Material Information

Brown, Stewart ( editor )
Place of Publication:
St. Ann, Jamaica
[Stewart Brown]
Physical Description:
1 online resource


Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean poetry ( fast )
West Indian poetry ( fast )
literary criticism ( aat )
literature (writings) ( aat )
poetry ( aat )
serial ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
Caribbean Area


Scope and Content:
The little magazine Now was published from 1973-1974 in Jamaica, and featured contributions of literary criticism, prose, poetry, and art, including (from the second issue): Patti Hinds, Anthony McNiell, Steve Sneyd, Edward Brathwaite, Miles Buxton, George Cairncross, Mary Crooks, Andrew Darlinton, and A.L. Hendriks. ( ,, )
"The main aim of Now is to provide a platform for the work of younger West Indian poets and writers, ad to publish their work alongside that of more established writers from the Caribbean and abroad."--Editorial page

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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NOW 4/5 SPRING '74 Editor: Stewart Brown. Address: Box 225, St. Ann's Bay P.O., St. Ann. Editor for future issues of NOW: Gloria Escoffery. Address: P.O. Box 14, Brown's Town, St. Ann. This magazine is produced with the assistance of the Institute of Ja maica, whose generous support is gratefully acknowledged here. Thanks also to Desnoes and Geddes Ltd without whose support the magazine would not appear in its present format. POETRY Maria Arrillaga Stewart Brown Derrick Buttress Gloria Escoffery Rudyard Fearon David H. W. Grubb A. L. Hendriks Patti Hinds Edward Lucie Smith Anthony McNeil Mervyn Morris Victor Questa! Stanley Reid Philip Sherlock Dennis Scott Harold Telemaque Gil Tucker Duncan Tweedale Contents 22 42 25 24 9 21 26 23 30 29 28 16 2 7 37 1 21 19 PROSE Afterword Maria A rrillaga Miles Buxton Anson Gonzalez Gil Tucker 44 5 31 10 43 A' review supplement with reviews by Stewart Brown, Peter Virgadamo and Yorrick. And Notes on Contributors. The Cover qrawing is by Lois Langenfeld. Harold Telemaque Redress The times come down like a shadow And settles among the desolate towers. Let the scruple of all who see Large as mountains, the dazzle of horror Standing armoured in many lands, Carry their knowledge in a censer of prayer, And let vespers of love be sung among them, For love will be needed, For l ove will be needed. A great wind plucked from the stems of stars Seeks out all breasts and speaks its cause. Vines cannot express good grapes Save with the dark earth's sympathy The harmony of roots and leaves and ground, Black stem and seed, white sap and wood. Thus in the colourless air, good harvest And wine sparkling. We who are children of charity shall build New foundations set in a new land. For we have suffered the manifestation Of falling towers and barren trees. We know n ow, castles whistle in the wind Their austerity and their dull vinyards die, Their wines, valueless in the cellars Sour into vinegar. For too long now have cries of agony Climbed and clashed in thunder overhead, Have send their thrusts of lightning to o ur hearts. And yet, and yet, Too long the lesson to be learnt has taken, And purity has passed the other side too long Let redress be and let the people Sing vespers of love solemnly among them. Love will be needed. Page 1


