Trinidad Diary Series -Part III
never ever drink in life again namely because I had no idea of the one
tequila, two tequilas, three tequilas, floor truism. It’s an ugly vile
habit that can kill people. First have to get over dislike of people who
have beatific smiles on their faces and say they don’t need to drink to
have a good time. How else can you get over the boredom of seeing the same
faces over and over and over again, bursting your eardrums with songs
about sapodillas and nine inch bananas?
the gentle-looking baby faced waiter in a restaurant tonight what he
thought of women who got drunk. His oily face hardened and sounding like a
Bin Laden faithful, he says with mindless fervour: “Women who drink are
disgusting. Women should always be pleasant and carry themselves with
dignity” like an inert smiling passive spineless puppet. “They should
not cheapen themselves with alcohol or cigarettes.”
about men who smoke and drink?” I asked.
not so bad. “ He replied.
standards prevail. Men buy Playboys, empty video shops of pornography, and
swerve into curbs while staring at the curve of a hip and thigh, but the
women they “respect” have to be Mother Theresa. They will be ogling at
the naked female bodies while they play mas but will, in some corner of
their brain, also censure them.
another day in paradise. A “passenger bandit” slits a taxi drivers
throat especially after the victim pleaded with his bandit to take
everything but spare his life. And a middle-aged man gets shot point blank
on Broome Street while his six-year-old son watches. Another three
tourists go home after armed men rob them on their way to Glencoe from
mind, poison, the colour of blood and the textures of bile flows
throughout our streets from Toco to St Clair. No one wants to listen when
Minshall says that Carnival is an equaliser, it magnifies our social and
economic stratifications - We have “ mostly white” bands and “mostly Indian
people bands” and “mostly black people bands” and “mostly upper
class bands”, the “artsy bands’, and so on, and the amount of
protection you receive is related to how much you pay.
only antidote to the poison is to pour back some of the taxes, and riches
to the people who need it the most - towards alleviating poverty but I
guess it is more important to have a paved savannah and a new airport and
run the private sector without any labour laws - long hours, and pittance
wages. Let the gap widen. Let them eat cake. Let them slit throats
randomly. It’s related.
- Dusty golden twilight. The breeze carries lime and jasmine perfume into
the conversation on the porch. The big man - (in the ways that it counts -
heart, depth and a generous spirit) was saying there are three things he
will never change - his religion, his mas (Berkley) and his steel band
steel bands were named after the famous movies of our day: Casablanca,
Renegades, Desperadoes. Each section in the bands would practice their
part with feathers so they wouldn’t detune the pan - (that was before
they started chroming them)- and just before they were ready to push the
pans out on the streets the band would hear their tune together for the
was watching All Stars panmen stack the bottom half of their steelpans
with empty bottles and cover it with leaves waiting to block Invaders at
Frederick and Oxford. Listening to Pierrot Grenades, French puppets who
would challenge each other Shakespeare, and historical figures, with their
swish swish swish of the boots of a thousand strong army band, and seeing
them fellers crawl commando style through Independence Square and the year
pan shook when Despers came out with their big guns, giving pans a wider,
deeper range; chipping, to Handels’ Messiah in between kaiso tunes at
lady who said if she wasn’t playing Berkley she wasn’t playing mas
says she fell in love with his band after Paradise Lost. Her words tumbled
out the years in a rapidly unfolding bolt of cloth. “The “Secrets of
the Sky” was her favorite, moon, stars, rainbows, rain, sunshine, and
there was the “Titanic” with the enormous bottle of champagne on the
bow, the chandelier, engine room and ballroom sections, and “Le
Bijou;” as she spoke I could see her imagination and her heart rising
higher and higher into the evening sky.
for some, exodus for others. The woman making roti swivels as she rolls
her dough; people chip, not cross streets.
camps, costumes, tailors, vital supplies at groceries, raised heartbeats.
leave or dig a hole and stay there till Tuesday
the Lord of Bacchus bless us.