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Sunday, April 27, 2014


I Find No Case Against Her

Dr. Lester Hazlewood-Simon

And they brought her before Pontius Pilate, on wireless, on scrolls, and in bars and associations, wherever and whenever they gathered together. Pilate went out to them and asked, What accusations bring ye against her. They answered and said unto him, She talk, she talk, she talk, she chat, chat.

Voxus Populus, son of Vox Populi, embedded within the multitude, whispered, Is she not the speaker, hence she speaks? But Cursus Vulgus replied saying, She can’t talk as she like. She must stay on one side of the constitution. She is as a malefactor; to which Jokus Pokus retorted, She was a female factor, with plenty POWA.

Now, it was the feast of the silly season, a time when promises, plastics, words, yea all manner of favours and deeds, titles and even bread were released unto the people, whatever or whomever they would.

And they had then a notary prisoner, called Modus Operandus. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them. Whom will ye that I release unto you? Modus Operandus, or Speaka Talka Housa? For he knew that for envy they had delivered her since she only spoke what was galling and choking others to speak.

When Pilate was set down on the judgement seat, his wife, Forma Memba Powa, sent unto him, saying, have nothing to do with that just woman, Speaka Talka Housa: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of her.

Verily, verily Consciencus Voisus stood up and said, She spoke openly to the world and for the world. For what justice can we have when our court proceedings and the appearance of justice seem to defy arithmetic? Is it that the long arm of the law is so long it has wandered far away from the people it serves?

And Noisus Plentus jumped up and said, Speaka Talka Housa can talk as she like in her house but not in the house of the people. To which Observus Papus reminded that the appeal judge’s judgment in The Observer case spoke of The Observer group knocking and disturbing “the sanctity of the constitutional door”.

And Plentus Peoplus remembered and joined in and spoke to the crowd, saying, It was the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council that rebuked the appeal judge and proclaimed that, “With respect, the image of the Constitution as secluded behind closed doors is not one which their Lordships adopt. Nor would it be right to think of the Constitution as if it were aloof or, in the famous phrase of Holmes J., “a brooding omnipresence in the sky.”

And on hearing that, some members of the multitude wondered aloud in unison, saying, If our constitution, as sacred and supreme as it is, cannot be aloof or cannot be a brooding omnipresence in the sky, then justice cannot be blind to arithmetic.

And Pilate took her and scourged her and lo the brutality appeared on Facebook. When she cried not, some of the multitude mocked her and asked why she cried not. But when she cried, some of the multitude asked what was she crying for and said, She na get nutten fu cry fa yet! Kill she wid blow. And Reparatus Membus bawled out, History is beating, haunting, taunting and torturing us.

Pilate went out again and said unto them, I find no fault in her. Behold the woman. Then she went forth wearing a purple robe. And little Johnny, asked his father, why the colour purple? Discarding thoughts of some famous quote from the book and movie, The Colour Purple, the father said unto little Johnny, Red and blue make purple my son.

And Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? The notary Modus Operandus or the faultless, Speaka Talka Housa? For he knew that for envy they had delivered her. And those in the blue corner said, Give us Modus Operandus. Then Pilate said unto them, What shall I do with Speaka Talka Housa? And the red corner said, Crucify her!

When Pilate saw he could do nothing, he washed his hands before the multitude saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person. And Plentus Pleopus in blue and some in red said, How can responsibility be washed away after all this? And Verily, verily, Consciencus Voisus answered, Is this not what the entire matter is about?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Preacher and the Mosquito

Mosquito One Mosquito Two

Dr. Lester Hazlewood-Simon

It can never be a good or wise thing to stand before a congregation, including little children, offer praise and prayer to God, and preach fire and brimstone, when the air conditioner is not working, and mosquitoes are swarming about. Amen.

It is not only that you are praying far too loudly Brother Fire, why you cannot hear them. Evolution has made modern mosquitoes smartly silent. The same good book you are waving at us reminds you that those who cannot hear, including you, Brother Fire, will feel.

We train our children as well as we can. We tell them to have manners to adults; to be kind but watchful of strangers; and to do onto others as they would have others do onto them. Especially in pubic places, like halls of worship, they must only speak when they are spoken to; and not pretend they are speaking to God, since God speaks to children only through their parents, grandparents or godparents.

Parents know bright children and we also know challenging children. Sometimes, they are one and the same. Take little Johnny for example. You know he will grow up to be a musician or a lawyer. He always has something to say. When you beseech him to stop, he continues with such interjecting syncopation, you have to quote Psalm 121, “I will lift up mine eyes onto the hills, from whence cometh my help”. But, to little Johnny, figures of speech and reality roll into one. So when you lift up your eyes onto the hills and chant the Psalm, he lifts up his eyes to an imaginary hill. And then he quickly reminds you that Jack and Jill went up the very same hill.

