Saturday, May 31, 2008

Icarus dreams

One year, I lived in an apartment block nestled in a valley of sorts in the Northern Range. The view from the porch was a spectacular close up of Cumberland Hill and the various crowning antenna. Many a rainy night, with most of the lights turned off, Dog and I would curl up together in the arm chair lodged in the midst of the potted plants, the porch just wide enough to sit, have an occasional draft of wet but not get wet. There we'd spend hours watching the show as lightening danced over the spiky spires at the top of the hill. You could smell the dry, metallic odor of electricity and feel the air bristle with it. We were far enough away that it was entertaining but close enough to marvel at the colours. Who knew lightening could be pink, blue and red!

One day, a then friend trying to share an experience took me up there. In hindsight I think we were both mad. Even then, it was not the safest place, mostly deserted, the track overgrown with bush in places. But despite being old enough to know better, secure in our stupidity and blind faith that we would be able to overcome anything, we parked the car and hashed our way up to the observation tower.

Trinidad spread out before us, we were royalty looking over our subjects, or the only people on earth; Diego Martin, Westmoorings, Carenage and the Five Islands on one side; St. James, Port of Spain, a glimpse of the Caroni Swamp, Point a Pierre and in the faint distance, Venezuela. A topographical map of varying shades; bluish grey, concrete, moss green, forest green, green green, from that distance it was like looking at a monopoly board, the buildings insignificant. The wind was the only noise, the higher we climbed that tower, the cleaner the air smelled, the lighter we felt. Nothing to anchor us to the ground other than the fragility of our bodies, like Icarus, we wanted to fly, instead, we sat on the platform. Saying nothing, listening to the hush of air flowing over the wings of the corbeaux as they flew so low overhead you could almost reach out and touch them. Loath to break the peace we sat for what seemed like hours, watching, the towering antenna silent sentinels.

At the time it was dry season, but up there, even though the earth was dry, it lacked the crispiness, the cracks were barely visible through the long grass. The vegetation was lazy, fecund, drooping sensuously against the earth, swept gently back and forth in the breeze. When we got there the sun was well past it's hottest, it was cool so high up, strangely disconnected from the world even while being surrounded by communications tools, it was truly liberating. Almost like being in the sea but without the currents to pull and tug.

I have never been back, preferring my memory of the place rather than having it defiled by current events and the subsequent degradation of the surrounding hillsides. For one perfect moment, I flew with the Corbeaux and knew what it was to rule.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Water child

The Orisha believe that Yemanja, is the Divine Goddess of the Sea and the loving Mother of mankind. For them, we are a product of the sea and the land. The sea is often referred to as a woman, with whims and fancies, a dangerous lover and in recent years we have seen the devastation wrought. But I am truly a child of the islands, happy only with the Atlantic or Caribbean sea lapping against my body, caressing as would a lover or tossing me around with scant regard in an ecstasy of brine, foam and solid rolls of water. It is the ultimate freedom, no anchor other than the power of my body to float or swim.

Out on the water with the salty wind slapping my face, watching as the water changes colour, turquoise, aqua, midnight blue, almost black, it is almost too good. I cannot imagine my ancestors, braving the seas going to the unknown; an Indian woman, leaving home with no husband, a young child and another on the way. A Muslim man who we do not know; the Scots missionary, going to save the natives, bring them to the fold, falling himself; the other bits and pieces that may make up this whole.

On this Arrival Day, I salute them all for finding this place that I call home. Though it may be flawed, we are blessed with no extremes of temperature, sunshine, even when it rains; the possibility of escaping to the beach, having a cold, cold Carib while turning your face to the sun. My friends from the cold north constantly harp on our “wild weekends” and the possibility of skiving off early on Friday to start limbering up for the weekend lime. Trinis as happy go lucky people, we win the football match we celebrate by crowding the bars, we lose the football match, we commiserate by crowding the bars. For us there will be no hooligan fights this weekend. We still sleeping off the after effects of too much curry and roti cooked by all of us, tanned deep by the sun whether from the beach or hanging out in our backyards.

Christopher Cross says it much better than me:


It's not far down to paradise
At least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away
And find tranquility
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

It's not far to never never land
No reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy
Of innocence again
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

Takes me away
To where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

It gets the best of me
When I'm sailing
All caught up in the reverie
Every word is a symphony
Won't you believe me

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Somebody arrival day

Tomorrow being Indian Arrival Day, our offices are filled with people in traditional ethnic wear. For a brief moment this morning, I contemplated my collection of silk saris. Peacock blue, jade green, emerald green, pink, more pink, yellow and gold spilled wantonly across sober dark blue sheets. Vibrant garments which make it impossible to hide. Holding the silky fabric up, wrapping, pleating, draping.

The sari is a truly beautiful garment, designed to flatter the female form, no matter shape and size, it is enticing, sensual and practical. For decades, Indian movie directors, constrained by censors used the sari as the ultimate tease. Wet, clinging it revealed more than it hid with nothing actually showing. It is an elegant garment that can go from being a practical piece of cotton with little embellishment for daywear to glamorous evening wear complete with gold thread, intricately woven patterns or sequins. Every woman looks beautiful in a sari.

Marge, my former mother in law taught me how to wrap a sari. She, who had lived in India and worn them every day, shared the secrets. We did not always see eye to eye Marge and I, but time has dimmed the memory of things we argued over, any hard feelings gone in a haze of live and let live.

An extremely remarkable woman, youthful pictures of her show, not a conventional beauty but a striking woman, impeccably made up, coiffed with glossy hair, oozing style and character; her dreams of becoming a doctor were sacrificed on the altar of duty. Though attending university, her parents could not afford two sets of fees, thus her brother became a dentist, she settled for a teaching certificate while also feeding her passion for design by taking clothing design classes in her free time. Later, in between following my father-in-law around the world as he chased his dreams, raising four children without family to help, she molded minds, teaching language and literature to scores of students, helping many achieve through her assistance.

Throughout my life, she knew me way before I married her son, her bookshelves where plundered to feed my hunger for words. From early on she'd realised that I was different, artsy, creative and offered encouragement. Marge lessons also included how to set a formal dining table, about china and silverware, how to dress with style not follow trends, that is was okay to be creative. She is the first person I knew who bought art, not as accessories for her house but because she loved her paintings. Mom alone has always supported my quest to write. Though we are not blood, we share a love of books, art, food and clothes. When she allows herself, she can be very adventurous; in a way, Mom is responsible for causing me to reach and stretch myself and become more than might have been expected. Though I have not been her daughter in law now for longer than I was married, she still treats me like family on the odd occasions we communicate.

