Home > 1 > Book 3. Chapter One, Continued..

Book 3. Chapter One, Continued..

BOOK 3. Chapter One, Continued..

Now the question is how to arrange that and all the rest of etcetera. (The land of etcetera is surely where must promising universes go to wither and disappear.) you’d think we would have heard much more about avoiding falling into etcetera at any and all costs.

It might be a good idea to let people know that any idea ending with etc. is to be avoided like the plague, because it announces itself as incomplete and in immanent danger of collapse. The ideas that come springing back from collapsing in etcetera, are probably few and far between. (Perhaps I ought to stick the study of the etcetera phenomenon in my pseudo-lab; alongside the question “Would you rather know a lot about a little, or a little about a lot? Or it’s first cuz and even better question, “would you rather know nothing about everything or everything about nothing?” I’m the kind of nut that says “all of the above” because, ahem.. “it’s the knowing that’s noble” Oh yeah….

In any case ten years is not a long time, (particularly when you look back. Counting forward, well, that’s another story) count back ten and the ten before that, and you can see that they really do fly…The great fun for me has been in being with my little ones. A great joy, in a meaningful (although melancholy) way.

Melancholy because the little ones that were, are continually growing and moving on. Only I am (or feel like I am) frozen in time. Ever ready to play, ever ready to say the same sweet silliness over and over again. Ever ready to stay in yesterday, ah but alas, yesterday’s gone and “done took the chillren dem wid it”.. And so blasted quickly.
Thusly and therefore, with my newly minted deep (and ever-growing) appreciation of the ever accelerating whoosh of time, ten years forward presents none for the wasting. Which is/was as noted, the primary reason why I need to jiggle, jostle and jam the memory wars somewhere in between song one hundred and seventy-eight and the end of the set.

I thought to meself “Hey! If I can do 250 words a page, times four pages (a thousand words) a day then in forty days I could have one hundred and sixty pages…that’s almost substantial, and then if I set it all to one glorious melody. Now we’re talking…

I soon discovered that 250 words are only half a page. Well… one hundred and sixty pages in 80 days, that’s almost substantial and if I add lyrics and poeticals, then one thousand words a day would mean that I’d have a pretty good book in ninety days.

Ninety days is a very auspicious unit of time for me, I have learned through experience that I can do almost anything, for ninety days…

This morning I went to a recovery fellowship meeting out in my front room, or rather,the living room of the house known as “Shaky Acres” (which is where I am staying while working on recording “The Virgin Island Songs”).
After the meeting I spent a little time with Tuts and then drove to the gas station and put the last five dollars in my bank account into the tank of the Blue Beauty razzamatazzle mobile that I am driving. (I looked at the gas pump announcing that regular gas is $2.99 a gallon and wondered how the heck a gas pump 40 miles away from the biggest gas refinery in the frigging western world (The Hess Oil facility in St. Croix) could be charging $2.99 a gallon, And how the people in the states would feel if they knew about the “gouging as a way of life” that goes on in their name, down here in the Bongo Isles.
When I started the car, the gas gauge didn’t even bother to move beyond empty.
I swerved out onto the road called “doung de road” and somewhere between thirty or forty competing memories later (about three blocks) I turned right and started up Crown Mountain Road, my first memory of which was as clear as a bell.

It is March 1951, and Mother has decided that it would be fun to go exploring, so her New York City “beat painter” boy friend Justin, her twin sister Lea, my six and a half year old sister Gale (who our father Frankie, way back in the states, wants us all to call Abigail) and little five-year old me, are trying to walk up this very same road, trying to walk up Crown Mountain.

It is very hot and very steep. One of the grownups has learned a trick from a local friend and is encouraging the rest of us to believe that zig zagging back and forth across the road will somehow make it easier.
We are talking about an older boy who has befriended me, a boy with the beautiful name, of Leslie, who lives “up Crown” and along with his sisters and brothers walks up this hill all the time. I guess we all started out with the naive idea that if they could do, it we could do it. That optimism has faded fast and I am hoping that somehow, someone (preferably Mother) will realize all by themselves that it is very hot and very steep and impossible.

It may be that I tried to hasten the dawn of that realization by whining just a bit, but heck you can’t be expected to remember every single little thing, it was fifty-nine freakin’ years ago. Still, I do confess that I was accused of whining from time to time “fer Chris’sake bonehead stop yer blasted whining!” and although I’ve always denied being a whiner, this little expedition might have presented the perfect occasion for “humming” about one’s discomfort. Clearly, that’s not the clear as a bell part. The clear as a bell part is that it was too hot and too steep and impossible. AND the point at which an eternal question too fraught with danger to verbalize first popped into mentis. The question being “Good God all mighty, what is the matter with these grownups!”