If some children need home schooling, some children need home churching. Because? Here are father and son in the front row of the congregation because they came late and the front pews were empty because everybody knows Brother Fire loves to point on people when he is preaching.

When Brother Fire heats up and is drenched in rivers of sweat, wetting up handkerchief, wash rag and bath towel, and getting ready to point, daddy knows it is time to gently touch little Johnny to warn him to keep his little behind quiet.

But little Johnny’s growing brain is full of countless networks. So daddy’s very gentle touch is the prime signal for little Johnny to play. Since he is in church and mosquitoes are teeming about, what better song to sing and play other than his favourite, and his father’s favourite, mosquito one mosquito two?

Some children see colours when they sing. Some see movements of clouds or people or words, even objects and places crossing through lines and boundaries. So now, having learnt the mosquito song at home and having practised it to ward off mosquitoes, what better help can innocent, caring, little Johnny offer sweltering, poor Brother Fire? Brother Fire struts about, as he is wont but now more so. In fact he is hopping and skipping and jumping in the stifling heat to avoid the devilish army of crucifying mosquitoes.

Johnny sings softly to his father; mosquito one mosquito two. But for the fist time in his young, singing career, little Johnny can see his entire song come to life. As more mosquitoes crowd around and entangle Brother Fire’s jumping shoes, little Johnny sings on. Mosquito one mosquito two, mosquito jump in the old man shoe.

Toilet training is a crucial and satisfying part of growing up. Any good toilet training must start and end with proper entry and exit via the door. For example, walk to the toilet; don’t run. But emergencies happen. A brisk walk to the toilet can accelerate to a run as you near the door and the call of nature hastens. Brother Fire knows that the door nearest the pulpit is his quick, saving exit from the punishing mob of mosquitoes so he makes an accelerating toilet move. As he is about to open the door, a squad of mosquitoes land on the doorknob, sandwiching his hand and the knob, biting him with devilish vengeance. To little Johnny, the mosquitoes are only playing a game with Brother Fire. Little Johnny sings aloud to inform the whole congregation. Mosquito three mosquito four, mosquito open the old man’s door.

Brother Fire espies another exit, drops the microphone, and the good Lord’s Bible, takes his feet into his hands, along with another gang of hungry mosquitoes, and attempts a “usainian” bolt for the other door with his feet passing his pointing hands. Little Johnny cannot believe how real his little song is coming to real life. Mosquito five mosquito six, mosquito pick up the old man sticks.

Good toilet training must make use of other activities children are used to. Opening and closing the zipper of the pants is like opening and closing a door. Lowering your pants and sitting properly and quietly on the toilet seat is like opening a gate properly and cautiously to allow easy, uninterrupted passage.

So by now, knowing what must be next, daddy jumps up, makes a quick sign of the cross and grabs little Johnny’s hand to lead him outside. But before they reach the middle pews, little Johnny looks back. Brother Fire is covered by a wild posse of mosquitoes and everyone is in embroidered stitches. The laughter rises to the high ceiling and is enjoined with a wicked, rolling, escaping, and deafening poop; from Brother Fire. Mosquito seven mosquito eight, mosquito open the old man gate.

It must be punishment for something Brother Fire did, to attract the horde of unrelenting mosquitoes. Sprays of Off! and Baygon try to rescue Brother Fire. As father and child reach the door, everyone thinks it is over. Too late. Little Johnny knows instinctively that, as a prophecy must be fulfilled, so too must a good song be concluded. Little Johnny triumphantly continues to sing at the top of his shrilling voice. At the door, he glances back and points predictably and conclusively at Brother Fire. Mosquito nine mosquito ten, mosquito biting the old man again.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rosita and Clementina

500 Years of Solitude

Dr. Lester Hazlewood-Simon

To tell the truth officer, my sister and I were simply taking a message to Jean and Dinah. We, the two of us, were not round the corner posing, or exposing, or selling anything. This warrant you have been carrying for the arrest of Rosita and Clementina, for over 50 years, is totally unwarranted.

We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wrongful association. Since then, countless diseases have despoiled our bodies and taken up chronic residency in my sister and me, as if we were indigent wards of an infirmary.

First, it was syphilis, which they wrongly claimed we gave to Christopher Columbus and his men, to take back to Europe, after they landed in our country in 1492. Are they claiming that that is what they and Europe got in return for greeting us with sounding brass and tinkling cymbals? How uncharitable.

