Posts Tagged ‘Carib’

Book 1 and 4. Captian Hookfoot

February 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Book 1 And 4.  Captain Hookfoot

(A Piece of Spoken Calypso Comedy from my new Musical “The Virgin Islands Songs”. I Hope that you are able to understand and enjoy it)

It came to pass that one day dem boy an me was warm up to go ana expedition way doung doung doung in de wes to Bordeaux Bay to fine de gol lef dare in de days of ol by de pirates of ol dat somebody say dey kno fo sure, was hide up in de top of a tamon tree.

We had quite a long ways to go an many a place to see before we would return home dat evening. Fus, on de way to Bordeaux we plan to stop by de ol Plantations at Filamingo Pon an de ol Plantation in Fortuna to pick up whatever treasure we could fine along de way den continue on to Botney Bay an clean out de treasure doung dere befo we dig up de big one at Bordeaux an bring it home.

 My secret hope was dat we would only fine a likkle bit of treasure along de way, quick quick so dat we would’n fine ourself all de way doung Bordeaux after de night fall in de ol winswep an abandoned ruins doung dere in de in de pitch black dark night.

 Now, I kno how tu preten tu be brave when people watchin jus like anybody else, but lemme tell yu sumting, I have seen almost grown man bawlout fo de muddah when dey tink a Jumbie hol dem or see a Jumbie commin. An boy don tink fo a minute dat doung dae ain de home a Jumbie, hundreds a dem an more. (Jumbie like sanfly) De minute de sun go down an shadows fall on dem, de Jumbie dem come pourin up out de groun an dropping doung ou de tree to see wha goin on… Laad meboy, yu don’t wan to be de ting dey fine. Jumbie frum all part a de worl me boy every one a dem wan to climb up in yu brains an take ovah de driving.

 Jumbie fighting Jumbie all jumble up an top a one annudah, Carib Jumbie, trying to eat up de Arawak Jumbie wha fighting wid de Spaniard Jumbie who fighting wid de Cha Cha Jumbie who fightin wid de English Jumbie who clashin wid de Dane man and de wild eye African Jumbie an all a dem fighting wid Black tooth de Pirate Jumbie excepin if somebody who ain dead fall in wid dem, den every las one a dem Jumbie gon jump on he to see who could suck out he eye an climb in he coconut tu come back to life.

 Das wha de Jumbie wan tu do yuh kno, take ovah yu coconut, an jump on yu donkey and go back town an preten like he is you, an take away yu wife an yu girlfrien, Yes man dat happens all de time.

 Well like ah sae, we was ready fo de high adventure, Bucky an Brudsie an Boomie an Tutie and Tutsie an Papoon an de res a dem boy, de only problem was who gon be who, everybody wan to be Roy Rogers an ride in de front ah de donkey. Not me dough, I is Gene Autry de singing cowboy an nobody cain argu wid dat, I could be who I wan to be because is my donkey an I gon ride in de front. All de same, de Laad ha sen a bunch a donkey, man we had bou tree o fo a dem. Among dem is de one wha ah have to keep me eye on de mos because he is nuttin but a schupid jackass wha broke me bowstick when ah was protekkin me lil jenny gurl Madras, I wouldda stay behine ahe exceppin Gene Autry got to lead de geang, so ah wa goin tu have tu go doung de road kina sideways.

All de same alla dem Roy Rogers an Lash Larue an de Long Rangeah an Jungle Jim (wid de inscruchable Fu Man Chu thro in in dey) every one a dem tink dey should be leadin de ban, an das ok wid me becausin de only time I acktually really got tu be in front is when de Jumbie dem cumin frum behine.

 If yu wan tu kno de trut, when Jumbie cum, I gon jump off de donkey an run fo me life on me own two foot. I done keaar wha yu say.. de ain a donkey in de worl gon run faser dan me when a Jumbie cumin behine.