There! The car has just passed the spot where we stopped and turned around.
Where (as we turned to face down hill) a little refreshing pufflet of the timeless trade winds rewarded our good sense by kissing every one of us full on the face.

As I note every time I pass this way, it’s a good thing that we turned around when we did, because not one of us would have survived the ascent to a point where we could have enjoyed the view. It was just too hot, too steep and we were too new and citified tender.

I am on my way to see my girlfriend Sula, way up at the top of Crown Mountain and then over on the other side. She is One Hundred and Seven years old, and lives in Estate Neljtburg, on the North side of Crown. I have been away in the states for four weeks and although I have called her almost every day, she misses my company and has been impatient for my return. I am bringing her two bags of her absolutely favorite treats, she calls them “Silver Tops” we call them “Hershey’s Kisses”

Sula also likes “Cherry Herring” (a liquor that we associate with Danish times) but she is not encouraged to drink it for any number of reasons, first of all, she’s a hundred and seven, but close behind is the fact that alcoholism runs through her genetics like rum through carnival time, so I am bringing her some “Cherry Silver Tops” to make up for it along with the good old-fashioned kind. Sula will be very happy her likes are sweet and simple.
Sula (and the large family that she is a part of) are the product of three young brothers from Germany and three ex slave ladies from Tortola. She was actually teaching school when the Danes ruled the land. She has known and raised so many children (beyond three of her own) that she is known to all as Aunt Sula. Even her own children call her Aunt Sula, however I, as her boyfriend, (well, one of her boyfriends) am free to enjoy certain privileges, the first of which is not having to call my girlfriend “Aunt Sula” and to persue the delusion that she and I speak as equals.

Sula and I have many many interesting conversations, she is as sharp as a tack and feels quite strongly about many things, especially about the difference in the quality of life that the people of the Islands enjoyed under the Danes and lost under the Americans…
Of course some of that is romanticizing the past, but there is no denying the impact of American racial prejudice and the crazy crazy violence related to the proliferation of guns and automatic weapons. Sula is very concerned about the gun violence as is Tuts, as am I..
consequently, I wrote a letter to the local papers about it, which stimulated such insulting and dismissive responses from some gun advocate statesiders that I wrote another one. Here they both are.

Let’s Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory

The Virgin Islands is a territory of the United States of America; this unique relationship gives us the freedom to take a stand within the United States, and beyond if necessary, to demand that our home, these beautiful Virgin Islands, be designated, recognized and supported as a gun free territory.

Arguments that gun lobbyists use in the states have no validity here…
Virgin Islanders don’t need guns to defend themselves against invaders.
Rest assured that if anyone tries to take away their hard-won freedom, Virgin Islanders will meet them and defeat them.
We don’t need to have our beautiful Islands, our families and our society racked, riddled and torn apart by gun violence, in anticipation of that “someday” when an invader may arrive on our shores. Virgin Islanders defended themselves and won their freedom without guns before, and if necessary, will do it again.

Gun lobbyists who would argue for a “so called” right to hunt in the Virgin Islands, are out of step, particularly when you consider the game. What shall we hunt? Sparrows? Trushie? Mongoose or Iguana? The sad little deer? Tragically, in the modern-day Virgin Islands, the primary prey is human beings, young men hunting young men, our young men, our children.

Virgin Islanders know that if you let children play with dangerous things (and guns are dangerous things and the people playing with them are our children) sooner or later, they will hurt themselves or others. We know that. We also know that ultimately, no one, not the United States or anyone else, should have the right to force us to have guns in our territory, if we the people have decided that we don’t want them.

It is time that Virgin Islanders (I, you, we) take action and make a stand…
What will it take for us to make our territory gun free? Our absolute commitment to stand together to make it so…that is all my friends, that is all.

Let’s get started and let our community leaders, our Senators, our Governor, The United States Congress, our President and the whole world know, that the people of the Virgin Islands have decided. From this point forward, we intend to be a gun free territory.

Let us reject any philosophy that would force or impose guns on our society and be united in our commitment that “no matter what it takes”, our Virgin Islands could be, should be and will be, free of guns and gun violence. Let’s make the Virgin Islands a gun free Territory, and let’s get started right now!

Scott Fagan,
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands May, 2009.