A letter to my friends in the USA Across the vinyl counter, hands outstretched sippin g chl o rinated water, one of the many isomers o f o ur need, I fished three cents out at the airport in Miami to pay for the tainted liquid. This was my homage paid to that myth, not yet myth I was to discover of my years. In the reassurance of Newsweek covers, the New York Times, Wrigley's Spearmint chewing gum and good 'ole' "Guess who is coming t o dinner" cherry pie the main course and turkey roast crisp as the tarred blacks of your South, I looked for your conflicts, resolved the defiant black gestures as a more updated and with it Statue of Liberty. No trespasser, just visitor, Carnegie Hall, Radio City, White House and anti-war demonstrations equally familiar, the signals covering the streets, each stop halting the poor, each go, your machines speed along circuitously and the amber glow I paused, Even more sobered now we who have judged you become defendants. Page 2 There is no doubt that your efficiency at creation was responsible for my believing the moon at the top of your skyscrapers was an electric light, your refineries refined well, construction plants constructed totally barges barged skillfully and foundries founded the future of the many graves I saw in your cemetery in New York, It is now night, I may not write again, It is so much easier to use Union Telegraph. (1972) Progress WHEN YOU WALK SLOWLY DOWN A GREY WHITE STREET IN THE MID A FI'ERNOON WITH HOT FANGS BRANDING YOUR BACK AND SPIT CAREFULLY COLLECTED SALIVA INTO THE PAVEMENT NEAR WHERE THE OLD WOMAN SAT YESTERDAY WITH HER OUTSTRETCHED HAND BEGGING A LIE FOR LIFE, YOU REPLY WITH THE ASSURANCE OF A CHEQUING ACCOUNT AND WELL FILLED STOMACH. YOU DO NOTHING NEW BUT PASS OVER THE FOOTSTEPS OF YOUR FATHER WHO WORE THE SAME STIFF WHITE SlilRT AND TIE ONLY HE WAS WALKING TO HIS BICYCLE, YOU TO YOUR CAR, Page 3


,l 'I I A boyhood (excerpt from 'A Travelougue Recalls') You dead boy, I can shoot faster than you I am faster on the trigger, Shooting a boy's innocence into the spattered cordite of the screen, new fantasies like derelicts dot this scene I stand. A hand used to feeling the harsh edge of cane eyes blinded by the soap white glare of the sand, feet cracked by the gnarled roots which like tea-leaves dot these paths I follow, skipping over the hills to the sea, choking on the bite in the wind; these are the backdrops a childhood unearths. Many things, my closest kiss of death, a newsprint memory, the headlines unbelieved. Grief squeezed like toothpaste circled each corbeau's squall. This is the BBC calling magic whi~h placed in the evening's dinner Dien Bien phu and other names recall Algiers, Goa, some mad pirate steals a Spanish ship hi-jack, ship-jack my mind in a world confused with it's own hopes. Page 4 Maria A rrillaga Lost baby Lana was loony and I loved her. I found her on a street, home less, runaway, hair curly like waves of corn electric. She came into my house and spread flowers everywhere. Circle of print expanding. I saw once in a luscious dream Japanese printlike sometimes most of the time the unbound circle of interior garden design man made like when one is high flying energy COLOR. Lana saw the cat get killed all the way down the air shaft down and did not bat an eye. The cat gave her his eyes before he said good-bye so she would not have to bat an eye. Lana read F. Sc o tt Fitz g erald while she was delivering quietly read Gatsby my love to later go and fly frisbies near a tenement. Champagne bottles exploded corks high flying (repeat) while, it was New Year's Eve Lana threw up she was in a strang-e country and the food did not suit her. Golly-gee-wow cliches are funny things sometimes as bi g bi gg e1 than reality no t new always. Lana met a young ma..,painterwho smelled the fl o wers she scat tered everywhere all around places and he painted her a flower. He was from a strange country too, he too was also a magician type fel low who when he painted her a flower he painted her a flower poor flower Lanaforever framed as a flower but pretty always her painter magician friend loved her truly and came into the frame sometimes. They played frisbie. He brought her the Beautiful and the Damned. She read flower painted Lana inside frame while he painted more flo wers around Japanese style like. Page 5


