One a Week With Water by Shake Keane

BOMB 86 Winter 2004
086 Winter 2004 1024X1024

WEEK FOUR   19-347

Kaiso                                       Calypso

             Mauby                  Maw-beer

                    ‘Nanse ‘tory

                  Nonsense Story

 
                    NONSENSE

                    NONSENSE

In 1313 first recorded Africans arrived in the New World, from Mali.
We, the members of CANGASOBOGGA (Can Garden Suburban Cognizance Assn.), cognizant of our duty to be remarkable, and resolved to be so cognizant, demand to know why we were not informed in time.

 

 

WEEK FIVE   26-310

          BRUNG-SKIN GYURL

              I GORN

                       KYANT STOP

                       GOTTA HOP
 

      GONNA SHARPEN MY KNIFE

      GONNA COLLA A DOLLA

      GONNA LIVE A COLORFUL LIFE

             COLOR BY TECHNICOLOR

GONNA MAYBE SEN FOR YOUR SISTER

WHEN DE BABY BORN

Long-guts    long-eye       poor-brag
                    edge-up          frien(d)ing

 

 

WEEK SIX   33-333

BUMB-BUM is a small but growing

village near the Capital of St. Vincent.

 

We have not yet devised a means

of spelling its name in a way

that satisfactorily indicates the way

it is pronounced.

Friday, February 6th.         New Zealand Day

 

 

WEEK SEVEN   40-326

JAZZ, the Sane Man said,

is a bit like surgery. You need it.

You buy it privately, or you socialize it

if you dare.

Also, it purifies by probing—even in public.

Cuts out the stuff and nonsense. But

it tends to heal sweeter if the instruments

are not too sterilized.

Own-way   radical
                gutsify    jokify    hug-up

 

 

WEEK TEN   61-305

OX:                                  Man pass here, yet?
ASS:                                No, man, Ox. Man does done dey home in 
                                        he bed this time of a evenin.
OX:                                  Good. Let we rest here out the sun, talk
                                        little bit.
PARROT:                         Littlebit littlebit littlebit.
OX:                                  But Ass, is six years now I ain’t see you. I
                                        think you did loss?!
ASS:                                Loss! I livin for years just behind da bush
                                        dey. Let Man do he own wuk. I is now my
                                        own independent ass-self. Nuttin but medi-
                                        tate and eat grass all the time. Only ting, I 
                                        does have to be careful hold back meself when I
                                        feel to bray!
PARROT:                         Braybray braybray.
OX:                                  Well boy, Ass, you lucky, nuh!? I wukkin for
                                        Man like a cattle every day, till me tongue
                                        dry-up and me tail ben-up.
ASS:                                You must be a ass. All you have to do is play
                                        loss like me. Or better still, tomorrow
                                        mornin when wuk to start, don’t mek one
                                        bellow; just drop down right by Man foot,
                                        breed heavey, and say yo sick.
PARROT:                          Trick, trick, sick trick!
MAN (next morning):       My God! You ever see anyting so!? My ass
                                         loss already, and now my damn ox fall down
                                         wid bad feelins. Who the hell will do my
                                         work for me now!
PARROT:                          Sen for Ass. Behind-the-bush-behind-the-
                                         bush,
                                                                      behind-the-bush       dey!
MAN:                                 ASS!!! Come outta dey, you wutlass …
PARROT:                           Lassassassass ass ASS ASS AASSS
 

(Based on one of the many “stories” I’ve heard over the years from an old friend, Elias Roache)

March 3rd, 1976         Arsch Wednesday

 

 

WEEK ELEVEN   68-298

O GIVE ME A HOME

                              THE SANE MAN SAID

WHERE YOU CAN CARRY THE PHONE

                               NUMBERS IN YOUR HEAD
 


AND THE GODS ARE HAPPY AND GROOVING

AND THE BAKERS DON’T OWN

                              ALL THE BREAD

                              INSTEAD

YOU’RE FREE TO ROAM

                              WHEREVER YOU’RE LED

BY YOUR OWN
                                                             HEAD

AND THE CHILDREN ARE HAPPY AND MOVING
AND YOUR LIFE IS YOUR OWN
                               EVEN WHEN YOU’RE DEAD

 
                               AND EVEN WHEN YOU’RE DEAD

                               LOVE SMILES ON YOUR BED

WITH TEETH AS WHITE AS FOAM

Quite a few shopping days after last Christmas
 

(March: 57th issue of BIM—Caribbean Literary Magazine published
(1974: in Barbados

 

 

WEEK TWELVE   75-291

O

   AMEN

           MY MOTHER

    HELP ME

       TO AROUSE

          NOT necessarily

            OFFEND

               THEIR

                  SENSIBILITIES
 


thus and thus dreamed the sane man
Whose mother is Amen

   Much-up     Much-up     own-way
gutsify      nyant-and-go-away    

—Shake Keane was born in St. Vincent in 1927, he started playing the trumpet at age six and was a bandleader at 14. Keane acheived international acclaim as a jazz trumpeter, but his poetry remains less well known. He completed some five monographs of poetry before his death in 1997, and in 1979, won the Cuban Casa de las Americas Poetry Prize for One a Week with Water. It was in this collection that lie achieved his most imaginative commentary on Caribbean society and specifically St. Vincent. Keane uses his native community as a base for an incisive and witty commentary about Caribbean society as a whole. The reader is presented with a simple calendar offering observations for each week, described by Keane in the introduction as “notes and rhymes.” They take the forms of collaged verse, riddles, stories, letters, aphorisms, reportage and rhyme, interspersed with personal references and dialect. By converting a Caribbean, and specifically St. Vicentian, oral tradition to text, Keane has managed to both pay homage to a rural culture and obliquely comment on the characteristics of order and chaos in that society.

Five Poems by Raúl Gómez Jattin
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Originally published in

BOMB 86, Winter 2004

Featuring interviews with Brooke Alfarmo, Stanley Greaves, Santiago Sierra, Erna Brober, Jorge Volpi and Martin Solares, and Jesus Tenreiro-Degwitz and Carlos Brillembourg.

Read the issue
086 Winter 2004 1024X1024