Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Voices Hoarse From Empty Laughter

I live in a place where grandfathers and grandmothers relate stories told to them by their own grandfathers and grandmothers. In some cases, tales of torturous journeys across the deep dark waters of the Kala Pani are matched by memories of barrack yards cast with the sweat of slaves.

My own maternal grandfather would have, if we had asked him, reminisced about the parched, barefoot schoolyards of Guangzhou, his own engagement of the Kala Pani – and his midnight embrace, many years later, at Ramleela, with little Miss D’Hurieux whose parents told of masters past and present.

This is the place where stories are told. Houdini begat Atilla begat Kitchener begat Rudder and we know much more than we care to remember because they cared to sing and to make music for all time, through the haze of Sawdust Caesars scattered in the wind over time. As empire begat empire begat empire.

Today, it is a place where silence reigns while the fat go hungry and the thin grow angry. A place of plenty, but a place of little. A flag flies on the barren island in the din of empty, metal drums and voices hoarse from empty laughter.

This is the place I call my home. It used to be a place that was my home. Freedom has fled the frame and seeks the shade of the treacherous Manchioneel.

If today the silence grows and prospers and prevails, it would be because we have shut up and let it reign. We, grandparents, are not telling the story anymore. The scores are written for us and we whistle them to no one in particular in the wind.

This, again, is the time for poetry and poets and foolish old men and women with stories to tell. Men and women who have the right to remain silent but who dare not exercise it.


Nylah said...

wow. wow. wow. Comrade, you have me speechless.

this is truly poetic writing. I just read it out loud for someone and again am impressed by the use of language, the rhythm of the writing and yes - the sheer poetry.

it is time to publish your "essays".

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marvin said...

Wesley, now i feel ashamed, having to admit that i am sorry i never delved deeper into your blog. delving was necessary because of the dept of your writing. the rhythm in this piece sways ... go forth my brother!

Rebekah Shirley said...

Wow, this is hard hitting and vulnerable at the same time. Fantastic writing and a story that is at once personal and universal. You are gifted!