JI I I I I Her cat like eyes yellow shone with delight watching him nice young man painter paint the flowers around and aro W1d. The lion that went down the shaft was called cat by Lana. He had stayed on with Lana her eyes that he gave her big yellow cat eyes and Lana loved the yoW1g man painter so she one day came out of the frame a painted flower to embrace him with roar and claws cat's eyes. The love was so great that there they lay dishevelled the two of them among the flowers. COUNT DOWN Riddle: What. happened to the baby that Lana bore? (Turn page upside down for answer) (puaJ AW 'no.A s,n :.1a&suv) A. L. Hendriks MADONNA of the UNKNOWN NATION A new collection of poems from the well known and much loved West Indian poet, continuing the success ofONTlllS MOUNTAIN. THESE GREEN ISLANDS. and MUET. THE WORKSHOPPRESS LTD, 2 Culham Court, Granville Road, LONDON N4, 4 JB. UK. Page 6 Philip Sherlock Middle passage 1 1-V-z if fr n fv-z 'J-zwik Coffymo-ze 012 hii Sotl'z. bi,thday Cradled On the lullaby sea His black body starred With salt water, face downwards, free and at home in the gentle salt water he floats by the razor-sharp reef, looks down on gardens of branching coral, on living thickets of cup-shaped sponge s using the names the fishermen use, seafingers and horse sponge, elephants ears and mermaids gloves with jewelled fish at hide-and-seek, happy the world of sea and sW1, his black body starred with salt sings its way to the waiting sand and the dancing le aves of the almond tree and the sea-grapes shade. Free and at home He matches his mood to the luck of the day Black body cleaving The green wave curling sending his laughter aloft on the Trades flying feet weaving a pattern of speed sea crabs scuttling trade winds drumming, fierce waves pounding, oh free, so free the little body sings its way thr o ugh the o cean wo rld, the storm and the thundering shore. Pa g e 7 ,. 1 i ..*- t a W h,(4, Pt.Fb,-~,_. R, ta c;:.u+ c ..,....,. __


How can I tell I cannot come, My entry barred, by fear bred deep within the bone. Break loose, break loose, the world is yours but not for me the unity of land and sea. Looked out I stand my entry barred by fear bred deep within the bone, the stench of ships wind-driven tomb s tha t foul the day the grim patrol of ravening sharks, the days routine of bodies shovelled from the deck. The sea, the separating sea, The sea, the driving wind That takes me from my living And my dead. For me The mountain valleys and the hills That sheltered those who lived to find A refuge far from sea and shore, A home beyond the ocean wave. NEW WRITlliG FROM TRlliIDAD: POETRY. STORIES REVIEWS. AND EXCITlliG NEW FORMAT. 22 Fitt Street, Woodbrook, P.O.S. Trinidad. T & T. W.I. Page 8 R. Fearon f'/\axi Lawd me tired fe tan up a dis a bus' top An' it look like rain ago drop Tank god, se a bus a crawl de a come The driver gwan like a country him deh a drive cow Missis, me just ago enter in a de crowd When me hear a voice bawl out loud Me tun me eye an look up In a face full a mek up Me sey "gal wey wrong wit you". No tell me sey fe go in a fus nu! She begin to tell me how pon har dress somebody 'tep And if su much people never de bout, she woulda wept Me laugh so tell Me no know how me belly no buss like mass Jophes well Fe no sey aunt Tina sore foot Mal Suddenly tun sweet gal Mey sey '1.ook ya gal me know oonu dry land tourist no like de rush Oonu no want oonu one frock f e get crush So mek you no go tek taxi? For in a dis a hot day wah you a do in a maxi. Page 9


II Anson Gonzalez You think it easy to assess Trinidad and Tobago poetry It is always difficult to say what poetry is or should be. It i s always difficult to say that this is and that is not poetry, or define degrees of competence or excellence in poetry. Where the poets have mastered craftsmanship one looks for '' .. the magical something that lies beyond craftsman ship that intensity of vision which vitalizes the idea and spirit of great poetry . Where there is a "tangled cultural heritage" and a deep sense of history, as there is in the Trinidad and Tobago or West Indian situation, the poets may be expected to achieve and develop "a truly sensitive and compassionate awareness of people, place and history". Off and on in the early Trin idadpoetry one comes upon this sensibility, sometimes in the work of Mendes, as in his 'Cadet Corps', or as in Olga Yaatoff's "House of Bondage". A. C. Ward suggests the power of poetry / the poet when he says But the poet is a visionary as well as a clear-sighted human creature. He sees from the heights of imagination as well as from the level of earth; he possesses something of divinity in amplification of his powers as a man. Page 10 Ward also says If poetry does not (for both poet and reader) smash through walls of the im prisoning self and lead into new countries whether beautiful or terrifying poetry might as well not be written. I would not suggest that much of the poetry written so far in this country should not have been written. Most reviewers of West Indian poetry usually see the works of the late 1920s the 1930s and even the 1940s, as having mainly a historical importance. Edward Baugh says that "such interest as their work holds now is almost exclusively historical. In each case not more than one or two poems are still in any way memor able for their own sake". The works of the earlier writers have been seen as so many borrowings from the English models, as watered down Romanticism and Victorianism, with some feeble attempts at what was then current being made by the few who considered themselves progressive. Speaking about the turn West Indian poetry has taken, Andrew Salkey in his introduction to Break light says that the present poetry is much different from the early ones. He says that The old models, 'Euro-centred', metro politan and approved at a chilling distance, are ignored mor~ and more (and) there has been a turning away from the trite lyricism, and aimless, decorative and derivative borrowings from the School Anthology' models, and from the banality and forced nationalistic poetry of the Late Thirties and middle Forties in the Caribbean. WritingaboutDerekWalcott's The Gulf and other peoms, in 1969, Gordon Roohlehr noted that PageU


