laventille getting their life stop dead dead in their literal life tracks by flying bullets.
Letter signalling intentin to resign from His Worship, the Mayor of Portof Spain, Honourable Tim Kee, issued February 13, 2016
Honourable Worship, Sir, Mr Mayor, like you, humming Kitchener, beautiful lyrics The Carnival Is Over I too wake up Ash Wednesday, and jus’ like dat, ask Paul Keen’s Douglas, in one go, woman strangled, you talk yuh talk, and suddenly I feel this breeze, whipping up and in no time at all it like a hurricane – although the hurricane season, like the Party, Done! But them there breezes blowing stronger and harder than the, Mighty Sparrow’s Phillip, My Dear! Them there breezes, loaded like guns with Sahara Dust from them there Arabian Desert, carrying something else too, Mr Mayor, Sir, are you feeling the feeling, like Shadow, are you getting the symptoms, because it feels very much, Sir, like the Arab Spring.
Imagine that! Arab Spring in we tropical clime, oui! The thought makes me feel like laughing ‘til meh belly bust, but I suspect Sir, that for you, it is no laughing matter, like them there people wine-ing up their almost naked bum-bum like they have kaka roach in they petticoats!
Your Worship Sir, is true, I only met you twice, and both times you were polite, attentive, and open to dialogue, much unlike some other company you keep, so I am sure, as you read this – because I believe you, Honourable Worship Sir, are a reading man who have no time for all that kindda stupidness, that you are as sceptical as the sceptics were when some similar pronouncement about Sahara Dust settling over we land was made to the meteorological scientific world by we very own native weatherman, Robin Maharaj. I am not sure if he is any relative to that other lewd-lyricked and lusty-prancing-up-she-big-big-some-say-fake-behind Nikki Minaj-cum-Maharaj born and bread Trinbagonian via St James, and proud migrant from the Burgesses of the Illustrious City of Port-of-Spain, in the way we just like to chase every Tom, Dick and Harrilal outta town.
Let me tell you about this Arabian Sahara Dust and Arab Spring ting, if you didn’t know, and I know that some politicians are pretty limited in their knowledge of national history – who could blame them with so much other things to deal with like wrecking people’s car and chasing scrunting-like-Scrunter vendors off the streets who shouting no no dey not going home like the kaiso-man-turn-gospel-singer, because Poverty Is Hell, Shadow knows, and Singing Sandra’s Voices from the Ghetto too.
Maharaj – the one named for a bird, not the one who sings like a maco macaw bird, shaking up she some say fake bumsie – had posited to the tickled-pink-like-Nikki-Minaj-scientific-world that the clouds over the South Americas was Sahara Dust and they laugh him outta here, oui! And then they get dust in they face, if I might steal a phrase from our beloved bard, David Rudder, like some of them there lewd dancers on the streets steal a wine fuh Carnival over the last two days, and some of them just asking for it, end up with no valentine, bus’ head, or dead, oui, like young Asami, maybe, who knows, because all that attention on You Honourabe Sir, have the authorities bazodee, they don’t know if they goingto catch criminal stranglers or coming to catch woman wine-ing on City Hall, because them woman know they cyar fight City Hall with guns and thing like the authorities, so the bacchanalists just wine-ing dong the place, like the Queen of bacchanal Destra’s Lucy.
If you ask me, I would like to bottle the Carnival wine, like the French bottle their wines, and submit it to UNESCO for both for outstanding universal value as an element of tangible cultural heritage, and for the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, but they say who is me, I aint no expert winer gyul, and only a closet country-bookie flag woman, and everybody and Kitchener know you have no band without an experienced flag woman,
Mr Mayor, I sympathise. I see how puzzled you and, and not you alone, plenty plenty more mayos and men and some women too are, because on the one hand they saying this is about what you say about woman, and woman is boss, as if you didn’t know that; and then they say it is about diplomacy, but you know Mr Mayor, nobody tell you yet, so I would tell you here, it is al of that and more. It is about the people and we culture and every Trini to the Bone person or politician worth a two cents know dont mess with we culture, because How We Vote Is Not How We Party! We fight hard hard for them freedoms, as if you and them so called historians dont remember Canboulay, and Hosay and Slavery and Indentureship and the licks and the kicks and the abuse and the dominance over we bodies – we fight Mr Mayor, we already pay with we blood and sweat and tears and plenty plenty of we children life for them rights and freedoms so what respectful right, Mr Mayor Sir, you or anybody have to read we the riot act about rights and responsibilities. Somebody have to say it Mr Mayor, you understand, it is bout de culture!