While I rarely wear them now, my first experience at fifteen stands out, Mom coming over with a red silk, handloomed, an heirloom from her India days, dressing me as a doll, slowly wrapping me in it. Pulling out the pleats again and again until they hung just so and the pulloo was draped at the right angle over my shoulder. Beautiful.

Want to learn to wrap your own:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

In the news today

We sure could use a little good news today. After several "heavy" posts I wanted to be light, write something fluffy, easy, pleasurable only because it was fun. And then, I got to my desk and read the headlines on this morning's paper. It was singularly depressing, a sea of discomfiting things. And I thought, do we really need me to re-hash all the wrongs and ills of this world here. No, there are days when I just need to say my piece because it bothers me so.

But to dwell, would not make it any better, while I find it horrific I'm not going to be cowed by it.

So here's the piece that I was thinking of writing.....

Have you ever looked in a woman's handbag? You can tell a lot about a gal from what she totes around. Most women toss everything conceivable in there. The wife of my former brother-in-law used to carry a standard size number. Nowhere near the suitcase I lug around, yet she managed to fit all kinds of gems in there, hand sanitiser, toilet seat covers, breath mints, for most situations she had a fix ensconced in that purse.

Mine is a veritable minefield consisting of:

several notebooks in different sizes - all in varying degrees of use
make up bag stuffed with blotting tissues, brushes, pots of things (largely unused)
8 pens! Who needs that many?
Address book
Cheque book (also largely unused, nobody takes cheques right)
wallet ( with no money in it)
card holder
mobile phone
And about a dozen other miscellaneous items too onerous to mention.

Who really needs to lug around this much crap? Men slip a wallet into their pocket and out the door. Women's handbags are, well, like women. The same way our conversations have sub-texts, hidden nuances only understandable to other women, so too are we, like our handbags filled with unnecessary baggage.

Now I know I'm going to be pilloried for this but hear me out sistah's. Ever notice women take everything personally. When someone compliments us, we have to analyse every word. Men, you tell them they looking nice and they preen happily! It doesn't matter to them whether their shoes match their belt. Who the firetruck cares other than some...woman. Sure you don't want to go out looking like a slug or for that matter, a Woodbrook street corner denizen but c'mon, do you really need six shades of lipstick, four blush and three eye pencils every day? Maybe not right. Is it worth the backache to jack our feet up to dizzying heights in six inch heels that we can barely walk in, lugging around a fifty pound handbag because we cannot bear to leave anything at home, just in case.

Nope, didn't think so. BTW, my suitcase sized handbag has now been purged.
They're killing the children. When will we say enough, stop.

Hope, Amy, Sean Luke, Akiel and how many more that we never hear about, slipping through the cracks, casually, as though they are no more than sand through our fingers.

Shame Trinidad.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I walk the pavements of my city to the park. A dusty street, heat still shimmering on the tar even while the shadows grow longer. Buildings encroaching, spaces growing narrower, hemmed in by roof overhang and concrete. The graceful lines of the Victoria Institute dwarfed by the concrete buttresses of the unfinished building next door, sheets of galvanised iron enclosing a space once hugged by chain link fence, views of the clay courts held within. Gone, now a hole in the ground where society once played.

Still I walk. The open space, a gift to a nation from a coloniser but a playground for hundreds who take their daily constitutional . Coming upon the shacks crouching at the Southern end, redolent of frying food, a hint of corn and split peas, clusters of people gathered waiting for their fix. More people recreating; rugby, running, windball cricket, child flying kite, dog chasing his tail. More smells, hot dust baking, car exhaust,a dash of perfume or sweat, all to the rhythm of traffic, snatches of music, pounding feet and voices.

Going round the rutted, paved track, cracked by inquiring tree roots, watching. Faltering rays of sun, picking through the roofs of trees, skeletal after weeks of no rain, leaving bare arms against the darkening sky. Leaves hanging on for dear life, in the large dust bowl of sleeping grass and more, pounding feet.

Mothers with sleeping babies in push prams, men, seat flying, macho running in the heat, gapers sitting on benches, watching the world go by. We all meet here, where it matters not whether you own the bank or clean the streets. Here we are equal, even though we are separate. This is mine as much as it is yours.

I walk the streets, this is my city.

Monday, May 26, 2008


I had many thoughts about what to write about going through my head. This one stuck: “ Life isn’t as serious as my mind makes it out to be”, from Eckhart Tolle in “Awakening Earth”.

We all go through crap in life, that’s how it’s supposed to be, that’s why humans have this range of emotions. You’re supposed to feel happy, sad, angry etc. Cut yourself some slack, okay.

Food Crisis or imbalance?

While trying feebly to balance my strained budget over the weekend I was examined a stack of receipts and bills to see what I was buying in order to come up with inventive ways to stretch the Trini dollar. What was really important, the MAC foundation that I trowel on each morning that averages about $83 per month or having some room to breathe.

We keep hearing that the world is in food crisis but really, are we? I suspect if asked to compare, refugees of drought, war and famine would beg to disagree. In short, we have managed to make many foods important even though they are not native geographically or can be considered treats not staples. If you are dependent on another man for your figurative bread you will always be hooked. Humans started life as hunter-gatherers; we foraged off the land and learned to live with what was available, seasonal, fresh, survival of the fittest and all that. Still the best way to eat if you think about it.


Why are we so willing to accept stress as a given? You can only be stressed if you allow yourself to be. The first lesson emergency room doctors learn is triage, you attend to the person most in need of help with the greatest survival rate. Translate that to your own life, what is priority, what can you defer. You only have one body, forget multi-tasking where you do a number of things badly.

You ever notice how people in dire circumstances very quickly weed out the extraneous stuff in their lives. Maybe we need to stop buying into the advertising and remember that things do not maketh man.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


For a brief moment yesterday the unremitting dry weather gave way to a sprinkle of wet. It had been promising all afternoon, the low dull throb of humidity, dark grey clouds, threatening but not quite. A sheep in badjohn clothing. It hung there, teasing, almost as though waiting for something else, and then, in an instant, big, fat drops were splatting suicidally against the earth, baked too hard by weeks of sun beating against it. The hope that it might last long enough to at least shake the dust of the plants evaporated as quickly as the droplets clinging to the hot metal of the car hood. It was over, almost before there was time to flick the switch on the windshield wipers.

This morning though, hope springs eternal, The grass in the backyard, worn down and baked into a brown crisp, with that little toying sprinkle, has moved from being at one with the dirt to standing up looking skyward, waiting expectantly for more rain. In spots the greyish brown giving way to yellow and in the more sheltered places, a livid, almost florescent green. Surely the dust kicked up as the dogs raced along the fence, she teasing, wanting to play. Him, male, stupid with longing for his playmate having been denied the pleasure due to a neighbour's barbecue complete with guests the night before. Having to be dragged away before his barking woke up the neighbourhood.