Jeesumbred what a ting dat would flash tonight meboy, man dead doung Bordeaux, donkey bawlin blood, Jumbie biteup man head befo dey could climb in in de driver seat, but not me me boy, I gane like a  “flash of white in de night”. Dem boy could stan de wid dey schupidness how yu gon fight a Jumbie? Wha yu gon hol an tu when yu tryin tu thro im doung? How yu gon thro him doung when yu fraid tu touch him? Who gon touch a Jumbie? Not me meboy. I jamming de ol gol in me pocket, an I gan. Who wan tu be in front a me den bettah cum good because when dem Jumbie cum pourin up ou de groun, I jumpin off de donkey an I gan.

 Wall we moseyed on down de trail headin out wes singin de “yippi kai yi yoo get along little dougie sang” an up an ovah de officers quarters hill and doung in de valley where de green grass grows an up again to de top a de hill by Jahnbruisebay where upon we stopped to survey all dat lay before us.

 As we moseyed on doung to de bay, dem boy tinkin bou all de goobers an rasinetts dey gon buy wid de pirate treashah. I tinkin Jumbie,. when jus den, de closes ting to a Jumbie jump ou de bush an grabbon to me donkey head. It was de notorious “hookfoot” one a dem very ol an very crazy “ol crazy man”  wha live doung Jahnbruise, bunnin coal an drinking rum. Hookfoot was raving an wavin a cutlash.

 In an instant I fell back on me yankin “Isn’t she.. Isn’t she a pretty donkey? I said in a quakey timid voice, “Oh Yeah? yo lil red arm muddah skunk yu”, he thunderd, “I’ll kill yu muddah skunk hare today, a pretty donkey? A pretty donkey? Yu donkey teeffin Muddah $%^%$ yu!  I katch yu, yu f*&^ah yu, Dis donkey is MINE. Get aff me donkey oh ah sweaa I’ll kill yu muddah sk#$% rite here today”!  All dis time he slashin de cutlash back an fort gains de street an de sparks dem flyin up like de fort of July.

 Well ah had tu catch me self quick when ah realize all a dem boy watchin an ah cain let meself be embarrass like dat in front a dem, at de same time ah kina glad tu realize what evah gon happen here, I ain goin have tu deal wid de Jumbie dem doung Bordeaux tonight.

 “Well Mr. Hook Sah” I said, as I jumped doung off de donkey,  “I am glad to be de one who was able to fine an secure an return dis fine animal to you, my name is Gene Autry de singing Cowboy, an my game is mekin everyting have a happy endin. An wid dat I’ll bid yu a good day sah, I have tu be getting back to de movies”. An wid dat I turn aroung ana came rite home savin’ de treasah fo annudah day, sometime early in de mawnin. Yep, das de whole trut..

Book 3. and 1. and 3. Caribair and The Second Coming

January 16, 2010 Leave a comment
Book 3. Caribair 
It was hot as  double ultra caraho, so I went over to Lindbergh to get in the sea and cool off. I have a “beach outfit” that is the biggest hoot ever, it’s great fun to wear. My “beach suit” is an enormous blue flowery Hibiscus pattern shirt over enormous baggy blue flowery Hibiscus pants. The blues are out of kilter with one another and the Hibiscus are drawn by entirely different artists in entirely different styles. The closer you look the more mind boggling it is, just like any really good tourist outfit.
 Is it possible the tourists have been goofing on us all these years? I’m thinking yes.
 The water was wonderful, the contemplation of the clouds as I lay on/in the Caribbean was wonderful
 The sound of a DC 3 taking off was immediately recognizable to me and I stopped contemplating, and stood upright. to watch it..A very old DC3 with a more shrill sound than most, (but only in one engine) with “4 Star Airlines” written along the side.

I watched it climbing and banking south then east. Immediately after, a second one took off. The sound of a DC 3 is such a comforting reassuring sound from my childhood, I love them. 

Further, it was the aircraft of the greatest airline ever “Caribair.” Caribair’s DC 3s were painted a cool white with a golden stripe running along the side where the windows were (so the windows looked like little jewels set in a golden band or bracelet) the tail featured a classic image of “El Morro” the Spanish fort in Old San Juan, painted in Red against the Golden background of the mighty upright tail.

 The planes were immaculate, in and out and smelled of romance and sweet peppermints, the stewardess were the exact Spanish beauties of your dreams. The kind of ladies that inspired you to  get grown up, just so you could fling yourself babbling at their feet.

