Friday, December 31, 2010

My Top Ten Moments of 2010.

10) My fund-raiser curry-que...well....the meat part of it. I just had an insane craving for mudd's thai curried chicken this morning. I remember distinctly that this dish was so bud-blowing that my father pulled on the shoulder on the highway, so he could eat before we got home. I will give credit just where it is due, and say that the man good for something.

9)Carnival this year was more enjoyable than most. I made particular effort to emerge myself in the idea of carnival as an art-form and the preservation of a culture, and that if one could get beyond the modern mainstream mess of a masquerade, there was still a richness to be found in there. From the Canboulay re-enactment, 3 Canal's Jam-It, Dimanche Gras with Shak inside and DCFA's attempt to remind us of the tradition, I'd say I had a good time this year.

8) Being accepted by youthspeaks to be part of the Future Corps. Program for bnv 2010. Despite the fact that this was also one of my bigger disappointments for the year in not being able to make the trip, the thought of it was quite cool.

7) U.We Speak's BLACK 'demonstration' on the promenade. I remember the fast I made that day, my visit to the Church in Grande before my father said he would drop me down to campus. The warning both parents had for me in the car, that this was entirely my decision with possible consequences. The coiling of my stomach when Amilcar asked us to make an individual decision of whether we were to go along with it or not. The way destiny screams in your head sometimes. The idea of me 21, student and in jail. CLR James' Letters to London in my hands, frozen, people questioning me getting no answers, a group of young girls playing in my hair. The police keeping their eyes on us from across the street. What a day.

6) Being the guest-speaker at my primary school's graduation. I had been living in a prior numbness before then and I delivered that speech to myself more than anyone else in that room. The freshness in their faces really inspired me to live again. They were so full of promises and energy. It reminded me what I was about, just when I needed it.

5) My fare-well thing that Gamma put together for me. I was super contented with the corn soup that only Shelly could master like that. Moreso, I was aware like wait...I have friends? Something I had been doubting for a while, and it was encouragement for me that some things are worth pursuing.

4) It was the greatest relief for me to complete my bachelor's with my final exams from London. My mother could now be satisfied and can boast all she wants, (mothers really enjoy that kind of thing). I thank God for allowing me to get through those three excruciating years of legal studies that had zero application to my desired way of life.

3) Nobody that was there can deny the magical reality that was the closing night of the 'March to Caroni' play. The play stopped being a play in the second half of the show and I am sure that all who were present felt it. Sold out and crowded even in the aisles, there was a dead silence throughout the auditorium when the stories of the revolution came forward after the play. That night changed my life. That production changed my life. My pores raise now even thinking about it. 1970 is a restless spirit.

2)My acceptance into Brooklyn College changed my life and the life of those closest to me. Some changes were obviously some painful ones, but some things have to happen for other things to happen. I have no doubt that this is where God ordained that I should be right now in his plan for my life. I sometimes doubt even that and often ask how did I find myself here, but this move was hardly my doing. God is the shifter of universes, and may it be done to me according to his word.

1) To have love and to share it. There are two men in my life that have carried me throughout every one of these moments this year, and I owe so much to their encouragement and prayers and faith, and love..yes there was love. My father and my boyfriend are beyond any possible way of me thanking them. They knew my moments of limitless happiness and my moments of doubt and depression, and have kept watch with me every single day. What I appreciate most about this year, is how they have both recognized and accepted the role of each other in my life, and I thank God for them.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To: the East Indian of my stomach.

I was 7 years old in a single-child kind of world. My aunt had left back a number of accumulated things in the house we were now living in, and I passed my time making use of them. Michael Jackson albums, Spanish vocabulary recordings, a thick book of poems called 'A light in the Attic', new sophisticated additions to my Lego set and a double-sided cassette player.

The player fascinated me. I could now record off the radio, off of another cassette and from my own voice. I developed a way of creating my own all-inclusive radio show that played all types of music and had callers with a number of personalities. I was creating these voices and characters and eventually ended up with a full 80min cassette worth of my imaginary radio announcing.

When I had not been occupied by creating my own worlds, I spent time at my neighbours' house, that towered over our flat as though u could see the rest of the world from there. And I did. I began making connections between personalities and musical preferences and how I would associate particular people with particular music. I eventually created a special cassette dedicated to all five members of the household that included classical music, traditional Indian music, modern american pop, dub reggae and alternative rock music.

I cannot imagine what the reaction would have been like when it was played in my absence upstairs in the presence of all. How do people feel to be categorized by a 7 year old. What I do remember is that they loved me as one of their own children and I thank God that they had the patience to answer every single question I had.

They were my introduction to an East Indian world. To eating with my hands, to heavy pepper in everything, to separate bedding for husband and wife, to the old honour of retired policemen, the value of garden herbs and kneading flour every evening for 5am bread. I then spent more of my time there than by any of my Grandparents. Mr. Singh and I spent hours talking.

He used to show me his backyard plants and what they could be used for. He would always ask me questions to make me think about things, I could hardly remember about what now though. I remember wanting to cut a "gate" into the fence so that I wouldn't have to walk all the way around to the track by the river to get to them.