Two buildings over, a resident leans on the railing of her porch, soaking in the early morning stillness, punctuated of course by barking. The cool of early morning had yet to morph into the dread heat of day, a lovely accompaniment to the smell of vanilla flavoured coffee, brewed fresh in the pot turned on by sleepy hands. Two women chattering loudly, on their constitutional, kiskidees crying out in reply from the their perches in the trees lining the road. The traffic has yet to emerge, even the church is quiet now, crouched waiting for the crowd at mass in another few hours.

In a bed with blue, soft cotton sheets, a writer returns for another few moments, maybe to catch a few more winks, or to read, or stare at the grooves in the oat coloured ceiling. Clean now, cobwebs swept away in a burst of cleaning yesterday. The hound sighs, flops down, it is early yet, enough time to race around and bark at the people on the road later. It is Sunday morning.

Friday, May 23, 2008


It's the day after a public holiday. We all know what happens in T'dad on these occasions, there is little morning traffic because fewer people show up for work. My office is a virtual ghost town. What's the sense in having public holidays mid-week? We all know that productivity drops a hundred fold and it really screws up your work flow. You get into holiday mode and then have to switch to switch back. I wonder if those bright people making decisions about these things really think them through. Hold up, we know they don't.

Other than Independence and religious holidays the other stuff is moveable. So wouldn't it make more sense to say, oh, the last Friday in May shall be whatever. That way we all know when the holiday is, people can make their arrangements accordingly. It is time to be smart not politic.

Earlier this week, a Canadian consultant working on organisational reform was horrified at how early people have to get up to traverse to work and how long they sat in traffic. That surely kills your ability to be productive, you lose an average of five hours a day. That's a lot of time. Is it any wonder that "lifestyle" diseases are one of the biggest killers in this country. We spend our time like gerbils on a treadmill, running nowhere. Every afternoon, if you drive down Ariapita Avenue there are hundreds of people avidly liming, as though there is nothing more.

I keep trying to put a positive spin on life, it's my new dispensation if you will. But there are days when even I grow weary of trying.

Have a good weekend everybody!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hey, you

Yeah you. Out there. That's right, I'm talking to you.

Come to think of it, blogging must be one of the most narcissistic activities someone could undertake. With few exceptions most people write about themselves. Sure there are blogs about gardening, cooking, books, astronomy, and a lot of other topics, mostly they're written in the first person. One person writing about their own experiences, tastes, etc. Nothing wrong with that. Some people are really interesting, others not so much. But I wonder, why would anyone want to read about all the stuff that makes its way here at least?

One of the reasons I started this blog was I wanted to know what other people were thinking. Strange eh? Because I could simply read your blog and I do. I think I wanted to put my perspective out there and see what came back. It was also a way to write and maybe to connect with a few like souls out there on the world wide web. That would be you. Because if you read my blog, which is essentially about the way I see the world, admittedly on a lot of caffeine, it means that you have found something you like. Good. Some of you even take the time to post comments. They're all appreciated, really.

This blog has helped me to find my voice again, connect with my family and friends. Not everything makes it here, some things should always be private, once you remember that, blogging can open up a whole world. Wow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'll stop the world

Funny how sometimes you cannot see something right in front your face even though you're looking very hard. For the last year, due to my job, I've undergone more training than when my dog competed in shows, been analysed, personality typed, leadership coached, you name it. A lot of money has been expended to ensure that I am a better manager, but there have been side effects. Sure I've learnt a lot, most of all that a lot this stuff is nice in theory but the practice is sometimes not so practical. I've also realised that self reflection/introspection is not a bad thing but accepting it all can be. A side effect of a lot this type of thing, you get to learn a lot about yourself on the journey. The moral, take the things that are useful to your development, acknowledge the rest and move on. Brooding helps no one least of all yourself!

One thing in front my face was, contrary to my assertion that I don't have a significant other, in fact, I do. He's been my closest friend for nearly twenty years, that's longer than most marriages, including mine. He puts up with my craziness, maybe because he is also a little nuts himself. We've gone through relationship breakups, job loss, death, health issues, some very dark times together. We've also shared some really great moments, he's usually the first person I call when I have good news to share. It goes both ways. He is the only person I know who will, let me take over his washing machine, kitchen etc and then leave me sleeping on his couch while he cleans up. We've always been there for each other. Surely we have never shared bodily fluids nor are we likely to in anything other than a platonic way but that's okay. Yes, we do fight from time to time but we get over it. We've learnt to accept each other just the way we are. Now doesn't that sound like a long term relationship?

You will never find one person who satisfies your every need, instead, different people will bring their own qualities to your life and you to theirs. It is finding that ground to acknowledge people's places in your life; you can marry someone, love them with every fibre of your being, but that does not mean you should spend every waking moment with them. As humans, in relationships, we try to own people, we get jealous when someone outside provides something we cannot, not understanding that you must trust your partner and they in turn must trust you. We also need to know when a situation does not work for us anymore and when to move on. Difficult, yes. Necessary, yes. There are many ways to love, you have to find what works for you.

If you need some help, I have lots of e-mail and phone contacts for counsellors, trainers, coaches etc.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hip, hype or hot

Hot - something in demand or looking good.

Hype, extravagant or intensive promotion - a deception carried out for the sake of publicity.

Hip, informal following the latest fashion

Marketing - the 4 P's Product, place, price, promotion

Advertising the activity or profession of producing advertisements for commercial products or professional services

You are forgiven for thinking that I might have lost my mind, that happened years ago. What's with the stuff above? It seems to me, that stuff has taken precedence over those values and qualities that are most important.

My version of hot - the kind of day that makes you want to drop everything and go to Maracas Beach to work on your tan. The burning on my tongue when I have a good chow.

Hype - go away, I don't believe anything you have to say. Why can't you be sincere?

Hip, a projection of the pelvis and upper thigh bone on each side of the body in bipeds and quadrupeds. Mine is kind of shaky right now.

Why is it that most men think women want hype and marketing instead of honesty and sincerity? The packaging might be nice but fellas, I don't care how good you look and smell, if you're only about lyrics and no substance, get away. That's goes for you too ladies.

So now you know.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dancing lady

Stuart Hahn, a local artist, did the work you see here; I was first introduced to his work by a teenage boyfriend who lived down the street from the Hahn’s. If memory does not lie, the work was a black and white drawing of an anatomically correct male figure being subjugated, the technique showed great delicacy though the subject matter was, to my untrained eye, a trifle risqué. I was fascinated and hooked ever since.

Though I am not equipped to do scholarly art reviews, I’ll leave that to the pros, I have been around the art world long enough to know, Stuart is special. He does not dabble, flitting from this media to that and his work is not a series of trite “sceneries”, and he remains true to his form and works at perfecting it. However, his art is not the basis of our friendship. You see, I admire him for many other things, most of all his courage and conviction.