The dashing “Don Caballeros” in the crisp pilot’s uniforms were clearly capable and mucho macho. More than enough, to fly you into and through any “cat 10” Huracan! No problema..mon.

In those days, this airlines planes had never crashed. But if one did, (they didn’t, but IF one did) you knew that “You flew with Spanish Angels in the air, when you flew with Caribair” so if you did accidentally wind up with them in Puerto Rican Heaven, well… you knew you would be welcome there.

 Not only were the planes and people beautiful but the sound of the powerful always steady engines (seemed tuned to concert 440) A full throated celestial “A” chord that did not waver, that did not roar. Their harmonic consistency was the background sound every day, morning noon and night through the sweetest years of our lives. “dungderoad” in Bournfield.

 I lay down this afternoon on the warm soft sand as I had done through out the sweet days of yore, with the sound of DC 3’s taking off and landing in the background… just like a favorite song playing over and again on the juke box…

Book 3 And 1 And 3… The Second Coming 


The Plane climbs into the orange dusk above Charlotte Amalia, and I am on my way back to the states. As we bank into the setting sun, I think,” I’m doing it again, I’m doing it again. I’m leaving the Island, and going to the states… with the same intention that I held forty five years and lets see..five months and twelve hours and a lifetime ago.


To sing, to change the world, to change my family’s economic situation, to prove myself, to demonstrate to other Virgin Islanders that we are good enough too, that we’ve got what it takes to make it, and be equal in this world, To get famous and… (lets not forget, or overlook, diminish or deny the primal, primary force that has driven many many men of music)… Chicks.


Only perhaps this time the priorities might be listed somewhat differently.

 To sing, to write wildly wonderful things, to change the world, to change my family’s economic situation, to demonstrate to all Virgin Islanders that we from the V. I. are good enough too, that we’ve got what it takes to make it in this world, and this time to get the fame nesessary and sufficient to take care of the chicks I’ve got. (My daughters and Grand daughters, their beautiful Mamas and Mamas Grande)
I’m doing it again, only this time I have to do it right, But how to do it right is the mighty mighty question..begging (in my case) the obvious question “How or what did I do wrong?”
 The answer that comes is 

1. Do not drink or use absolutely no matter what

2. Do not allow myself to be constantly and continuously distracted by the promise of a kiss. Sublimate that to taking care of those already in my care. 

3. Do not be dismissive of ideas other than my own 

4. Remember to be grateful for the beautiful gifts that I’ve been given, and to let them shine. 

5. Stay committed to doing it better, by doing the things I do, better than I’ve been doing them.

6. Choose my battles thoughtfully and carefully 

7. Listen. and 

8. Learn 

9. Remember alsway, to pass it on.

While this octave plus one, of ideas may not be the whole story, it could lead to a better story than the one I’ve got.

Puerto Rico is below and the whole majestic Island is moving to the south east at five slow hundred miles per hour. Every dream and heartbreak, pot of arroz con pollo, beautiful bighearted, black-eyed, big bottomed beauty, and her Abuelita, every tousled haired little one and their sinewy armed Abuelos, every conga pounding, bongo beating, high note hitting, guapo big dreamer, every surviving Taieno and Carib, every Don Santiago de Espana, every child of Africa, every perfumed Princessa De la Noche, every hysterical television personality and dancing melocoton, electric plug, telephone cable, naval installation, politician, supermarket, history book and so on, is slipping away “al Oriente”. I will miss it when it’s gone.

On July 2nd, 1964, (forty five years, five months, twelve hours and a lifetime ago) It took the entire day, (dawn to dusk), to sail the fifty foot Ketch “Success” this far. Sailing into San Juan harbor in the dark that night, was a bilge-rat’s first lesson in finding the navigational lights hidden among the dancing neon, red, green and amber traffic lights and the ever blinking diamond twinkle of a major sea side city.

On July Fourth 1964, as we were leaving the harbor at Areciebo, bound across the dreaded Mona Passage for Hispaniola. I looked back towards “The Virgins” beneath the rising sun, and felt my heart all but break with longing.

I wanted more than anything to go back home (even though home was at that time, a small clearing on the side of Sara Hill.) I stood on the deck, looking back for a long long time.

