Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Labor Day

Labor Day 

There will always be a Brooklyn
Greener pastures with saloon doors
On hinges that swing
This way and that
But do not conceal
Tall rawhide boots with silver spurs
A mouth-twisting, cigarette-dangling, gut-wrenching drawl
A holster slung low
And a trigger finger spinning
Its hardware like a dancing top

And yes,
There will always be
A brand new set of hundred n something sneakers
And boot cut jeans
And another ghetto-fab designer name
Splashed across scrawny chest
That heaves faster and faster
With each thought of
Colder, more glamorous climes
Of mistletoe and red-necked reindeer
And jolly old Saint Nicks
Stockings hanging laden from
Every mantelpiece
And crisp bright crackling fireplaces
And yes, molten marshmallow dangling from the end of sticks

And there will always be
Another cheap hooker-turned-PrettyWoman
With pinned up skirt, big hair and down-home crawl
Lingering defiantly
In the tropical blackness of the air
Eyes bright with hope
Glistening like so many dancing notes
On a tenor pan
Looking skyward
At yet another
Giant metal bird
Winging its way
Yet another

Eyes that turn their noses up
At the tattered clothes of
Yet another wizened bum
Sprawled off
Sunning dirt-caked, all-exposed backside
On faded-green, paint-peeling bench
In Woodford Square
Thinking of the time
When he, too, lived the Brooklyn dream
But that was long ago
Long before the shackles snapped
And dropped him plump
In the middle of
This god-forsaken land
A land long forgot by time
Without a dime
And even longer before
He turned to
Very very petty crime
All in good time
While he still listened
To Valentino sing
“Trinidad is nice, Trinidad is a paradise.”
While young upstarts
Bushy-tailed and starry-eyed
Spend their only blue
On gilded grill
And crystal bling
And conjure up
Grandiose schemes
Of their very own

no vindication
There will always be
For every immigrant- wannabe

But not for me

I don’t care if it never ever again have
Another Brooklyn
Cause in Brooklyn
No pretty glitter costume
no blue-painted, tail-wagging devils band
could ever look the same
feel the same
no headpiece
could fit so smooth
or look so good
cause there the sun does broil not blaze
to a cool 107 in the shade
and it does take that Yankee drawl
and gangsta hip-hop swagger
right outa your crawl
cause even when it hot it so damn cold
yuh cyah even jump chip or break away
an even yuh soul does feel so old
yes, even on Labor Day

Yes, yuh see
In Brooklyn
It ent have no doubles, chip-chip or boil corn vendor
Not even slashed-to-perfection-with one-cutlass-swipe coconut water
It ent have no parang, no chutney-soca
No Panorama, nor Grand Savannah
No Skinner Park, no bake n shark
No Maracas Bay on Ash Wednesday
No words like obzokee, ramajay,
mirasmie or tootoolbay
It ent even have Papa Bois or Sukuya
No La Djablesse or GanGan Sara

Yes, it hard . . . it real hard
Here every little joy does only have las lap
Every grand entrance call only final clap

Yes, I may be old, ugly an on top o dat, duncey
But it go take more dan greenbacks to fool me
Yuh see . . .
I know why dey call It Labor Day
So I ent goin no damn way
Plus I ent have nutten to prove
Mih name ent Stella an ah ent lorse no groove
Yes, I love mih lil country
Where talk ent jus cheap . .
It totally free
Where every taxi driver, every lime,r is a politician
Every sus-su or whe-whe banker a mathematician
In every street-corner shit-talker is a philosopher
An every black-hen chicken could be prime minister
Every dog an he sister could wave dey manifesto
Cause is always party time in Trinbago
Times may be hard, real, real hard
But dat doh mean ah want any damn green card
To tell de honest to goodness truth
Yuh see right there at de very root
Of dat same silk cotton tree
Is where my navel string done bury
So alien ent mih identity
I jus here in body only
Cause my yaad
Go always be
“Sweet, sweet Trinidad . . . “

©KPLewis (Kalypsoul)

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