It cannot have been easy to walk in his shoes, and though it is not my place to reveal his life, let us say that though he is a middle class white man, he does not stick to type. Some days, when I need to take a break from the constant pressure of work, being able to barge into his life via telephone is what helps to save my sanity. In a way, it is like having Carlisle back, they’re both quite irascible but so am I. We talk about lots of things, his work, mine, life in general, love, he respects my opinions though he does not always agree with me, and I his. It is a generous giving of that most precious commodity, time, it means a great deal to me.

Stuart’s work reveals much about him; it is meticulous, time consuming with attention to detail. He cares about his work, while it is for sale,that is not what drives him to create. When he uses colour it is in overlays, using coloured pencils instead of paint. The art critics refer to it as illustration and they are right in one respect, he illustrates a depth of feeling that is hard to get from other more robust media. Some of his work has a naughty joy to it, there is a particular piece, the inspiration is from One Thousand and One Nights. The Caliph is fondling the breast of his paramour, his expression is priceless, one day I hope to own this piece for the pleasure it gives me to look at it.

I envy him, he his true to his calling, he has chosen to make his way in the world doing what he has to do.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Technical difficulties....

That sounds like something TTT used to say back in the day when the screen went blank. In the last week especially, it's been extremely difficult to log into both my e-mail and blogger accounts. My patience is not limitless, that's no secret, so I moved on over to wordpress as my back up plan. If you're interested, it's Sometimes it will the same, sometimes not. You just never know until you go.

Friday, May 16, 2008

10 Reasons why spin class is obnoxious

If David Letterman can do this, who's me!

1) You're on a bicycle to nowhere.

2) You're on a bicycle pedaling really hard, going nowhere.

3) You're INDOORS on a bicycle pedaling really hard to go nowhere.

4) The overly fit instructor keeps shouting at you.

5) The overly fit, energiser bunny instructor is clearly too cheerful/sadistic

6) You have to wear faffy clothes to sweat, as opposed to sweats.

7) You spend most of the time watching other people's butts unless you're in front.

8) The music is techno and sounds like everyone is on X.

9) Your legs feel funny for hours after, like you've been to sea and can't get your land legs back.

10) You're breathing in the same air as twenty/thirty other sweaty, panting other people.

Did I mention how much I hate the gym. No kidding right. I used to do aerobics, in a gym and in a pool, I used to lift weights, heck I actually used to wear the faffy clothes. But now that I'm older, and age brings wisdom and all that, I found that I preferred actually doing stuff, especially if I wasn't confined. Take me kayaking, swimming or biking, where you actually go places, see things. Twenty years of off and on yoga have allowed me to manage myself.

I know, some people like their exercise to feel like work so that they can virtuously say they WENT TO THE GYM. Or they ran 20 miles today. Good for you if you enjoy it! Otherwise, unless you're Masai running across the veldt or a marathon runner (and they all mad), why do we have to make exercise a chore. Walking the dog around our pavement challenge is a hell of a lot more entertaining thanks!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chronicles III

Sir Winston Churchill, served as British Prime Minister during the Second World War and was an early proponent of what became the sound bite. His wartime speeches, immortalised through the magic of BBC Radio were written the way he meant to read them. You can read more about Churchill's illustrious career at

"We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

In 1961, at the height of the cold war, John F. Kennedy, US President captured the imagination of the world with his speech that signaled America's intention to win the moon race. It was really an attempt to mitigate the effects of communism and the war in Vietnam. The full text can be found

" First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations--explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon--if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there."

These are two examples of great Leaders speaking to their publics. While it may be said that they both had great speech writers, and no one disputes this, one hallmark of great leaders is their ability to convincingly deliver declarative statements and rouse the listener to action. Churchill arrived early in the Communications revolution but quickly realised the power at hand. He stirred England and cemented his place in history because of how widespread his audience was, for the first time, messages could be heard by a great number of people at the same time.

His nemesis Adolf Hitler was also an early adopter of technology and it has been said, repugnant though it might be to contemplate, had the medium of television been available to him, the outcome of the war might have been different. Hitler in fact used film and radio to great effect in Germany and across Europe to spread his message and even today, his techniques are still studied by communications students.

Today, radio, television and print media play a small part in the huge communications links that bring the world together into a small global village. Events occuring in one hemisphere can be transmitted instantly at the touch of a button and as fast as you can upload. The sound bite is common and we have up to the minute news. The World Wide Web got it's start from a bunch of Geeks at CERN in Geneva who were using Web technology when computers still filled a room and we were talking COBOL and FORTRAN. Bet you don't know what that is! You probably don't know what punch cards are either but that's how you coded information for computers then. In the space of one century we've made huge strides in technology, made it smaller, more widely available and cheaper to use. We take for granted our ability to google, instant message and all the other those other things. Do we really need 120 channels on tv, 200 radio stations cluttering up the airwaves, yet another version of the iPod? We can however, respect that information is one of the most valuable tools we have as humans. Kennedy charged us to go to the moon, funny that we've not been back in thirty eight years, but we still benefit from discoveries made as man made his giant leap into space.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

School Daze or in a daze

Do any of you remember school bazaars? Oh come on now, of course you do, stop pretending! For all of us who grew up in the eighties, school bazaars were the equivalent of Movietowne. A place you could go to, sanctioned by your parents, after all it was a school event, meet up with "people", and generally have a good time.

For those of you too young or foreign to remember, the school bazaar or fair is a particular ritual. There was a calendar of them, held by "prestige school" , those who were aided but not abbetted by the Government, to raise funds for various school activities. They used to raise a fair amount of money though I'm not sure who was spending their money on games, jumble and book stall. Food and the Disco were the hot ticket items.

Ah ha, now I see allyuh nodding, you know what I'm talking about. All the girls dressing up in the latest mini-skirt, lace gloves, frilly top and hat, a la Madonna. Yes, it was the 80's you know. Hair teased out to there and God help us, socks and high heels! Stacy and Clinton be damned, we all thought we looked hot! There we were playing hard to get when the purpose of all that primping was to hook up with some boy or other and dance your brains out.

We were all flailing arms, head banging to My Sharona, Rock Lobster and Cars. It was hilarious in a way, all these girls, moving like a pod of fish, all hopping up and down like Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club. We were stars! Of course with all the raging hormones it was expected that the object of your affections would notice you, you might even end up getting kissed furtively. Some more daring people managed to fit in a whole lot more. It was a great time though we didn't know it. We were too busy being cool and fretting about how much the latest cretinous boy lurved us. This ritual was repeated right through bazaar season, it was our only outlet.