In truth, no small part of my pain was the realization that “today, the 4th” was wild, raucous, rambunctious, crazy ruckus, Carnival Day in St. John. I felt ever so strongly that I should have been heading there, rather than here, going who knows where. (but clearly in the wrong direction).

The good question of whether I ought to have been heading east to England rather than west to the U.S. has been posed many times by sincere people aware of my history in the music business. While I very much appreciate their concern and perhaps it is true that I might have been a better fit for Britain, Truth be told, on July Fourth 1964, standing on the deck of the good ship “Success” longing for the “Islands of the Virgins” I was much more an “instinct driven, lusty, dipsomaniacal youth,” than a thoughtful, practical, prescient planner. Ah well…

I’m remembering how at 18, I was alone in the full moon night at the helm of a 50 foot ketch, under full sail, just off the coast of Haiti, holding a course W.N.W, on the Midnight to 4 AM watch, with four souls asleep below.

What an amazing series of moments. I was as hyper alert as I had ever been, hyper aware of the wind, the current, the strong pulling of the wheel, the glowing compass and what would happen if I slid off course. I was sure that I could hear the water crashing against the reefs that line the northern coast of Hispaniola, and if you ask, to this day, I could almost swear that I remember (clear as a ships bell), the leaping fires on the Mountain side and the crazy pounding of Haitian drums. My heart was pounding my, my mind was racing, and I knew that I would never forget that moment, that time and place, the spirit in that boy. And I never have.

There were many other wonderful exhilarating unforgettable nights at sea, standing at the point of the bowsprit, flying high and plunging deep above and between the dark and dangerous waves. Singing into the wind as it whipped my hair my open shirt and my words away.

Scrambling in crazy wind lashed rain storm to follow the Captain’s command, to haul in the franticly beating jib, in spite of the fact that it’s already slapped you silly. To this day I dream of magnificent beautiful flying Jennys…

Or still quiet nights when the sea and the sky and the stars in the sky ARE everything, are everything that is the world, everything that is except our poor little pondering noggins with their peculiar little imaginings,

A boy of beating heart, of fragile little (but conscious) brain, my feeble little man-child wonderings, sandwiched between billions of years above and billions of years below. A “consciousness” floating on a wood chip smack dab between double eternities. Yikes! There perhaps, the waddling baby duckling birth of reverence and humility. Continued…



Book 3. The Vigil… Conclusion.

December 28, 2009 1 comment

Book 3. The Vigil… Conclusion.

Remarkably, along the long zig zaggy journey to uncovering and discovering “who yu tink yu is?” or more precisely, “Who is you is you is?”  these good folks have for the most part, found their way to being themselves. 

 It is long past time that we stop telling people who they should be, (based on the old racist  models, or the newer racist bullying of the “who’s blacker than who prison gang model”) and allow people to decide for themselves who they are, and how they wish to be..and further, to welcome them there

 You might think that I’ve been on some kind of a socio/religiological dig, or vigiling for reasons to rant and rave, but I’ve been thinking about these things long and hard since my own childhood and particularly since I (as a young white boy) became the older brother  to one and then another younger brother of color.Trying my big brother best to help each of them find their way in the world; as children of color and young men of color and then, as  men of color, with children of their own, of color.

 In addition to these thoughts and concerns swirling in and out of my head and around and through the solemnity of the occasion,  I confess that I have also been holding close, a secret hope, to see a certain smile.

 I am watching and waiting for the one who inspired my poem  “The Girl With The Golden Skin”

“The Girl With The Golden Skin”

When I was a boy I fell in love with the girl with the golden skin
Gold dust is her face, she glowed as if she were little sister to the sun
I whispered her name to the moon, I sang, she was music to me

Can you imagine?.. A girl with golden skin..

She fought in the street for me when another girl said, “he’s mine”
And again when her Mother said “he will never do”
he is too Splotchy  and blotchy and pink and red and foolish
to think of you,
the girl with the golden skin.

You are our pride and our joy
You are our prized possession
the peak of perfection
he will never do, he is not for you.

