Caribbean Nights

sights and sounds of night in St. Augustine, Trinidad. June 1991.
Saturday, June 1, 1991

As the night falls, the sounds of the creatures abound;
the swishing of breeze in the trees
carries smells of the fruits and the carrion and soot
and the odiferous warmth of the sleaze.

The frogs do a “thweep,” as the flower tries to sleep
and the crickets go “crrip, crrip, crrip, crrip;”
The dogs bark at cars or the twinkling stars,
getting high on a barking trip.

dashboard of the future

But, ’tis the storm ’fore the lull, deep down in my skull
I know the tricks these tropics can play;
Caribbean so, but I know that I know
’tis the beginning of the end of the day.

So, I wipe the last trace, of the fruit from my face,
and put on my strong yuppie sandals,
to go for a walk, and try and stalk
down the wrecks of the crimes of the vandals.

Perhaps find a car, that once travelled afar
but now lies a metallic heap;
served as a good steed, for the local “weed”
or for Tony’s ice nuts to sleep.

Tony’s nuts

Walk through the cans, the tenor steel pans
of Sforzata, Tokyo, Renegades,
Exodus and Scrunters, and other yard grunters;
the orchestras of carnival parade.

Michael Chai’s supermart, with its broken gross carts,
and that Rasta’s vegetable stall
are quiet as the mouse, that lurks in the house
of John Selwyn Fernandez Rosenthal.

I wave hello to the guard, at the front yard
of the lady next to the one-eyed man’s shack;
There’s the predictable hub at Adelpho Tong’s club
where four Indians gamble and quack.

The pin-ups are torn, on the wall that is shorn
of its twelve-years old peeling paint job
that is falling apart, in the heat of this heart
of Trinidad’s loud calypso throb.


Charles’ Tropical café is closed for the day,
or, should I say, closed for the night!
Curepe Girls High, lies dead as the guy
drunken drinks and fought too many fights.

Madonna next door, is seducing a score
of young men on the video delight,
as Angie and girl, do a hip twirl
hoping to catch the muscular man’s sight.

An occassional beat of a taxi’s retreat
to Arouca, Toco, further East,
Taking old ma Vern, back to the stern
near the beach by the leather-backed beast.

Night in Trinidad and Tobago, I’m glad,
is beautiful, full, full of life
and its richness galore, and its poorness in store,
and its peace, and its promises of strife.

I walk further down, past the ads of the town
promising goods that all hope they can buy;
past the smile of the clown, and the black man's frown,
to where I can see clear sky.

With these thoughts, I turn by the rusted iron urn
at the corner of Aunty Elsie’s displays;
I am thankful for the fire of restless desire
that burns in my heart always.


June 1991, Port of Spain and St. Augustine
Trinidad and Tobago