Already trying hard enough to not see the drugs and guns slipping through we borders in this borderless world, like we try hard to not see the Sahara dust, now we have to pretend that the Arab Spring thing too will pass, but we have to be careful, Mr Mayor, because if at least we could learn from history, though some historians can’t, no one will be left unscathed if what they saying about the Arab Srping fever is true.
Them things have no passport saying ‘I is a Trini’, like you, me and Benjai, yet it seems no Rottweiler nor Doberman could ban them and chase them away, so they bulldoze their way through we borders, Machel-like Like a Boss, blowing over from the Arabian desert and across them there Gulf seas and onto we oceans and look them now hanging over we own Gulf – of Paria, and over the skyscapes and settling on the landscapes like if they are home with their Jahaji Bhai and nah leaving, and only prepared to just wine to the side like plenty TriniBagonians no matter how hard they trying to push we out.
It aint nice, this Arab Spring fever; it could be too late, Mr Mayor Sir, mark meh prophesying words, it could be too late when the clouds clear, check the Economist.
Mr Honourable Mayor, Sir, the prognosis is this thing as deadly as Zika because it could cause everybody henceforth to be born with small heads, and smaller brains and other parts too, if you know what I mean – if that is possible, for some.
It may be, Honourable Worship, Sir, that this is the climate change that the world has been tra-la-la-ing ‘bout – tout bagai. It’s been coming, coming like a the Buurokeets Carnival band descneding down Calvary Hill, coming for the last 30 years, springing from all the failed dreams and hopes of the people since Independence, from One Love, jumping over the split-ups and the mash-ups, the attempted coup that still hauntng us, the deadlock, and re–wedlocks and woman time and them time and we time. Chaguanas West wiggle its finger, warning and still no one listen and then we vote in and we vote out and it still seem nobody listening and now it here, and it on we doorstep, chanting a Womantra but is really an eternal and age old chant for freedom.
Your Worship, it going to need plenty plenty prayers and it going to need plenty plenty inspiring and forward looking and thinking leadership if we going to avoid the mess that the Economist say the rest of them Arab Spring timers in. As respectable and honourable a gentleman as I am sure you are Sir, who loves and cares for women just as much as the other guy and as an honoured and respected leader of men, as you have proven since you already take the lead in resigning and we hope some of them others will follow the leader and do the same too and admit that they need some education in civics and gender sensitivity, not to mention in diplomacy, and culture sensitivity.
But more about that for when we meet nah. You know, we still have that meeting pending. I don’t care that come tomorrow you don’t have office nor title. Boy, believe me, I know the feeling as you well know they trying that thing with me too – they say I have no office nor either, so they say. But Your Worship, Sir, I could show you how you don’t need either to serve the people, serve the people, serve the people.
Join me, let we start the education nah – gender, culture, diplomacy, civics, rights, responsibilities and respect, yes, respect – that’s what the people want because the people ent takng dat so, check 3Canal, they always welcoming people, ordinary people, everyday people, fighting to see we way, with no office or title or power, join we, nah, and leh we give the people what the people want – truth, rights, bread and justice, respect.
I will be the first to admit, all this must sound to you like literary fiction, like it does to plenty others, or like one of them crazy, loony vagrants in some madman rant Rudder-style who take shelter right under the eye and office of the Mayor – no respect for the office, if not the man, nah, all day, all night sprawling under the spreading samaan trees brought from India like me foreparents, and pouting poui trees planted in Woodford Square – to cover up what – you cyar tell meh, ent? Well, I bet you, neither can them who call themselves historians.
Mr Mayor, all I ask, humble bared naked and shorn off costume, decorations office and title, join me leh we boom up the history of betrayal and violence in we blood-soaked soil – domestic violence, verbal violence, gun violence, violence against women and children, tourists and ordinary people too who are just collateral damage. We would start by educating the educators who responsible for educating others, eh, what yuh say. We could talk some more more about that when we meet, you name the date, I named the place – on that bench in Woodford Square – you know the one I mean.
And Happy Valentines, since I know you probably not feeling too much love right now, I sending you its kin, some in Peace – both by the song in that link, Peace, and the image in this page that was given to methree decades ago when I left my home for the first time for a foreign land on the trust that the host country will keep me safe and return me safely home. It did. That was Japan, and the image, the ancient Caligrapher who only signed his name as you see it there, told me it means Peace. I am sharing that with you, as well as the photo of that monument that preserves the horrendous ravishes of war, which we hope, we can save our country from, and from the Arab wasteland, create our own Spring.