This month my high school BFF and I got into contact with each other after 20 years. She used to be my partner in crime, I think those hair do's we affected were crimes by the way. We spent hours getting ready for these outings. She was a really gorgeous girl, fortunately she also had a great personality and was a huge amount of fun to hang with. We got into all sorts of trouble together and I thank her. She let me be me. So Lis, in case I hadn't said it, thanks girl! But you could have told me about the hair you know.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Time in a bottle

John, the mad Irish man introduced me to Tom Waits, or rather his music. With his bourbon soaked voice and languid persona he wasn't an obvious choice of listening material in the heady eighties with all that synthesizer music but I can still remember the first time I heard Downtown Train. Rod Stewart later covered the song but for me, Tom Waits drunkenly drawing out the notes, piano in the background will always be a reminder of furtive motorcycle rides, roaring up the Main Road hoping not be spotted, feeling alive. Where did that go?

Folk singer Tim Hardin had a song called "Reason to Believe", this has come to symbolise every failed relationship that I've ever had. But I still love the song. Ironically, also covered by Rod Stewart. This song, beautiful through it's cruelty, haunting reminder. How much we hang on to that we cannot change.

"If I listened long enough to you, I'd find a way, to believe it all was true.
Knowing, that you lied straight faced, while I cried.
Still I look to find a reason to believe

Rod Stewart has, as far as I know, never covered Jim Croce's, Time In a Bottle. I have to thank Arthur for Jim, both of them, it was he who gave me my love of comic books and the two Jim's Morrison and Croce. We spent endless days listening to vinyl albums while lying on his bed at his parent's house. All very chaste I might add. There was and still is a hypnotic quality to Morrison's music. We could get high without getting high. Our depression a background noise to the soundtrack of LA Woman. The other Jim was easy listening, the stuff that we sang along too while sitting in a park watching the clouds. This between my having to fly to work at one job or other.

I am reminded of the fragility of human life. We take time so much for granted but who really knows, after all, today is all we have, tomorrow a promise. Stop waiting for that which will not happen and rejoice in what is happening now.

"But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That youre the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you"

Therapy dog

Have you ever bathed a large, furry dog? If your large animal is anything like mine it will be a fun experience with flying fur, baleful looks, dog shampoo everywhere and I do mean everywhere. My dog does not object to baths the way some animals do, he loves water; that is he loves water in his bowl, he loves the beach where there is lots of water to chase and bark at, he loves to lie in the bathroom where it is cool or to share your bath. Official dog bath time, well that's something else!

I have found it expedient to bath the dog while washing the car. Call it multitasking or water conservation or whatever you will, if I'm going to be soaked from head to toe there might as well be some greater purpose. For some reason the hound objects to outdoor baths, mayhap it compromises his street cred, all I know is he spends a great portion of the time barking hysterically and looking as though I have done him wrong. He manages to get hair all over the car, even though he's usually not anywhere near enough for it to have happened.

When occupying the shower, it is not unusual for the hound to walk in, to be forcibly ejected otherwise he'd drip all over the house. I used to give him his bath in there since there is less space for him to run away. First you have to get the water the right temperature, then you have to soak him well, he has an undercoat. Not an easy job with a reluctant ninety pound dog, a chunky owner and a slippery, tiled bathroom stall. He usually tries to make a break for it, trailing leash, dog shampoo and water all over. Followed by me alternately cursing, slipping on the tiles and trying to catch hold of the lead. We then get to rinse and repeat. This is all followed by a vigorous towel on the back steps in the sun, he's usually firmly tethered to prevent rolls in the backyard. While he suns I drag my sorry self back into the bath for clean up.

Do you know how much hair one dog can shed? Pounds. It takes forever to get it out of the drain, the corners, the top of the wall. Yup, just about anyplace you can think of. You either have to rinse everything off to get rid of the shampoo residue, scrub frantically, after all, I have to bathe in here too, it takes about as long as it does to wash the car! Meanwhile the faithful is yapping frantically on the back steps assuming that he has been forgotten. Bath done, I then have to mop the corridor before slumping in the shower trying to get dog off of me. At long last I get to collapse on the couch, large drink in hand and newly washed hound draped across feet. Can you ask for better therapy?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Civil living

Still, it's early yet outside the air is already expanding with heat,
No morning dew on the cracked earth in the backyard.
Cloudless sky, nothing to stop the bright yellow sun,
from beating mercilessly down on the earth.
Another hot day in the tropics.
By lunchtime the heat will be rising through our veins.

Colonial literature, the types of books written
when Britannia, the little robber nation, ruled the world.
The servants put out your bathwater at five and got to preparing supper.
Children were stilled and powdered while the ladies of the house, trussed up like so many
chickens in their layers of muslin prepared to welcome the conquering husband.
Pink gins, endless games of cricket, dropping calling cards,hosting dances for the amusement of the bored,
all very civilized. If you didn't conform to the rigidity of the system you were "letting the side down".
God forbid that you did. Stiff upper lip, grin and bear it, for God and King were the battle cry.
One simply did not go native.

And yet now, the descendants of those very folk, stalk our shores in search of a different adventure.
Flip flop shod, public bathsuit wearing, beer swilling, natives have they become. Here to worship the sun
they once protected their fair complexions from.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


It's Saturday, it's finally cooling down, earlier the house was a heat trap. I got in from a day spent driving around doing weekend things though it was uncomfortable, even with the car air conditioning cranked up. The sun beat down and the earth, which is already dry and cracked, seemed to absorb the heat and deliver it back through your shoes. When it's this hot, though it's beautiful, it's extremely enervating and all you want to do is crawl into the shade with a cool drink and not think.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, every mall, sidewalk booth, drugstore had gift items to lure the unwary. To me it's another excuse for Hallmark et al to make some more money. I'm all for appreciating people but the level of conspicuous consumerism was a little hard to swallow. Despite my crusty exterior, caused by too much sun and too many cars on the road, I too will be tootling home tomorrow, to commune with my grandmother. My mother has been gone for about sixteen years and I no longer have a mother in law so there was no frantic gift purchase. Granny is happy that I turn up, no present necessary.

For tonight, I'm going to be communing with Dr. Jones, Indiana Jones, as USA hosts a Indy marathon as a build up to the new movie. My flea motel, aka The Hound and I are planning to be sprawled in front of the idiot box, no worries, no stress, large popcorn. Happiness!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Buzzing with The Beatles

This week I re-connected with my BBF from high school who I hadn't spoken to in twenty years. I faced my fears, work and personal. I re-discovered music. It was was quite a roller coaster, added to the mix was a budding depressive episode that I managed to contain. But if this week has had it's challenges, it also showed me once again that I have some very good friends. In 1967 John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends" for drummer Ringo Starr to sing on the St. Pepper album. I've always connected with this song, like Ringo, I'm usually the background noise who can't really sing at all and generally, overshadowed by my more colourful friends, though you might not suspect so.