The sky was blue in those days,
The air like frangipangi  soup
the world a ruckus of color and sound
my head pounded to think of her,
I could never catch my breath

You are not for him, her father said
We have suffered for centuries to make you as you are
denied our destiny from Africa to Colon
slaved in increments of a hundred, hundred years
To make you
You are not for him

I was a hero in those days, a little one but still..macho
A splotchi-ty blotchi-ty pink and red, 85 pound macho man
A hero for justice and equality, a fly weight street fighting “doun de road” boy
Against the drunken U.S. Navy. Once, twice three times a week

“But he’s good Mam’ere and he’s a hero” she said, “I love him”
“He is not for you,” said her Grand Mother “he is nothing but a ragamuffin pae-hae
his Mother is a drunken white woman married to a drunken black man
life will trample him, time will explode his illusions
like balloons on a string
bang, bang, bang, in his empty and presumptuous  big head

You are our triumph, our future story. We vanquished Portugal and Spain,
Africa and the Aztec. the Dutch and Dane, the Carib and the Ciboney
All are in you, the girl with the golden skin, the apex of our intention
the vessel of our arrival, the dawn of our day, the virgin saint of our freedom come

There were trade winds in those days, and I would put my face in them
I knew that they came from Sahara,
I knew that they carried truth across time
to those that cared to listen.
and so I came to know my place..

Still, a lifetime later,
I can never catch my breath
my temples pound  
I will love forever, the girl with the golden skin
Gold dust is her face, little sister to the sun
I whisper her name to the moon, I sing, she is music to me

The apex of perfection, the virgin saint of freedom come, the girl with the golden skin
The one that they would bless for you, could never be me.
because he must never be… less than golden too…

 I had been at the vigil for over an hour, and  had promised my friend Nicky Russel (The Mighty Whitey) that I would come and do some tunes at his open mike night at “Tickles”, a bar and restaurant in the Crown Bay Marina. I was beginning to go back and forth between the idea that it was time to go home to start tuning up the pipes for the performance, and staying right where I was, to hear the service and especially the singing of the old spirituals. (And yes, I’ve confessed that a certain lady girl was on my mind).

I struggled back and forth and finally, my sense of artistic responsibility won. I got up and excused my self along the pew and headed out.

When I got to the foyer, I ran right into the girl with the golden skin.

She looked at me with her aquamarine eyes and said in a melodious voice that moves me like a Philharmonic  “I heard your new song (Surrender To The Sun) on the radio this morning”  My dear friends,..can you imagine what those words mean and meant to me?  As I cooly stammered out “Yee ya yo ya yu did?” my shoulder was grabbed from the other side by my old friend Freddie, the Chief of the  Carib/Arawak Federation, and in that moment she was gone.

 I stared in amazement as the crowd that I had just come through, closed around her.

Friends, I have loved this girl for over fifty years. That’s a long time for a boy of thirteen to hold on to that kind of feeling, but there it is. In all that time, in all the years that I have known her, we have not exchanged more than a hundred words with one another, and sixteen of the best of them were spoken and sputtered just moments ago.

 I would like you to know, that I know that she is a married Lady, (and unbelievably, a mother and grand mother even) and that I would never intentionally disrupt her situation in any way (well in ultra-truth, I would hope that she still holds at least a sparkle of affection (if not a raging wildfire) for me, but I will not be  disrespectful of her situation or her sweetheart, and will behave appropriately..(This despite my dear friend and long time advisor in matters of relationships and the heart, (who shall remain anonymous,) insisting over and again that clearlyI should have grabbed her and pulled her into the room where they keep the frozen dead people, and given her a big fat smooch)

 Anyway..I struggled with the irony and a cascade of ephemeral but insistent emotions and concluded that the Great God almighty was saving at least two of his star-crossed children from further heartbreak and mayhem, and that my shoulder grabbing friend Freddy, Attorney at Law, Chief Of The Carib and Arawak Federation, ultimate Wazam of The Knights of The Mysterioso, was used this day by the divine as an interventionary angel. I wondered if Freddie had felt the gentle hand of the Eternal directing him as he reached out and distracted me from pursuing what might have become (and still could be) a  disasterous and dastardly destiny.

Whatever else, “The girl with the golden skin” has always been an inspiration to me and will be forever. I do hope that she knows or at least suspects how grateful I am to her, for her…