I would always overhear him telling my father "she is a very, very intelligent girl", I never heard that comment from anyone before. Maybe my average performance at school at the time couldn't convince me of things to come. They were my first second family, and there are so many parts of myself that I can find that are attributable to their over-the-fence schooling.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

To: Americans and their "happy holidays" crap....what de jazz dat mean?!

My nails were done in royal blue last night. I put up a Last Supper metal picture in the dining room, it got smudged on five fingers, I spent over an hour washing wares after this morning's breakfast, not one finger survived the water. Nail polish lasted longer when I was home, and Ryan's mother was right. Women who always wear nail polish might be the lazy ones.

I never took those pictures I changed my camera battery for. The only person who called today was my Uncle who doesn't even celebrate Christmas. The only people who texted were people who I texted first, who actually were people I wanted to surprise without having expectation of them. They are the people who I have appreciated this year, but still not-so-immediate friends. Three friends sent greetings on my fb wall, one my lil sister, another a young man who is deji's cousin and loves Trinidad and Jamaica, and one listed as my 'brother' in the family tab with a copy n paste text picture. Anika, Rihanna and their mom made me smile. Such beautiful souls/humans/women. See below.

This place became the vacuum I thought it would. The people I have laughed and talked with here are sooo pretensive. Something I call the 'leak and leave' effect. They get what they want out of you, and move swiftly along. Oh, I'm drifting back into the idea of the lack of reciprocity in my earlier note. I really need to get a term for that phenomenon.

Breakfast went well this morning. It was a balanced mix of youth and experience. I appreciated that there were no deadbeat people at the table, and that everyone was able to contribute to discussions over life politics and things. Everyone and their convictions over a wonderful Trinidadian breakfast prepared by my roommate.

Ryan has been with me today, he made every effort to be around whenever I needed him to be. I might think that his day was even more rough than mine. My parents made the extra effort to hold up after my mom broke down on the phone this morning. I don't feel like talking about this again.

Tomorrow is snow. 10-16 inches of it. My father said he wished he could beam me home like they used to on star-trek.

Friday, December 24, 2010

To: The thoughts that keep me up this early.

Gamma told me once that it was always better to love someone who successively fails to make things happen according to plan, than to have someone who labours on pretense and who cannot love me the right anyway. My walk has been blessed and I have my life to show for it all.

My mother asked me tonight to remember that they love me, adrift to the snoring of my knocked-out-in-four-minutes father. I wish I could help her with the cleaning this year. I never thought I would be saying that, but you learn things when you don't have them. I thought to myself today while driving down a screw in the wall to hold up a clock that I have come a long way from earlier laziness. I have also come away from the thought of an elaborate house. I mean, does dust really serve a purpose?

I have had up to my neck in lessons of reciprocity. The Trinidadian kind. Coelho would never believe how much his "favour-bank" theory does not apply to people here. My family and I have gone out of our way a number of times for some of our friends and family who live out here in the U.S. and have never had the courtesies returned. I guess expectation is not much of a Christian concept either. Nobody owes me anything, I should remember that more often.

Monday, December 20, 2010

To: whatever brought u to my blog today.

Two of my two final exams will come in a few hours from now. My brain takes early vacation on me sometimes. I am trusting that my work during the semester will brew me a not-so-bad day tomorrow. I wish to be beyond it all. In a few hours I guess. There is an eclipse due sometime tonight, I would like to walk outside in my sleepwear and stand gazing at it. Then I remember the natural inconvenience this place is. To freeze even with my jacket on.

My room looks like my brain. If I was living here alone, I would probably not clean it before weekend. I would make sure the season wasn't too apparent and sit down and watch tv on Saturday like nobody's business. Watching tv. I haven't done that since summer was here.

I dreamt today in a short sleep between books that I made it in time for Mrs. Ali's Requiem Mass at school, winter clothes and all. I tripped in my boots and another teacher helped me up. I was standing at the back of the Hall, with not much people there. Even my dreams are full of empty spaces. I miss her though. Something in me still can't get past her leaving. My mind hasn't made the cross-over yet.

I think of my back as a series of knots, like a tapestry of sorts, and there is something about the cold that keeps fraying the hold in them. That is annoying.

My hair has been straight for a few days now, temporary until whenever. I don't particularly love it, but it works better with the winter hats. Everybody thinks it looks better this way, but I just feel like I told the lion in me to shut up. It's too typical a look for me.

I'm going to go back to my roommate's version of ochro-rice and stew chicken, and corner up again with a stack of hand-outs. Maybe I shouldn't sleep tonight.

Friday, December 17, 2010

to: the friday before the friday before Christmas.

I would want to wonder what the meaning of my contained catastrophes would be six months from today. It's more official now that I'm not going home for Christmas, it's even more official that Ryan will not be coming home for Christmas, and my roommate will hardly be home for most of the Christmas. I have held strength in my voice on phone calls and had tears pushed back into tidal waves that broke after conversations on skype.

"should tears come, let them come to wash away bitterness..". Not sure of how many of these cleansings I need to go through before things could stop staining me mudd. This place will make a woman of me, I knew that months ago before knowing what it meant. There are always the moments of light and I am surely grateful over each one.

