305-878-1974

Miami, FL 33133, USA

©2017 by Tom Grasse

Stories are better than pictures.

October 4, 2017

Writing about a life experience is the best way to preserve the memories. The year that I lived in Jamaica was transformative. Recently, I went back and visited a certain, very interesting place.

 

ALLIGATOR POND 
 

I pulled the pup from the road  
One eyeball had popped out of its darling head 
There was a party that day at Dejon's 
No guest should have to see that sad sight 
Or the vultures that would have soon arrived


Claudia said "Put it on the other side" 
This time I dragged it across to the far side of the road 
into the bush 
Miss T never knew to say thanks 
I retired to my plastic chair 
Waiting for the Mothers Day party to begin

 
Curried goat, fried fish, jerk chicken... 
And later a band 
No one had arrived when it was time for me to go 
But Miss T dished me up a plate full of her fine cooking

 
Neil came from Kingston to pick me up 
One last visit to the beach of sand and scales 
Little Ochie would be hopping. It was. 
Fresh fish, lobster, conch and crabs aplenty 
And mothers dressed in their Sunday Best 


Earlier that day, after a long walk toward Port Kaiser 
to watch birds...
Another walk down to the beach 
To see the fishermen bring in their catch 
And to drink a Red Stripe or two 


I bought "Reggae Pop" for the kids up the road 
And spicy red shrimps for me to crunch on the walk back 
Brother Angus and I talked and shared the shrimp 
as we strolled home 
The old man had just preached the Book of Ruth 
at the Church of God 
It was Mothers Day, after all 

He blessed me as he turned to enter his ramshackle house 


Back at Dejon's I took my sponge bath 
Nothing would flow from the showerhead 
My stay in the bar was luxurious nevertheless 
One big, dark, open room. A small kitchen to the side 
Three small, hot guest rooms on the left, one mine 
A bar to the back and another on the right 
Claudia and Rochelle to look after me and me alone 
Dejon's was the only Inn in Alligator Pond

 

Up at "Red Lobster" I showed my card trick to Kit 
a boy about five 
He will never forget this mystic man 


After dragging away the dog, I could not get Kit out of my mind 
The shabby cars drive much too fast through Alligator Pond 
Children will die just like the dog. I know it 
There is too much pride and abandon in these men 
(Though sometimes I wish I had some of their bravado) 


The mother spent time with her dead pup that day 
A gentle sniff before walking off 
Only to return later, unfit to comprehend the fate 
A dog forgets. Mothers Day will be fine with the rest of her litter


I leave Jamaica with sweet memories 
Ilie the Rasta, Claudia, Rochelle and Miss T 
Sharon, Kit and Karina from Red Lobster 
Constable Miller and Brother Angus 
The good people of Alligator Pond 
A place unchanged in the thirty years since I last visited.

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