Further to.. “Let’s make The Virgin Islands A Gun Free Territory”

I’ve read with interest the recent dismissive responses to my suggestion that Virgin Islanders join together to “Make The Virgin Islands A Gun Free Territory” I would point out that the gun violence that we are experiencing has little to do with the registration of fire arms, and that we have no interest in denying anyone their constitutional rights.
The fact and reality is that young men in the Virgin Islands are involved in a classic turf war and arms race, and that unscrupulous people are willing and eager to sell these young men new and ever more murderous weapons, guaranteed to further escalate the conflict and the causalities. All concerned citizens of our community want and need to find a way to put an end to it.

The question is how? The interesting suggestion that I have offered, is that “we the people” make (by voting on it of course) our Virgin Islands, a nationally and internationally recognized “gun free territory”.

One reader responded by saying “Its not for him (Scott Fagan) or anyone else to deprive US citizens of this (or any other right) because you don’t like it or because it is not part of your particular cultural orientation.” It is true that it is not my right (or intention) to deprive US citizens of their right to own a gun. However, US citizens willingly accept the suspension of that second amendment right, (in the interest of public safety) when they travel to most of the civilized countries of the world,. Cultures that do not have a history of glorifying guns (which includes the Virgin Islands) are well within their rights to discourage the availability of guns exactly because they “don’t like them” and they are not part of their “cultural orientation”

I know that my suggestion sounds like blasphemy to some statesiders who are not accustomed to viewing the Virgin Islands as having quite a separate history and cultural orientation from the US, and may further, be unaware that The Virgin Islands did NOT participate in drafting or ratifying the US Constitution. Overall a fine document, but one that has repeatedly (27 times to date) demonstrated the need for corrections or amendments. Consequently, Virgin Islanders have no reason to feel inextricably bound to articles or amendments that (while exalted as a right by some people in the states) may be wrong for us.. Particularly considering how murderously destructive firearms have become to OUR culture and OUR community.

That is why my letter “Let’s Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory”
begins with the reminder that we are a territory, in a somewhat unique position. We were bought and sold in a political transaction between two sovereign nations “lock, stock and population” against the protest of many Danes and without the benefit of a legally recognized majority vote, by the general population of the Virgin Islands. Consequently, we may have a certain moral leverage (even if only in pathetically obvious questions such as “must we allow the United States or anyone else to insist that our Islands be flooded with firearms, even if we don’t want them?”) a moral leverage that I believe our current President and the world at large is likely to recognize and support.

Yes I realize that reasonable people in dangerous times would like to have a defensive weapon available. Yes I understand that our peace officers and Judges will have to do a much better job of protecting us all. Yes I know it will be quite difficult to clear our Islands of the arsenals of weapons. And most importantly, Yes, we are all afraid.
But Virgin Islanders have sufficient courage to stand together in the face of adversity to bring the end to the gun violence that we so desperately want, need and deserve.

All Virgin Islanders want a Virgin Islands in which the current crazy universal access to guns and ever escalating gun violence is a thing of the past. We are not talking about disarming the police or the National Guard, we are talking about voting to outlaw the manufacture, Importation, sale, distribution and use of firearms among the general public.

What a positive and inspiring effect our declaring the beautiful Virgin Islands “A Gun Free Territory” would have on businesses and potential travelers all over the world,
not to mention our own children and community.
What a negative impression the current reports of our ever escalating gun violence make. One extraordinary way for Virgin Islanders to shape our own destiny and accomplish our very own quite improbable dream this year, is to take a stand to “Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory” starting right now. We can do it..yes we can.

Scott Fagan,
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands May, 2009.

Opps, before I get to the top of Crown and over to the other side and Sula, I will be passing my childhood sweetie Annalee’s ah..ah..I mean Patricia’s house, and that my amigitos, is another story. Volcanic. Much of which shows up in my songs but most of which is still in the steaming hot plasmic stage, sufficient to vaporize words and music right off the paper or out of the air..

Around every corner, a Flamboyant Tree is in full bloom an orange red tree top savanna of extraordinary intricate flowers that are so bright and beautiful, that you just feel like yelling with happiness. Around every Flamboyant tree is a view of the Harbor, or Little Savannah or Lindbergh Bay, or Saba, Water Island, Hassel Island, Buck Island, St. Croix, Culebra, Vieques and in the dream mist beyond, the mighty and majestic Borinquin..

At this elevation the breeze is ten points cooler, the tangly jungle up and down the mountain side is deep and dark and green, promising, exciting and inviting.
A familiar question comes back to me.”When will I have one of these hillside houses?”
A cozy little one, in a collection of cozy little ones, a home for each of my duckies and their beautiful Mamas.
I thought for sure it was in the bag, guaranteed 45, 35 even 20 years ago. Me? A boy like me? It was destiny, a done deal. A mere fiffle, nothing to it. Yep.

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