What would do think if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song,
And I'll try not to sing out of key.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
He gets high with a little help from his friends,
Oh I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends.

In the last few weeks, the universe via Slacker, Lis, Stuart, Shirley and Charmayne, is pushing me to get off my ass and write. I'm grateful to them all, so write I have. Boy has it been educational. I didn't realise so many people read this blog. Then I started getting responses to things I'd written. Friends who know my alter persona call me, it's become part of the landscape. My jazz friend called today in consternation to say he'd checked and there was nothing new. He was concerned that something had happened to me. Wow. I hadn't realised that I was writing so regularly but it seems that I am. My hopes, fears, concerns, uncertainties, great moments, failures and rants all revealed, open for the world to see. Sure I use a pseudonym but it's not that far from who I really am.

What do I do when my love is away.
(Does it worry you to be alone)
How do I feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you're on your own)
No, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm I'm gonna to try with a little help from my friends

I'm not afraid of being alone, actually, I'm a loner by inclination. But I think I was getting a little tired of always doing everything for and by myself. Then the other morning, Brent shared with me, I knew that I was lucky to have some really good people in my life. I know I am loved. Imti, who at the best of times is not terribly domestic, re-arranged his life so that I could do my laundry at his house and for the last twenty years, has held my hand through the good and bad times without complaint. Charmayne pushes me out of the doldrums, she reminds me how to feel alive. She has some of the best energy of anybody I know.

Do you need anybody?
I need somebody to love.
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love.

Okay, it might be nice to have that special someone in my life, but I'm not about to make the fatal mistake of accepting less just to say there is someone. It's not worth it. For too long I acted as though I had little worth when really, I have much. What do I see when I turn out the light? The Hound settling across my feet, waiting for me to fall asleep before taking up his guard position. And I know that's fine. As much as I like the song, I don't need someone to love, I have a lot of someone's to love and they all know who they are. So we'll all be singing......

Would you believe in a love at first sight?
Yes I'm certain that it happens all the time.
What do you see when you turn out the light?
I can't tell you, but I know it's mine.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm I get high with a little help from my friends,
Oh I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends

Do you need anybody?
I need someone to love.
Could it be anybody?
I want somebody to love
I get by with a little help from my friends,
I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends,
with a little help from my friends

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chronicles II

Last evening whilst engaging in my now usual Savannah crawl, a couple was walking their doberman pinscher puppy, he must have been around five months old. The top-line on this dog was so familiar it was as if time stood still. If Zeus is my floppsie puppy dog, Gator was my soul-mate. He arrived a gangly puppy, six weeks old, large boned, all knock kneed, paws and floppy ears with little to indicate the show dog he became.

While the man had bought him for himself it was quickly evident to everyone, including Gator, that he was really mine. Though he loved Man, he worshipped me and I was the one who took care of him. I did not know how much this dog was to feature in my life. Doberman puppies are not generally cute, instead he assumed an early gravitas that would become his hallmark. In the early days, we took him everywhere, he learnt to socialise, with other dogs and with people. It got so that the jingle of car keys would find him waiting at the door and he would sulk if left at home.

He grew, and grew, and before I knew it, my puppy had become a large dog, intimidating those who did not know him. An exceptionally beautiful animal, he was after all bred to show, he also had personality. But Gator was more than just my dog, he was my liming partner, my confidante, my protector. He spent days lying at my feet as I wrote, in those days I worked from home. We spent hours reading or sleeping on the couch or floor in front of the tv, or playing fetch with his ball. He patiently waited for me to take him out walkies. You had to go through him to get to me. And then one day it started. He went off his food and he was listless. Off to the vet.

I think now, to anyone who doubted that the man loved me should know that he did once. Gator turned out to be a very sick dog, we didn't know it when we got him but after dozens of vet visits it was discovered that he had congenital liver problems. For the two years he was with me it was a cycle of Gator being fine, then Gator being sick. It was like having a child with a debilitating disease that came and went. In all of this the man, who loved animals too, was encouraged by all and sundry, including the breeder, to stop wasting time on this dog that was never going to get any better. And yet he did, because I loved that dog, it added up to thousands. We had to make a decision, and then, Gator took the decision from me and willed himself to die.

Watching that couple walk their puppy last night brought back so many happy memories and I wished for them the joy that I got with my dog. I will always treasure the memory of Gator, head propped up on my shoulder as I read, nose nestled in my neck, and the love he so willingly gave.


Slacker, this one's for you!

Recently, a question was posed by a friend, who came to a conclusion after reading my blog that I was conflicted. Here's the reality, spurred on by Slacker, my partner in crime, sometime nemesis, sometime muse, I have been writing. To rid myself but also to free myself. Because you see, I cannot not write anymore. I wake up every morning with a multiplicity of ideas buzzing around in my head. Everything has to wait or take second place so that until I put it down. Like an old friend, my need to write has returned, insistent to catch up, picking up where we last left off. It has been singularly liberating.

Let me tell you about Slacker. Though I had known him for years through our various incarnations; television whores, Government hacks, frustrated writers, we became real friends in the circumstance of his relationship with my friend coming apart. I've now seen Slacker at his worst and at his best.

Slacker's not the tallest man around, but he uses his body so expressively that he is larger than life. I love watching Slacker in action. He is the consummate lyrics man, spinning his charm across the female body. Watch him dance, his compact body grooving to the music, it is infectious and you understand why women want to sleep with him. We are not lovers, never have been nor will we ever be, it is his writing that draws me in. Slacker pushes me to want to be better in my own craft. That to me is more valuable than sex.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Real women have curves

Melissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani are in the semi finals of Dancing with the Stars, yay. In a world where skinny bitches rule, Melissa is a full-figured girl with a lovely, bubbly, over the top personality. After days of writing to cleanse my soul of all the emotions, left-over from a rollercoaster eight year, on again, off again, non-relationship, I feel that I have been sensitive enough. So move over "in touch with your inner self Coffeewallah" welcome back, "no-nonsense, in your face Wallah".

I need to get this off my chest, again. My cholesterol, blood pressure, heart, health are not your business. Thanks for your concern, I appreciate that you want my well being but allow me to take responsibility for myself. You know, I can never understand, not that I try very hard mind you, why my weight, size, body is any concern of anybody other than my brother, who may yet have to take care of me in my old age, or the man that will someday choose to share my life. My very close friends are allowed to comment, only because they also have to put up with me. Other than that, sod off.

