I dreamed about my dogs last night. They were playing in the yard of a house I have dreamed of before. A lady walked up the street and showed them to me saying “Look! They here. This lady been keeping them for you.”
Shaka had suffered a broken leg but it was healed (if a little bowed) and he was running toward me like always. Sahara was sleeping on a patch of sunny grass and Bear’s once russet fur had turned a miraculous shade of purple – which is perfectly permissible in dreams.
We played and dug holes and ate mangoes. When it was time for me to go I asked if they wanted to come with me but they said, no, they were fine there.
I’d like to think that all the people and dogs that I have loved and lost are all somewhere they are fine being – eating mangoes and lying in sunny patches of grass.
Today was the third day. While I visit my dead at different points during the year – birthdays, death days and any days – I see Samhain, All Saints Day and All Souls Day as a special kind of pilgrimage in the magpie-like way I pick and choose rites and rituals and stitch them together to make my own personal obeah.
It was peaceful walk today with the smells of incense and candle wax and freshly cut grass and mud and dirt and flame and evening breeze. At one grave I watched an old couple hold each other and wail. Later when I looked at the headstone I saw it was the grave of a child long dead. At another, about 12 people gathered and a car door was left open so all could hear the parang music playing on the radio. And at yet another two young women – one black, the other white – said Hail Marys together, tears running down their faces.
Most of these were at modest graves, recently weeded and with a coat of white paint applied by the hustlers who make some change during the season. But many of the old mausoleums with families dating back to the 1800’s remained dark, untended and without candlelight, having reached the end of their lines long ago.
Sometimes people give me odd looks as I wander about but Lapeyrouse is a city of which I never tire. It is the resting place of all my known maternal ancestors and I feel no fear walking its streets whether in the dark or the light. It is now my mother’s house; what then should I fear?
Goodnight Gale, Yolande, Neville, Pal, Prudence, Lily and Amelia. Goodnight all. ✨✨
#lapeyrouse #allsoulsday #cemetery #grave #dead #pilgrimage #family #ancestors #portofspain #trinidadandtobago
I wanted to write one of those think pieces about Beyonce’s film Lemonade, something analytical and incontrovertible that would draw from all the history that I know, from all the stories in my blood.
I wanted to tell you what I thought in a way that would make you understand why it has meant so much to so many black women; why it made us cry and rejoice and call our girlfriends and sit on the phone in silence. I wanted to tell you what it meant. Continue reading →
I have recently become obsessed with Faure’s Pavane (Op 50). So much so that it’s woven its way into the soundtrack for what I am writing. So much so that I have finally opened my mother’s piano that I have dutifully dusted but not opened in two years, printed a score and begun the laborious process of remembering F-A-C-E and E-G-B-D-F and where the hell is F sharp again.
I have not played since I was 16 and I only played reluctantly then, but there is something beautiful about music moving you so much that you want to be able to be a part of it, to wrestle with it, to let it inhabit your body instead of just being a passive listener.
The score defeats me most days but each time I get one bar down, each time my fingers relearn how to stretch over chords it feels amazing. Then a few days pass and I forget the bar and must relearn it. There is a lesson of some sort there.
There is nothing beautiful about the ‘music’ I am playing right now but it makes me think of mummy playing and daddy sitting and listening to her play. It makes me think of nights when the current went and she would play by candlelight, no score needed, and we would listen to her and laugh and talk. It makes me think of Daddy saying “Gale play the one that sounds like a storm”. Nights like that, it didn’t matter that we were in near darkness because she was the only light we needed. So although Ma preferred Chopin and Beethoven and Dad didn’t know the difference, Happy Father’s Day Daddy, Happy everyday Mummy, I think I’m playing again.