I was too broken this week not to break with my fears of performing. It was an almost involuntary seizing of a moment, and I got my release. I needed to be sure I was still breathing. I needed to get out of the numbness. So I did so. Maybe I just need to embrace the empty, so I can find my voice back. I forgot what I sounded like until last weekend in the booth.

I've been singing my way out of this last week. Trying to call my song back out of the silence. It sometimes feels like the only thing to do when the coldness is pressing its weightlessness against your body. I hate the way I always know everything before it happens. It makes me sound faithless.

Time will come and go as it needs to. I might turn into a Neruda by the end of January. That would in itself be wonderful too. I am smiling tonight though.

Monday, November 29, 2010

To: the lack of formality.

My mother knocked down a birthday card I made for her earlier this year, and spent the rest of the day crying. The type of tears my father has no control or magical power over. The spell that she and I fall into, until we forget what we were crying for anyway. It becomes the best time to think of everything worth crying about.

The way I need him around. The way God seems to test patience into existence. The way my father falls ill on Friday evenings.Like breaking fast one hour before time and the guilt that follows you, for days after. The way news of death builds writer's block in my head one tombstone at a time. Christmas is going to be hard on her.

"The trees are naked." I would tell God on my way to school every morning. There have been people here who have clothed me and I am grateful for it. I now need a new closet to store under my bed, next to my other ambitions. There is a power much bigger than my self who is insisting that I not gravitate towards stages and audiences and these releases I used to have. For whatever reason, I am trusting that He knows best.

Co-incidence and fate sleep in each other's company some nights. There are a million things raging mutiny on the surface of my skin. Things not responsive to diet changes or the best of fabric softeners. Storms in my green tea.

There is still a light to be sought after.

Copyright © 2010 Arielle John

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To: Don when it was possible.

I would have more patience with you
if warm air heaving over cut grass
didn't stain the room so humid.
Didn't heat my thoughts into losing form
If the last three hours waiting for you
would turn themselves in
like some amnesty for poor excuses,
You might have convinced me some afternoon

That would daze just like this one.
Except for quick coldness
now wrapping around
the tense of my limbs,
I am sitting in a waiting room again,
Learning how much of the breath in me
turned wind to your face.
the way how money and mother
wish to revive you again,
the way I didn't understand you.

I asked you, who will come after,
who would carry the inner tremors
of strain in your laughter,
too humble to think
you affected nobody out here.
But there will be no
gun salute at your funeral,
shooting skyward
makes a hurricane of bullets,
raining a memory
too recognizable to your flesh,
to your hands,
to my disarmed way of arguing life with you.
Just that my words needed not to come through
this way.

Copyright © 2010 Arielle John

Thursday, November 4, 2010

to: the contained volumes of voice

Born on the quiet side of the sunrise,
Fingers of light
paired and resting chestward
checking the pulse of honesty.
Never cried till they forced me to,
drew on the deepest of breath
to sink the fears of my mother in,
till echo
and the resounding
of heartbeat and siren musicales
dug into nursing room walls like
birth sinking graves into new bodies.

I have buried the remains of gospels
in the hollow of my neck,
carried whole rivers
in the gulf of my chest,
and waited for levees to break
under the weight of the wind in my lungs.
How does it feel to stand on an island
in the freedom of air again?

Brooklyn has prepared itself
for hushing exchanged secrets.
for containing living compartments,
and quieting their voices in its sleep.
We might wake on mornings and find it
necessary to scream,
To announce just how much we live,
Mostly without being able to hear ourselves.

Friday, October 29, 2010

to: the emotional lapse of my speech.

She asks that I engage every word.
Till breath curls to hug every syllable at the waistline.
Till tongue commit to practice an trap all what momentum taste like.
How to learn to cheat reflexes.
How to iron the heavily accented,
whiff-of-a-British throatedness
for the sake of clarity?
There is much more conflict in me than it have in this scene.

Copyright © 2010 Arielle John

Monday, October 25, 2010

to the white police leaning on my front gate last night.

You and I both know how well beyond 1am it is, wind pressing your arms into a fold, pulled to chest over the metal of your badge, surely you feel how far summer has gone from here.
It feels strange to walk on to my own porch, that I'm being watched, that I might look suspicious, collecting a parcel from the white civic that just pulled up, in front of front of my gate so is in front of me.
and if you really need to know officer, is only two roti, one shrimp and one goat meat, I would think it too cold for west indians to be making trouble in these parts, this hour, in this temperature. Smiling "Goodnight Officer!" to all 135 degrees of you on my gate..sitting, and we both know how deep into the morning now is.

Copyright © 2010 Arielle John

to the anchor of my father's strides.

Leather jackets are heavy on the backs of island men. You won't be here long enough to get accustomed to it, so we will walk as slow as you need to. Turn these run-down, everywhere red-brick to flower garden scenic. Until this side-walk of another man's treasure, turns orange leaves to feathers underfoot. You give the ground enough faith to rise above itself, so brooklyn is road bumps and middle-road mini mountains. Take your time, I will remember you better this way.

Copyright © 2010 Arielle John

Monday, October 11, 2010

to: the way the sun falls.

Heya people. I'm embarking on a new series of short pieces that I will post ever so often. I am creating conversations with elements of life, as I have experienced it. These are the things I would say to these people/things/places if I could.