The only reason that I am seen in sneakers, pelting foot around the Savannah several evenings a week is because I want to. If there are any health benefits, and I very much doubt it from all the carbon monoxide fumes and uneven paved walk waiting to trip up the unwary, they are incidental. Understand this, after being cooped up in the grey, air conditioned to the point of discomfort box all day, every day, I want to be outside to commune with myself. It saves going home and kicking the hound because I've had a shitty day. After all, I cannot drink every day, that would make me an alcoholic and besides, it's too damn expensive. I despise the gym, all that posturing from the guys and gals all looking to pick up or be seen, as well as stale air, sweaty people shedding skin cells, Ugh.

To all intents and purposes I am a sturdy gal, with, as the Slacker can attest, hips, thighs, breasts. I'm never going to be a size two, I'm good with that, why can't you let me be. Yup, have got a bit of a stomach, so what, at least I don't have to worry that if I get lucky some man is going to hurt himself on my hip bones. I proudly confess that my ass, as huge at you say it is, has stopped traffic. I'm pretty sure one of the reasons the X-man hung around so long is because of my ass. He certainly had no complaints and he used to be a pin up boy.

I've come to the conclusion that the reason so many women have to tell me about my awful body is that they're threatened by me somehow. What is it, the fact that I have a brain, or is that I'm seemingly talented? It's okay, I know your men sometimes watch me, even though I don't go to the gym, enjoy my food, and wear clothes that I like as opposed to what's "cute". Because if I'm so out of shape or whatever else they're not interested and you have nothing to worry about, don't you? Relax sistahs, I don't like complications, I prefer my men unattached and my martinis shaken. Nuff said.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Last night in a dream I was grooving to Duke, Miles, Charlie and Ella but it started earlier in the evening. The low roofed building on Ariapita Avenue that once housed a chinese restaurant that the boys and I used to frequent has morphed into a jazz club. Unlike the smoky cellars of Berlin or the raucous clubs of Rue de Bourbon in the French Quarter, this place is more of a brief happening in the place to be landscape of Trinidad. But then there's the jazz.

Jazz gets into your blood, under your skin in a way that pop music does not. It speaks to the tortured souls, brilliant minds, a complex mathematical equation in an otherwise banal musical landscape. Jazz is extreme, no wishy-washy in-betweens, you love or you hate. Whether it is Miles melancholy horn, Bird's sax or Ella scatting these are not the rhythms of the faint hearted or the dilettante. Jazz can be discordant, a snapshot of the composer's dilemma or it can stroke your skin, smooth as velvet, tickling, soothing. It is passionate music, for people with emotions running close in their very veins.

Is it any wonder that most jazz greats self destruct, a tangle of drugs, sex, depravity all to play the music in their minds. Charlie Parker with swiftly playing twelve notes on the chromatic scale breaking the confines of earlier jazz solos. Always pushing the envelope. To those of us who know depression as our old nemesis, jazz is the ultimate way to describe what happens in our heads.

It is the high, lows, bi-polar swing, manic extremes of emotion, hormones, of wanting, feeling, to much, too hard, to long. It is also the calm troughs, the moments when it all comes together, peace, space, breath. It is Sunday morning stillness, coffee lingering in the air, Miles in the Blue note years. It is Bessie belting out her heart left by another man, again. It is the slap ringing in your air caused by the slamming of the front door as someone storms out. It is the beating of two hearts, make-up sex. It is a good conversation over a lovely meal and a glass of wine that feels full on the tongue, so you talk and talk, but say more in what you don't say. It is Slacker mourning his lost relationship, Blue warding off the demons yet again and Wallah, learning to hope. It is Jazz.

Monday, May 5, 2008

And the beat goes on

Driving around the Queen's Park Savannah crackling with dryness, the very aridity a reminder of how quickly barren life can become without a little rain, the poui trees exploding, pink and yellow puff balls, blooms carpeting the ground with their dying. It might be easy to despair but coming back from a good lunch where the conversation was food and seeing all the beauty even in nature's slow death I thought of the article that I had read before leaving. It was about a woman from Mali fighting to remain in the United States to avoid an arranged marriage to her cousin.

She had been circumcised at 11 and had blanked the details from her memory but considered her life threatened because of the process. The spotlight has once again been trained on female circumcision with threats on the life of Dutch parliamentarian Ayan Hirsi Ali and various African Supermodels who have made a name decrying the practice. I think of myself, as a young woman and now, ever thankful that I do not come from that culture. While it is not the general behaviour for "good" Indian girls to talk about sex, I am neither good nor purely Indian, India has created some of the world's greatest erotic art in its temples and the Kama Sutra is acknowledged as a definitive sex manual.

Woman are always made to feel guilty about their sexuality. Men are kings if they have multiple partners but if you're a woman admitting to having pleasure in sex, you slut! Admittedly, my first furtive forays into sex were disasters brought on by fumbling incompetence at an age when I should probably have been better served passing my exams. Imagine how much worse with no pleasure centre to make it bearable? This of course is the desired result of female circumcision, to ensure that you forever remain chaste, the thought of intercourse too painful to consider unless you absolutely must. I would have forever closed my legs at this act perpetrated, instead of the coming together of man and woman, mutual sharing, skin to skin, having one what can be one of the most intimate acts a human can choose. Do you know what it is to have someone inside of you, sharing your being. Sex for women is intrusive, allowing someone to penetrate your core, to invade that sacred place. You share yourself when you have sex, even if it is solely for pleasure and not as part of a deeper relationship. That's why rape is so invasive.

I would hate not to enjoy sex; to share with my partner the slide of skin on skin, dripping sweat, hands or tongue caressing those spots that drive you crazy. The insistent throb and beat of hearts, pulse and blood under the skin, every inch of you feeling, glorying in that moment. Riding atop watching his face or wrapping my legs around his back, holding close, dying a little death as blood boils, senses become acute every time you come. It is a part of what brings us together, when it works, each relationship is enhanced by the process.

And yet, female circumcision is perpetrated by women on behalf of men, a form of control to keep women in their place, an object, vessel for his gratification, his use, his property, not to call your body or soul your own.

Little things to make you happy

This morning a young colleague shared his breakfast with me. Passing my open office door, he stopped to shake his Ras and hail me out and I, opportunistically spotted the white plastic bag in his hand. Upon enquiring as to what it might contain he cheerfully offered up half of his roast bake and saltfish. FYI, I'm not usually in the habit of accosting staff for their food, except for Slacker, he's different. This morning it all just seemed right to say yes thank you, the sun is shining outside the patio door off of my lair, the traffic was not unbearable and B. with his irrepressible spirit brought a smile.

He disappeared into the kitchen and materialised computer side bearing a blue plate, napkin with bake neatly arranged on top. I'm happily munching away, the bake light and airy, the lettuce crunchy, the codfish spiced just right with a touch of pepper. I feel like I've been given a gift to make up for the earlier tender stomach caused by stress and eating oddly this weekend.

