Weather Reports: Grenada / philip nanton

Weather Reports – Grenada

…..like a sheet left out by a forgetful washer woman
a rectangle of blue galvanized roofing, creased in the middle,
momentarily hangs high on the electricity poles’ connecting wire.
Another is kitchen foil wrapping itself around a concrete bollard…

….are we off- air?… Its like a mad-arse intruder is beating on
my roof…he can’t find the door….. determined to enter
ceiling’s cracking…. pissing rain down the inside walls… signal’s breaking
up… I’m out of here…

The ordinary in the extraordinary. Oxymorons collide.
The brain lurches, searches for a peg, a paradigm
to frame Hurucan the angry god, Leviathan the leveler,
tireless Father Time, who keeps tapping. Oh God,
how swift the wind, how fast the journey of prayer?

…September. The sea’s a steely sheet, the sky a shitty smudge…trees left standing are limp, without foliage …… air conditioning units rest on the roadside …..the postcard pink beach resembles an airplane crash site, mangled metal protruding from the sand… no black box to explain its descent… meteorologists……coriolis force……moist warm air rises ……makes the whole mass whirl……your reporter…… moist warm air.

And when you lift your head, there above you, the hillside,
carpeted with debris, suggests some madness had overtaken
the householders; made them unhinge doors, smash windows,
kick out walls, slam mattresses onto rain sodden ground,
send roofs spinning in the wind and, finally overcome, straight jacketed
by weariness, helplessly watch the erosion of their worlds.

>hi, lighten up guys. i’m rosie-leigh, black folk
>dance and sing through all kinds of tragedy
>kept the spirit down those dark days of slavery
>i’m at u c …doing a cultural studies degree
>for this research with my buddy joe
>i really, really want to know
>does anyone have good caribbean song lyrics
>about high winds that blow?

>way to go sis, way to go
>check the clever lines below
>in the consternation
>you can feel the preparation

>bar off de door
>board up de window
>pung in de nail
>doan pung yuh finga

… gunshots ring out the next morning
broadcast their intended warning…

…..fellow citizens of this now sad fair land
the nation grants itself one hundred grand

‘……express our gratitude to our friends around the region and internationally. (If we have a hurricane a week, by Christmas the Caribbean could be united – English speaking of course.)……..We know that in any country one or two people will do foolish things….this is absolutely out of bounds… my government won’t allow a few to behave so selfishly in a time of national tragedy…’

>dear melanie, tom and I can’t leave the house for long,
>a mother who went out to help others…came back to nothing
>they carry machetes

a standpipe in church street
has become our community oasis

each day i fill four buckets

yesterday I shared
a coconut from a fallen tree
a bottle of drinking water
donated to my son and me

once again, small kindnesses are valued.

.
•••

“Weather Reports: Grenada” is taken from Island Voices from St. Christopher & the Barracudas. In the words of its author and producer, “essentially it’s a take on island life in a mythical island state in the Caribbean. It takes the form of dramatic monologues, dialogues offered by a range of island characters encouraged to promote their island. The ‘voices’ include a coconut water vendor, gardener, taxi driver, radio DJ, bar owner, lawyer, wives of wealthy Caribbean men etc.”

•••

Originally from St. Vincent, Philip Nanton now lives in Barbados where he is a lecturer and freelance writer. Publications include contributions to Caribbean Dispatches: Beyond the Tourist Dream (2006) and regular appearances in Poui. He also writes and produces BBC radio programmes on Caribbean artists.

2 comments

  1. Reply

    A masterful piece. The spoken word production added a wonderfully creative dimension to what was already a complex, yet conversational, work of art. This created such a vivid sense of place and atmosphere, on multiple levels, that I was almost instantly transported.

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