Economist excerpt, accompanying image, Allison Cadogan author
The Economist, an excerpt

 

Benji, Fluffy and Squid

IT WAS another Saturday morning. The side door closed and Mum was off to town as the theme tune of Julia struck up.  I sat shelling peas in front of the telly. 

“Can’t I be in your club,Earl .J. Wagadorn?” Corey Baker beseeched. “I’m your best friend.”

A small white worm wiggled about in a pod.  I picked it up and fired it through the window.

“This is our secret private personal club.”

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Hands Over Heart

Illustration Copyright © 2015 by Marlo Hunte.

SMELL LEAKED OFF OF HER like disease.  Those who sat close by held their bodies away, unconsciously taking shallow breaths, consciously wishing that she would soon leave.  Young mothers shifted in their seats, momentarily aware that the flesh just above the waistline of their jeans rested on plastic backs that seemed designed to hold onto sickness and anxiety.  It would not do, though, to move away from this spot.  Only to lose your place?  Better to ignore the smell and quietly rising indignation and resettle into the wait.

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FROM EVENING OVER LUXOR

EARLY IN JANUARY nineteen t’irty-seven, t’ings change.  It was tense befo’e, but it get worse now, an’ t’ings gettin’ real bad ’pon de plantations.  De overseers gettin’ vex dat de people complainin’ an’ dey makin’ de people work harduh in order to frighten dem into submission.  But dat ain’t workin’. An’ den I hear dat Lemmey, who live by Miss Ida house in a hut near de bottom uh de gap, slap one uh de overseers, an’ it turn out bad ’cause de overseer try to hit Lemmey widuh whip, and Lemmey slice ’im up widuh cutlass.

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FROM IT NOT ALWAYS BADLUCK (IN MEMORIAM FOR CHARLIE MATTHEWS)

I had an uncle named Charlie and anything electrical, mechanical
that went wrong with a little solder there a piece of wire here, pliers or 
spanner Uncle Charlie would make it right, could build tables chairs 
nail dressed boards to floors and halls, bedroom walls.

He was as good with his hands as 
he was unlucky with a love life 
as much as he was loved by badluck.

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REVIEWING THE ART OF CHANGE

MOSTLY LATE IN June, mostly, when elderly flamboyas tie their heads with scarves of red flowers, or when I’ve slowed enough to stop and notice things samsungish priced “do not touch,”  my gazes drift to social sculpture and loiter like the shadows soft art-gallery lighting cannot easily forget.

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FROM FIRE IN THE CANES

“THIS TREE IS the kill-tree.  The leaves, the roots, the bark.  Every part of it is poisonous.  It does kill.”

“You mean I go die?”

“No, you have to eat it.”  He laughed.  “Nothin’s gonna happen to you.”

He began to crack the nuts, popping them into his mouth, chewing rapidly as he did so, eating noisily with his mouth open and chuckling to himself every now and then.

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WE ALL ARE ONE

The rhythm strummed from an electric guitar by a Tobagonian hand
Stirs in the gyrating waste of some carnival reveller over in Trinidad.
The sweat beading the backs of Vincentian farmers planting bananas
Is wiped off the brows of construction workers toiling in the Bahamas

As that in the river
Is in the sea to which it runs    
Like each finger is
A part of the hand it is on
Like that only day
With a never setting sun
We all are one

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From A HEFTY COST

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife and children, and brethren, and sisters, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14, 25-33

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WINNING WORDS: Hard Ears

HE STOOD like a sentry guarding old Smithy’s rum-shop, his eyes as black as the coals Ma cooked with, or the black birds she warned would pick out our eyes if we didn’t stop being so hard-ears—her warning always followed by the tired refrain, “Hard-ears yuh wun hear, own way yuh does feel!”

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The Price of Fish

BASHAOW! Alfred sprang upright at the sound of the second crash of waves. Half awake when he heard the first bashaow of water hitting sand and rocks, he thought he had been dreaming. It was around four thirty in the morning, not yet light. He swung out of bed, walked over to the chair next to the bedroom door and picked up the pair of swimming trunks, the pair of shorts and the T-shirt he had left there the night before.

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