f I I' The publication of Derek Walcott's In a Green Night (1962) was a landmark in the history of West Indian poetry, liberating it at once from a simple mindless romanticism, weak historicism, over rhetorical protest and sterile abstraction. He further sees these poems as a remarkable attempt to come to terms with a tangled cultural heritage which offered both the vision of unbearable brutality, and the promise of rich variety. There was a big difference between English poetry of the 1930s and the poetry that was being written in Trinidad. Wri ting about English poetry, A. C. Ward says The poetry of the nineteen-thirties was saturated in the bloody sweat of that decade. This fact gives it a documentary importance which may seem as time passes, to outweigh its poetic merit. It was sympto matic rather than prophylactic. The poet turned politician may serve his age as a politician, but he may in so doing abrogate his more important function as a visionary. The local poets of the decade, however, do not reflect the 'bloody sweat of that decade', perhaps because then the real bloody era broke out, publishing in Trinidad had come to a standstill, because of the censorship and other restrictions, but mainly because as a self-perpetuating elite they grouped themselves away from society, both middle and working class. Their 'higher' moments then, perhaps, spent in contempla tion of their own navels. The 1940s, saw the blossoming into publication of poetry of Neville Giuseppi, Gilles L. Cobham, A. M. Clarke and Page 12 H. M. Telemaque, whose poems all appeared in anthologies which were published by the poets themselves. In some of the poems of these men are seen the building sense of nationalism and national identity. Telemaque writes about his own country, extolling its beauty and uniqueness and its special meaning for him, in poems like 'Courland Bay', 'Little Black Boy', 'In our Land', and 'Riches'. Generally, the poets of the 1950's, 60's and 70's have continued to use the traditional forms of writing, though there seems to be an increasing use of free verse forms. The younger poets are experimenting with forms and rhythms of the various activities and rhetorical traditions in the country. Victor Questel has attempted to use the stickfighting tradi tion and the Shouter mode in his poems 'Man Dead' and 'Only Believe' respectively. Malik and Kwesi Lasana have used the rhythms and speech patterns of the area where the steel band spawned, which also gave birth to the 1970 spiritual and political rebirth. I have attempted to use several speech pat terns and musical motifs in poems like 'Cadence', 'Decision', '11 years and another policeman killed', and the 'Lovesong of Boysie B'. In 1962, one critic suggested that of the existing Trinidad and Tobago poets only Cecil Herbert and Tobago-born Eric Roach, were "the ones with a genuine poetic talent." This critic went on to allow that H. M. Telemaque, also Tobago born, seems to have something behind his poetry besides words and literary poses. The critic believed that whatever poetic talent had so far appeared in this country, had "in hibited itself through a number of misconceptions of what poetry is . He finds that in much of the poetry of Roach and Herbert, "you have to so ramble through a lot to make contactwith the talent underneath, but he finds consolation in the assertion that "at least Roach and Herbert have both writ ten poems which are successful". In the others he finds that there is nothing behind the poeticising. The critic goes on to Page 13