To: the way sun falls without evening.

this degree of awkward between us would have been bearable if we avoided each other completely. The frigid of your blank morning stares cringe capillaries to blue in my palms. The brown of me recoiling like back-stroking tidal waves on my limbs, your quiet glimpses have been turning me,scribing passages of braille on my skin, I never thought you could change towards me this much.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

But It's Sunday.

So today Ryan goes: baby did you write in your blog today?
Me: I've been sick all weekend, what you think?
Ry: but it's Sunday!!
Me: Um whatever.

Even the dramatic form has taken over my easier moments. So tells the story of my days I suppose. Work and work and More. My writing is in my construct of scene work and play critiques, the poetry grows between the invocations of the dialouges in my head on African literature and forms.

My head hurts. to bed I go.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


an after-lunch Manhattan.
raising its best
truth or dare questions
to a clouded blue
on top of
glass-houses are see-through
on days with enough light.
That they would frame a utopia
from steel and neon signs,
side-walkers use cigarettes
to incense city shrines,
floating on vapourized
nicotine like the sky fell down
on 33rd street.
I shouldn't have to breathe
easier underground.

Copyright © 2010 Arielle John

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The road to Ithaca.

There is the breathing easier this week knowing that he won't be working the long hours as in the last, but the straining thought of me possibly being the laden one this time. My weekend was okay. Filled with love as it grows into something more beautiful than yesterday,and less wonderful than it will be when I wake up tomorrow. He might be the sole constant in my life and I am thankful for it all.

In this last week, i had my introduction meeting to capoeira class. I've always wanted to learn the technique, and it's the latest in my 'oh women can do that too' ego-trip. lol. But seriously though. I enjoy the idea of becoming the foundation of something. This is the first batch of students that will do capoeira at this college and i anticipate growth in myself and the formation of a new community.

The coldness is annoying, just. Makes you (well, me.) counter-productive and dreary. I've not been getting time nor freedom of mind to do any writing. I hope that the upcoming writing workshops would be able to cure that somehow though. I do write a whole lot more of my opinion with this degree as compared to my first, but it still doesn't find the peace enough to fall into stanzas.

I should find a way or means of motivating myself to take this Latino diasporic class more seriously. It's a drag because of the fact that I feel disconnected from it and there is no emotional attachment between me and the subject matter. Then what of whites that have to sit through my African diasporic classes. If they can do it..

Menaremenaremenaremenaremenaremenaremen are men. and we should probably expect less than we actually do for them. I am tired of men and their ways. I promise I love my boyfriend and father recklessly, like it was what I was told to do with my being. but there is something about me that creates subtle havoc with the other sex, and that too I am tired of.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Falsetto. The Air.

The chill in the air, decides to show itself to me. It is drizzling tonight, thunder and lightening from a floating heaviness up there. He asked that I wake him up about fifteen minutes ago so he could get back to work. He works so hard and gets so tired sometimes, it feels like a greater sin to disturb that rest. So I will do that after I post this entry. I know no man more diligent, and I see all the time where dedication takes him. He loves just as hard as he labours. They might both essentially be the same thing.

There is a bothersome thing about the people of this country that has been taking my mind over in the past few days, ever since that show in the city last Friday. The way people look you in the eye and blatantly ignore all memory of previous interaction. The way people here pretend as though they've never seen you all their life, when you've worked alongside them, did a scene together with them in class a few hours ago, spoke to them, have them listed as a 'friend' on fb, competed against them. No recollection. I would like to call it a 'falsetto' even though the real meaning of the word has nothing to do with relations. Americans are a strange species.

I would want to read and think and write. but there is work to be prepared for classes, and those tend to have priority over most else. I am in another place and still fed up of the anti-female-secret-campaign back at home with respect to female performers. The "we don't promote tokenism" (end quote.) b.s. and the hypocritical advances of the same men who use their craft to 'promote' women. I hate to always have to think in gender terms, but I do it out of necessity. Just when you thought things have changed. They take it to the next level.

Tired. Goodnight.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ten Things About.

Ten random things in NY that I keep forgetting to post.

1) The dollar taxi is actually two dollars.

2) Americans do not buy KFC.

3) EVERY item of clothing that seems to make less sense to wear in Trinidad, only for the sake of fashion, actually HAS a purpose here i.e. sunglasses- the glare sometimes is ridiculous, leggings- underwear in the cold, scarves- voice savers, boots- as boots. etc.

4) the high-pitchedness of the voices of American children trip me off.

5) Eat when you hungry. do not eat when you are not hungry.

6) it scares me that one of the most 'crime-ridden' cities as portrayed in mainstream media, is safer at night than Port of Spain on most given nights.

7) Americans don't get AIDS as much as we do in the Caribbean, because they get diagnosed with smaller, more trivial illnesses, maybe like kidney problems,flu, lung disease or something. Keeps the statistics down. damn liars.

8) Fruit and vegetables and the way they stalk you on every corner in them Korean green-grocer-shops, is a beautiful thing....also addictive.

9) Times Square is actually a rectangle.

10) Personal Space does not matter in Public transportation.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Land of the Free.