Amazing how a seemingly small gesture could make a difference, but B's bake, served up willingly with a smile really made my day!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Love to love you baby

I'm not in love, that's why I can write about it.

I'm not in love, that's why it's so easy

To remember the good things about what it used to be

The curve of his back, spine twisted, a winding road in the smooth even brown skin

That I used to run my hands down.

Easing away the pain, or clutching in ecstasy

No hurt anymore, just a smile at the remembrance of his chest against my back in sleep,

The heavy arm that used to be thrown over me, holding close;

The turgid prodding of a morning romp, sleepy, but what a way to wake up.

Sweeping round a dance floor, Fred and Ginger, maybe not, lovely to watch, better to feel so alive

Knowing the steps, with the practice that comes from doing a different type of dance.

Playing with the dog, eating lunch or dinner together. Snuggling in front of the TV

Small things. But big things when compared with the all the things that were wrong.

So many things that were wrong that are no more.

Because we've moved on.

Nothing more to scream about, to make me cry

No anger, lies or hard feelings, a small sadness that it came to that.

Ready to look forward to what's next, finally over the hurdle.

No more hanging on or waiting. Looking forward to something new.

Finally, no more afraid to move on, To hope that out there, love waits again.

Spring cleaning

Have you ever stood before your closet, looked in and known that the disguise held within was no longer yours to call own? The blameless clothing, shoes, bags or whatever else instead of bringing pleasure serving only to remind you of what you once were. Or the contrast between the items, so disparate that you knew that you were playing a game, one that you were losing. The thought of donning them as abhorent as wearing yesterday's crusty underwear.

My pardner Slacker has remarked about my melancholy today, but I'm not. Really, I'm not. In some parts of the world it is spring. New shoots are shoving their way through the winter hardened earth, all coy and green. Birds starting returning, that kind of thing. People thinking about cleaning out, brushing away winter's cobwebs. Here in the tropics where the earth is being baked harder than a sweetbread left in the oven too long there is no excuse for clearing out. Except for the need to de-clutter, find some space, re-invent self.

So far this morning, and we all know that I am neither a morning person especially not a Sunday morning person, nor am I particularly house proud, there are six large bags of clothes and one with shoes bearing testament to my need to clear. Something I try to do with regularity. As I always say, if your hands are full how can you pick anything up?

Today I want to breathe, to stretch my arms up over my head, arch my back , curl my toes into the floor just for the sheer pleasure of it. Stroke my dog's shiny , soft fur for the joy it gives both of us. Lime via instant messenger with my cousin Temptress, smiling at her woes which are so remote from mine. I may yet bestir myself from the dark blue cotton sheets, worn from use but smooth to the skin, sashay down to the corner for the papers or maybe a quick trip to Maraval for some stewed chicken and peas from Creole Cuisine, a dish that I can cook very well but cannot see the point in making for one.

So many options, why spend it lamenting for what isn't, for what I don't have, when I can appreciate what I do.


It's early Sunday morning, a time when rolling over, snuggling deeper into the bed is a bigger attraction than, say, anything else. The sheets cool against skin, pillows smooshed from all night sleep, for some, hopefully, an arm curved around your body or the warmth of someone close. Comforting, but also sensuous in the promise of what might yet come.

Remember what it's like to be in love? The early stages of dawning wonder at discovering who this person is, the things that make them tick. The look in their eyes as you discover each other. The beat of your pulse when you think of them. Eventual bodies discovering each other and the eventual slip and slide of familiarity that comes from forging a relationship. To be in love is truly a great thing, to be loved back, greater still.

Waking up alone on Sunday morning, going to the coffeemaker and switching it on. The only promise that fresh brewed aroma filling the silent house. I've almost forgotten the blood rush of love, it's been so long. Knowing of settling for less sometimes, just to fill the empty space, transient, even though it is always the same person; so familiar to me that I can still see the hump where his spine curves like the Maracas Road, the sturdy thickness of his calves and barrel chest that I used to rest against. Closing the door again to that, it cannot substitute nor can it make up for all the other things that are so wrong with us. Because really, there is no us, not for a long time, just re-visiting a shred of what used to be, the one thing that still worked in a morass. Knowing, really, there is no more.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Reef

Last night another little slice of TnT history was made when C TV launched the new series, The Reef. For those of us who'd grown up in a Trinidad with one tv station it became another defining moment. You see, back in the day, when TTT was king, there was tons of local programming, all made by the Government owned and operated station. Many opportunities to see ourselves whether on local talent shows or soap operas or play of the month. Danielle Dieffenthaller, producer, writer and chief cook and bottle washer of the Reef referenced these things in her thank you speech while us over 35 year olds smiled and nodded in recognition. In the years since the airwaves opened up you would have thought there would have been more local programming but alas, it was not so.

As Caribbean people, Trinis have little appreciation for things local unless it is Carnival or doubles. The world knows Jamaica, Barbados but in our twin island state we have some of the greatest talent in the world,as well as beautiful scenery and spirit. We consistently fail to appreciate what we have, busily trading it out for what we perceive are the trappings of developed nation; not understanding that development also comes with understanding and acknowledgment of who you are as a people.

What feels like a hundred years ago now, a mere slip of a thing, I passionately wanted to make tv and was fortunate to have fallen into good company starting off at a little company called Banyan. I was extremely lucky and worked with some of the best in the industry then and now, including Danielle. In those days most of us were young, fresh out of school with big dreams of how we were going to change the face of tv in Trinidad and the kinds of programmes we were going to make. Even in the face of relentless opposition from the accountants, first TTT and then CCN. We worked for little money, long hours, barely seeing our families or having a life, on non-existent budgets and hard deadlines, toiling at our craft so sure were we that this was something worthwhile. It made us extremely resourceful, self sufficient people, far richer for the experience. It is exceedingly sad that many of us gave up our dreams, hopes dashed, ground down by the system, programme and station managers with no vision.

Last night, my pardner Danielle, aka Styles kept the dream alive with her production. Her not small achievement inspires awe at the guts and gumption that it took her to live the dream. It has never been an easy road and she's good enough to have made it anywhere, but Dani stuck it out and made great television, first with her Westwood Park series made on a shoestring and love and now The Reef.

What struck me most was gratitude, maybe a generation of Trinis, fed on foreign fare for far too long could finally experience something good that was home grown. With local talent, local scenery, that they could feel a sense of achievement and hope that they could succeed doing something they love. Over the twenty years have gone by since those early Banyan days, much traffic has flowed through the airwaves. Though we have two and a half tv stations devoted to local fare, we still struggle for the acceptance of our work. When will we learn? Hats off to Dani and her crew, I hope they get the recognition they so richly deserve. The rest of you had better be watching CTV on Sunday 18th May at 7:30.