Do you know how syphilis works? It uses a ploy seen in old, war movies. All the supplies lines are blocked off one by one until there is no bite to eat, no drop to drink. The isolated body consumes itself into a cannibal corpse.

Everyone talks about Tuskegee. Black men with syphilis left untreated. To study the natural course of syphilis. But who remembers our people in Guatemala? Deliberately and barefacedly injected with syphilis. To study how penicillin worked. The doctor in the Tuskegee study was the same boldfaced doctor in our Guatemala experiment. He became assistant surgeon general in the USA Public Health Service. Countless years it took us, to learn to trust doctors again, even after an apology from Hilary Clinton.

So you know how we felt when this local doctor came and took blood from over 75 of us in a room in a place called Stables. He came on a Sunday morning. No day of rest for us. He took vials of blood for HIV study. When the sun set and his eyes grew tired, he foolishly wondered aloud why the light in our room was so dim? How bright? He mocked our Pavlovian response to the mere sight and touch of any invading jab, telling us the hypodermic needle was only a little prick.

I have one apology. The streetwalker near the Yankee base in Antigua. Lost her head. First post-mortem at home for doctor. That headless corpse. His dear cousin, Ethlyn. More than 30 years. Head still not found. In 108 square miles. A very bad joke we made at the time: If you can keep your head when all about you are paying you for it. We were wrong to say that. And worse, we wondered if she was too obstinate with her price? We are truly sorry.

The Mighty Sparrow mashed up my family name. No one in my family can be called Rosita or Clementina again. We put up a good fight against gonorrhea. But our forces could neither kill it by firing guns nor by engaging it in hand-to-hand combat. Gonorrhea is protected, warding off our natural ammunitions, becoming resistant, and turning our genitals into fibrous barricades where neither spermatozoa can travel nor fertilized eggs can leave.

Chlamydia came with gonorrhea, like clapping hands. It too avoided our native, killing forces. Worse, it cannot live alone, so it inhabited us, seized our nutrients for its sustenance, and proliferated and colonized us like cockroaches. Where were extra-large condoms when we needed them?

When we discovered, too late, that we had been doubly infected and realized, after late remedies, that we could not bear children, tears walked down our barren faces like streams of molasses. We had become transitive verbs, gerunds, genitive and dative cases, all at once. Men punctuated body and soul.

Some of our clients joked to their friends that they had never seen a larger galleria of pictures of Mother Mary and Jesus, and of the crucifixion, in any other square meter, as in our room. But on whom should we call? When kilometer men are driving long, meters of nails into our flesh and forcing us to drink sponges of bubbling vinegar and gall at the end of wooden staff, on whom should we call?

Night falls. Garments tumble around our beds. HIV engages a dance of death, starting with deadly handshakes. One hand of HIV engages one hand of the host and the other hand of HIV fuses with the other hand of the host, leading to a warmhearted, penetrating embrace. No condoms in these condominiums?

When Sparrow said there were no more Yankees in Trinidad and that they were going to close down the base for good and girls like Jean and Dinah had to make out how they could, where do you think we went? No one made a row when the Mighty Sparrow took over then and we were sent back home. To meet whom? Not parents. Not friends. Not the assassinating and assassinated Trujillo. The same Yankees who left Trinidad greeted us. As the Mighty Sparrow predicted, we had to eat hard bread by the sweat of our brow; and by the toil of our temple.

HPV is on everyone’s lips these days. Its tactic is old and vulgar. Once, our bodies had legions of sentries, with a molecular policeman; rather like you officer, I dare say. He was the sentinel of forces and signals, sensing danger and damage to property. HPV simply disarms the molecular policeman. And showing no mercy, it does not kill the host. That’s too easy. It spares us so we can flourish in our altered, cancerous state, in living hell, infecting others.

Now officer, after over 50 years, you can arrest my sister and me. Take me first. I am hoary and tired after more than 500 years of solitude and confinement. Death to me, like men, is no maiden voyage. But hold my younger sister, Clementina, tight, tight. Don’t let her go. She wanton.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Friend In Death

Death And The Maiden Voyage

A friend of mine

And dear friend of a member of my family

Died today

From the ravages of prostate cancer

And the rains came down on this parched earth

Quenching some desiccated seed

And thus a new plant will grow in his stead

Making and giving oxygen to another human life

So if you see me stop and talk to a tree

And tell the tree it looks familiar

I am not mad

I have not gone around the bend

I know my family

And I know my friend