In the time I'm supposed to take to read an essay written by someone brilliant and with the surname "Fuchs".I had been asking God to ease me up on scripts with high explicit language content, and he insisted tonight that i laugh to myself. Today has been one of those all-day-in-bed sick days. Tonight is for work I suppose. Being the West-Indian-laden neighbourhood that this is, it's no secret that Labor Day is coming around. The fella across the road (clearly a DJ) has been blasting calypso, soca and reggae since 7:16am (room curtains pulled all the way open, speakers facing outward)and is quite happily going into the evening....oh wait, i mean...morning...

Yesterday I sat in the bus that took like 15mins to get to my stop because of an accident ahead causing traffic, and a fire behind causing back-up, crowded and 5pm direct-sun, warm. A middle-aged man boards and makes his way to the elevated part of the bus at the back and shouts praises to God in both English and Spanish (as he sees fit), with a half-yankee islanded accent, as he struggles his way through the crowd.

He begins quoting scripture once he gets to a comfortable position in his make-shift podium, and a nice man offers me an inside seat, so I thank God silently for a resting place. The preacher is calling for "Amen's" and "Alleluia's" and makes sure that every two lines that he blasts has rhyming effect. He is shouting. I have a headache, the girl who is now next to me has a pair of headphones on.

He goes on to announce that the bus is a 'tough crowd' because no one is responding to him, and that one should not deny Christ in public. The girl next to me finally turns around to him and says that she has no problem with his preaching, but that he should take it down and not shout so loudly. He tells her that she needs to have respect for a Minister of God, and that he will praise his God as he sees fit. That she should humble herself when the word of God is being delivered. Another man joins in and says that just as how he respects his rights to preach on a bus, he should respect his right to a peaceful afternoon. The preacher goes on to tell them that he has freedom of speech and freedom of religion. A small quarrel begins. They all dismount the bus at the next stop, each of them more unhappy than when they entered.

Here lives the greatest irony of America, in the question of rights and freedoms. Lines, boundaries and the question of 'how far'? The biggest recent eruption of this question being the Mosque issue at ground zero over in Manhattan. The same country that pushes the equality agenda, still selectively discriminates. Because of the influence of post-modernism in a land of no absolutes and no definite truths, there is no black and white of equality (of course, no pun intended), and striking balances will always be a grey area. Somebody always wins or benefits more than another.

I would also want to take the time to acknowledge the efforts of the twins (Brendon and Brandon) and the rest of the smiths. Although we never agree on anything (j/k guys), I really appreciate the fact that they are young people who are willing to get the dialouge started (at least on Sexual Orientation). The whole issue of rights and living as a society and how do we deal with things as a people is important. love all of you dearly. *hugs*.

I only have my opinions. complete with my own biases and short-comings at times. But I do learn, and every lesson is a gift. I pray only that God makes me all the more wiser by them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the feminine minus the fangs.

The odds of a rasta trinidadian tapping you on your shoulder in a near rush-hour Manhattan street corner, while waiting for the light to change. The randomite calling himself Collin. The discomforting awareness of minimal media exposure on a small island, makes it almost believable that he "knows you from somewhere". I do the safe dismissive thing to do, and he takes offence and starts to list out for me why he is an independent, 21st century, black and obama-nated, green-carded trini man who wishes to and is eligible enough to become a 'friend' of mine. God should forgive you when you lie for your the sake of your own safety as a woman.

I realized last night that there was a connection between what we as Catholics know as the 'Stella Maris' (latin for- 'Star of the Sea'), a title used for the Virgin Mary and Yemanja/Yemoja/Yemaja deity of the orisha tradition, goddess of the sea and patron deity of women. Mary is seen as the mother of all, Yemanja is seen as the mother of all the saints. The difference between them would be their measure of divinity by the both groups. The Virgin Mary is not believed to be a goddess. I stood staring at the sea on Saturday for a long time as I always do. The sea is just as feminine as the moon.

I thought I had applied for a black college. Still looking for my kind. Still looking.

Finally, I've located a capoeiera class. Fingers crossed that the class times fit my schedule.

Into the train this evening entered two black men with drums, playing for money. It made my day. was too short. The recession is doing it to people here. regardless of colour and all prior ambition.

Tomorrow, another day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Set Apart.

It might seem or come across as being the largest possible betrayal of West-Indian self in the history of Trinbagonian green-cardism, but I don't know why it became taboo to go to the beach here, and the bigger sin, to go swimming in the water. The same Atlantic would find us here a few degrees lower than what we may be accustomed to, but just as salted and as clear as we would have it.

New York is the dream of globalization riveted into one society. Yesterday someone said that the Chinese and Haitians are always so 'cliqueish' and never go beyond their own parameters. There was a sizable Chinese family next to our spot at the beach yesterday, at what i think was a birthday celebration. Tai chi/yoga sessions, traditional dance, (lots of) lo mein, mahjong, and what i thought to be the largest collection of fortune cookies I have ever seen. From the youngest to oldest, all involved. Maybe it's because of the way they choose to organize themselves, but they were no more a 'clique' than we were as a group of about 50 Trinbagonians with our 20 something dishes and calypso. You keep to what you know. What you know is comfortable. Who you know gives comfort.

Much of the Trinidadians here who were able to become immigrants before the post- 9/11 clamp down, seem to all be stuck in the era of smutty calypso with their brass-based, double entendre melodies. The pre-cursor to soca music maybe. Labour Day is coming up soon...and I'm not sure yet of what that means for me. Undecided.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


There is a Haitian woman sitting in the cedar pew in front of mine, well dressed, and makes me wonder how she got her make-up on so perfectly. Her loa sits on her right side, and seems to be pestering her for the entire duration of the Mass. Some times their exchanges seem casual, at other times, she turns hostile towards it (if it is an it). Tells it that he/she should be listening to what the priest is saying (who happens to be a sizeable white man speaking creyol fluently)....but if I were a loa...

The bus today is welcoming for weather like this. At this stop, a medium height African-American man, slim in his 50s with all-grey ungroomed facial hair, the scent of prolonged roaming and a hinting of alcohol in his speech, boards the bus with two larger-than-life duffel bags, that look like war garrisons made from tetrex cloth. He is wearing what looks like a woollen collar from an old jacket,that spread from behind his two ears on either side, like some insects do. Today he is in a baseball jacket, and an embroidered Chinese pants, stopping before his ankles, waiting for the place where his old school nikes start. He stands at a pole near to the middle of the bus and he is a ninja. He holds to the post and ducks down at every traffic light, street traffic, and mumbles silently to himself, that they might find him. Now the bus driver is not happy.

It is 10:14am. I am sitting alone in the train, with a mother and her two daughters across from me, a young unmarried man, obliquely opposite me. A man in a jacket, shorts and thick black rimmed glasses with a back-pack on one shoulder is on the other end of my bench. We get to a stop, and he gets up from his seat and walks to the door of the train, looks around onto the platform, but doesn't come off, the doors close back in, and he is still standing, looking outside. There is a horrid smell that crawls under my nose. The younger girl's entire face clenches and looks at her sister. Seeing each other's reactions, they look to their mother for a confirming eye. we all look around at each other, the mother looks at me and we are all, laughing inside, containing breaths and laughter. soon we are all giggling and looking down the cabin at the man standing at the door. at the next stop, they all get off, and the young man looks at me and holds his nose while he gets off. I laugh, until I realize I alone am left in the cabin, with the trail and the joke. He who laughs last I suppose.

copyright © 2010 Arielle John

Friday, July 30, 2010

Rise over Run: post-algebric expression.

Buljol and boil corn for dinner tonight. There is something here that excites me about living. I have gotten way past the prospect of fast food, and I am well-attracted to the idea of becoming vegetarian again. I will prepare my own meals, so I can control and moderate what I eat now, without having to worry. As soon as I settle well enough, the school gym will find me regular. I miss my bike...don't think I could be on the road with these drivers though. things get a lil crazy.

The exam was a labour of its own, but I survived it.results would give my mixed feelings some direction. I'm becoming a lil impatient for school to begin. I have just over a month before it does, but...iono...maybe they will give me stuff to do to occupy my time in the interim.

Brooklyn is Trinidad, but for taller buildings, bigger side-walks, and lack of roadside doubles vendors, and is the epitome of Caribbean integration. There are jamaican restaurants that sometimes double as movado-blasting weed rooms, latinos who always sound like they being aggressive or angry over something, women standing in the street asking about where to get good bargains in their Haitian Creole, usually the loudest thing u can hear, Bajan store clerks in payless, Nigerians asking if you need a taxi, and a petit-blanc french man trying to hustle you to buy his watches. you ask him if they are for free, and he walks off on you.

People in Grande leave their houses better dressed than they do here. There is a general sense of "nothing here to see here" kind of living.I have seen no women in work suits here, like we have at home. every day is dressed down. Brooklyn is brick-red. there is colour and energy, korean-owned side-walk market that sell Chief products, apple J and chubby soft drinks.

The men here are different. The trick is that if you catch them watching you when you see them, is that you look away as early as is possible. they don't give the same chat as trini men do (something to smile about), but you better pray he's not talking to a friend, else he will make sure that you over-hear his conversation that is co-incidentally about you.

There is something about here that makes a bigger void of him not being here yet. Air expands and fills spaces. My life gets bigger, the space gets bigger. we don't love in a vacum though. all has it's time, and placing, and God knows that better than we do.

Moving tomorrow, both dread and excitement.

Monday, July 26, 2010

of things had and hadn't.

I am not excited over this math. since i left it behind five years ago, algebra has never assisted any part of my performing career, legal research or daily living. I don't get the essentialism in it, and the importance of it finding itself in a standardized test. Sworn enemies I tell you.

Ry said that i should leave home without regrets, and there's just one that i have, that I never made it to seeing Chief or making way up to Aripo before leaving. I must promise myself that on my next visit there, that I will make it my duty to go. But I am going back to the apple tomorrow though, and that's always good news, for long days. The light here disappears at 9pm, and starts at 5:45am. if there were ever a long day, find it here.

I am still dreaming a lot. People keep appearing there asking that I forgive them, and how they've been reacting to me lately. I don't know if those are genuine feelings floating in the universe somewhere or whether its me, in my own head, trying to justify their actions (or indifference) and tellin mehself- "Don't tote". Sometimes people disappoint you, when it seems like they've witheld their blessing. Life walks.

The team from Brooklyn- Urban Word, topped at the bnv finals this year. I hope to work with them during my time this end. get some inspiration, some experiences, and I'm pretty excited about being part of the family. soon to come. The messy part of here is the nightly shows when I have no dad for pick ups. I'm now handicapped that way. it may take a while to settle like that.

I've been faring well without dad being around. the only hurting part of me is when the medication hurls side-effects at him. He has to be on strict diet, because it can easily give srokes and heart-attacks, but there is a balm in Gilead. God sees and knows, and feels when we do.

back to the math.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


it is 101 degrees in Virginia today,I have stayed at home, it might be safer here.
Yesterday we toured the monuments in Washington, got roasted while walking, and spent the afternoon at...a cemetery?!

Arlington cemetery- where all the famous 'brave' (american, korean, vietnamese) soldiers have been buried. It was just a revelation of how much blood America has taken to get her to where she is, and still...empty lots in waiting for afghan troops.

What had gotten to me most, was this tomb, guarded 24/7/365. rain, hail, sun, snow, brimstone, tornado, these soldiers pace about ten feet, up and down, guarding this marble slab called- the tomb of the unknown soldier. It sure has heck has no significant meaning to me, in my un-american-ness, but i mean....not even Jesus' tomb is guarded that was 99 degree sun yesterday and I still don't know if wars can be justified.

tomorrow we go to church here, gosh i miss home for that part. back to brooklyn soon. here lacks the rush and excitement of moments. the colours i wear are too bright for these parts. stands me out more than is necessary. bnv is over, and gives me less to think.over.

I dream a lot these nights. i guess too it takes time for the location of your dreams to catch up with you. they are all at home, in familiar places. with familiar people, in not-so-familiar situations, like only dreams can deliver you. there are some bridges left to be mended, time, only time, and some effort.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Collis, Jelani, Skeeto.

the most beautifulest music to be squeezed from my island pulp.

the whethers

Maybe I don't cope well with luxury but today i'm outside, doing what seems to be thawing from the house. the cold air is drying my skin out beyond recognition (as my own)and i etch reminders on it in my sleep. scales and scars.

I have settled to more comfortable days this week, but the moon will not turn for me. she must have peeped into my old bedroom through my window and realized how I didn't sleep there any more. maybe she can't find me yet. more an annoyance than a problem.

i seem to be still avoiding the thought of exams next week. i am not studying. I will have to, at some point. Ryan says artists avoid numbers because they are fixed and are less able to be manipulated into something else, as music and words and colours are.the unmalleable.this is one time i cannot dance my way around things.

We're still in the business of making the right plans. opens us up to so many possibilities. wherever life takes us, it should be something to look forward to. Here's to faith that he makes it here for Christmas. Maybe by then, God will give us the smile we've been waiting for. so, maybe it's time to get back to the house.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I look at him sleeping sometimes, and I miss moments before their arrival. anticipation turns memory and dream, something familiar. My mother says I should not be so serious about love just yet, I am young and life needs teach me more of itself. I do not see the need (or the possibility) of outgrowing this one blessing, my spirit has vowed it so.

Washington is dry air, toco heat and dull shades- grey and pastel. I should get used to cold nights by the time we leave here. the poetry festival started yesterday, some hundred miles from here....and I am still on the polar end of the country. What miss yuh ain't pass yuh. Things will come up...maybe. I've recognized the need to start over, from scratch. everything, poems included.

I have not written much since I left home. I am still building image in my head. who I am here, and now. there will be change. Responsibility will make me woman and I will choose how I should live. I cannot move forward until I have consulted with my God, and made a fast. I cannot think straight enough to write on crooked lines, for myself, not here.

School is on its way. It seems a long way off for me still, but that too will pass quickly. I am tired of shopping. It must stop. now. I would like to spend more time relaxing, thinking and sleeping long hours rather than running around everywhere like sales were salvation.

This week should lend more quiet. less tears, more love and greater peace.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

first impressions of a land not-so-strange

been three days in this corner, here is crowded but more comfortable and cosy than most apartments in these parts. saw my new home tonight. i am comfortable with the thought of a new life there. it is cold here for me, cold summer. no anticipation for less gentle seasons. i am learning quickly, street names, dialects, that people aren't too big on appearance on these streets. i am two blocks from the park and yet to visit it. bobo shantis smile with me here too. i have said the word- 'perdon' 4 times and- 'oui' 2 times today... unintentionally. latinos and haitians are everywhere. a haitian woman said to me last night "we are almost the same"...i think she was trying to make me comfortable. we are the same. who we became was an accident of floating earth. brooklyn has too many familiar things to be so far from home..

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


my grips are in garbage bags.

I'm tired of throwing dreams out.
the only thing that gets collected
on mornings,
is dust,
skinning teal-coloured plastic.

They would always come back
stare you still,
and spill empathy
from air-tight recall.
like the begining of a breath,
short but pronounced,
and there in every pull.

one suitcase will
not allow room
for so many things.
can't store anymore problems
in this closing space,

nomads trace their leaving
behind them.


Of things eyes brighten over.
but comes daylight with a drag
less tug, more escorting.
easy walk from smiles,
to less crooked lips
straight to the point,
rushed goodbyes
and kissed sores.

I'm in no hurry
for bitterness.
For dried salt streamed
like tribal marks,
buried into my cheeks.
these eyes are marble
and flint and opal.
with no last words,
only better hopes.

Arielle John copyright © 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010


That will teach faith to have self-worth again,
Remind trust how to believe in itself
Lend light to sulking mornings,
And baffle a whole lot of people.

All I have left,
is a handful of promises,
a heartful of hopes.
and it's all I have left.

copyyright © 2010 Arielle John.

Monday, May 17, 2010


There is irony.

Blessed under heat of stung palms,

Red and beating like goat skin prized it,

This should not surprise us again.

Woven in breaths taken, not swallowed,

I will not take the venom in,

I will not make my melanin lose faith in itself,

I will not pretend to accept that women

Are treated as any flesh of yours,

Barren your days will be,

Shrivelling spines with brittle bones,

there is no going back

for me.

I will not be part of your colony,

Naming ceremonies,

and semblances of freedom,

Hold your own flag,

call it what you want,

Chant your songs,

Beat your drums,

Fall in love

With the call of your own voice-

Over and over again,

Folding, falling back on itself-

Over and over again,

Sleep with your own echoes

every black night in your beds,



This is my end.


© 2010 Arielle John

Friday, May 14, 2010

40 days.

I came to miss your mischief

Like it wasn’t morning anymore,

Like daytime settled lazy

Among pillows of cloud.

There is no pillar shrouding the sky for me

To predict the walk of my wakings

Wind would hush the dreams in my eyes,

Down the sheets of collecting lids,

The wilderness would wish for rain like today.

Tapping everything in me awake,

Till my colours come back.

Till thunder returns to my chest,

Until memory learns how to sing again,

I will wait.

© 2010 Arielle John.

Friday, April 30, 2010

on protecting our own.

Greetings and Peace be with you.
As recommended viewing by the Catholic Youth Secretariat (webpage) , I had tuned in to tonight's episode of "Who wants to be a millionaire in God's Kingdom", and I was disturbed by a comment that was made on the program.

They had been in the business of introducing the three teams, and when getting to the team from Fatima College in blue, under the team-name "saints", the host then remarks that the team-name created a "paradox" of some sort, with the sly expression of "If you know what i mean!" on his face, with one raised eyebrow. The other host joins in, and laughs almost uncontrollably at what seems to be funny for everyone in studio, except for the three (visibly not impressed) young men from Fatima.

The joke clearly was made in reference to the homosexual video episode earlier this week, with two boys from the school, and it troubles me to know that these young men from a Catholic school, go on to a Catholic television program to be made fun of, because of an issue that happened in the a Catholic school, that for years has not been sufficiently and effectively addressed.

It's the same as watching your house burning down and adding kerosene to the fire. They might look the same, but kerosene carries a stench, water does not. I know that culturally, we have a way of turning the most serious events and mishaps into comedy, but there is a time and place for all things, and this should not be the attitude when the church is facing such a vulnerable time as this one.

Do we as youth of the Catholic Church, allow this issue to become aggravated and a permanent stigma on our institutions, or do we use the unfortunate event to create forums for discussion, sharing, and Spirit-led instruction as to where the Church stands on the issue? Are we ready to assist and lend counsel to youth in our churches who may be struggling with homosexual and lesbian tendencies? Are we still going to pretend that the problem doesn't even exist?

The funny thing about being 'Catholic' is the whole idea of it being 'universal'. Which means that as the Body of Christ, if one part falls apart, no other part is left standing.

God's Blessings to you.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Poems are fragile,
Try to create ideas
and then they just fin-

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Jehovah Jireh
if you allow feet to walk
then too- resting place.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


hardest way to love
music- nothing without rests.
spaces- rooms to fill.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Forty and empty
Age doubled over to scorn
Wisdom can't blossom

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Haiku #13

Curves conceive fullness
the moon is ovulating,
nativity struck.

Haiku #12

Mind wants to create,
Heart is fixed on pleasing God,
Together only.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Haiku #11

Supply breath and word,
Create memory and sound,
God has copyright.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Haiku #10

men cheat, women cheat,
I won't and I've told you so,
but words are empty.

Haiku #9

prodigal jaws hug,
pregnant portugal pulp pipes
its way to pulp-pits.

Haiku #8

we will be written,
you love like your grandfather,
faith nor fate can heal.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Haiku #7

Survey passage text,
Spawns itself from my passage,
Feminist cliché.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Haiku #6

searched skies across earth,
discovery never smiled
as God has on us.

Haiku #5

rehearse approach in mirror
reflects brokenness.

Friday, February 19, 2010


essays are writing,
less creation more vomit,
time can't elude me.

Haiku #3

the weight of waiting
rests heavily when he can't.
splits sinews straight down.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Haiku #2

Driving a wedge through
History turned taboo now
Djembe will sing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Haiku marathon

getting back into the habit of blogging. I may not have time to write a full poem everyday, but i want to make the effort of writing a haiku a day, for a long time :)on just about everything and anything.

Haiku #1

When you keep quiet
Between us in silences
Earth opens her mouth.