I offer the explanation that "the hollowness and meretricious ness of most of the country's poetry lies in the nature of the education to poetry which is available to the young. He finds that poets have been adopting attitudes which paralyze their creativity, since in writing their poems they attempt 'a re calling (of) the vocabulary of poetry to which (they have) been educated, using the same concepts and 'machinery' as pre vious poets have used, and producing verse semi-automati cally, without a perpetually alert attention to (their) own feelings towards their material". He finds strengths in Roach when the poet writes as "a member of an idealized Tobago nain peasant race", writing "what this race means to the earth and the earth to this race". Here, he finds, "the rhetoric disappears. There is simplicity of diction and a control over the movement of the verses that are absent from his academic studies there is sometimes a gentle humour . a literalness; a correspondence between word and thing''. In 1971, Eric Roach became part of an interestin g deb a t e on West Indian poetry when he adversly criticised the young er poets in Savacou 3/4. Roach stressed the artist's need to learn his craft and to write out of the fullness of his experi ence, and expressed his dislike for most of the poetry in the anthology (as his earlier critic had done with Roach's poems). His assessment of Wayne Brown seems to have been some what correct, for the young Trinidad and Tobago poet re cently won a Commonwealth prize for his first collection of poems {whatever it is that prize-winning indicates). However, Gordon Rohlehr, jumping into the literary gayelle, put for ward sound suggestions for guidelines towards assessing Wes t Indian poetry. He suggests his basic criteria in the following words: I'd have tried as far as possible to deter mine how far that writing reflected and explored the tensions of the society, and would have used "genumeness of feeling" as one of my criteria. The Page 14 question of form or shape is a much more difficult one to settle, since there is no common consensus anywhere in the world today as to what constitu te s proper form. I myself admire a wide variety of writing, ranging from overtly "dramatic" use of language, which may be concerned only with thin g s like rhythm and tone, to the hi g hly complex and concentrated use of images and symbols, and I welcome the presence of both elements in current West Indian writing. I welcome especially the confidence with which young writers are trying to shape ordinar y speech, and to use some of the musical rh yt h ms which dominate the entire Caribbean environment. Rohlehr also s tresse s the need for poet and critic to have a strong sense of histor y, their own histor y and culture; the one, in ord e r to write meaningful poetr y the o t her in order to be able to understand and relate to the poetic creations. We are g radually mov in g towards this end. As it stands at present, I wonder how yo u would approach a criticism of Pan Run I and II, by Malik ( Delan o de Co teau), or Victor D. Questel's Only Believe' ; or my own 'D~cision' or '11 years and another policeman killed?' Eh, y ou think it eas y? Malik's poems can be found in Black Up (now out o f print). Questel s poems can be found in Score (a lso ou t of print). Gonzolez' poems can be found in Score, the New Voices, and The Love-song of Boysie B. and oth er poe ms Pa ~ e 15


~i Victor D. Questel l Blindn1an 1 s bluff Ash Wednesday and No one goes for cane in this island anymore. Burnt out by liquor I stumble words that only the wind hears as you reach the end of your endless journey no end as pink smoke rises over the setting sun and a discarded float haunches with shame in a drain its once proud dragon neck broken like that band's collapsed canopy whose bassman is dead without a shadow of a doubt. But that's what this country is about, the burning of flesh and cane; the ash of effort. Find me that voice which cried "Land, Bread and Justice" Page 16 .. Find me that voice which cried "I come out to play" and Today I will show you the splintered halves of your twisted selfmockery. ii The music in my head is still drunk as I replace the seventh beer bottle on the ringed floor, the rings of water trapping my down-ward stare. Remember, the game is blind man's bluff; but the end is when you pin the tail on yourself. iii. Put on the light, there are too many sounds here I cannot name. No eyes like Heartman's patient heroes, I burn silently in my den, seeing each shaven convict' s head reflect a blind future. Page 17


f I l I j Pacing the room I go north from the Demerrara window only to be drowned in the paper gulf pinned on the wall as my hands grope between the Dragon's tooth and the Serpent's pointed grin. Its all mapped out. iv. Already that raised hand that flings your garbage, balances the ash on your child's forehead, stalks his future dreams. Look, a staring finger paces the sun's dead centre. ras1a voice 'fHE fvlAGAZINE OF THE H.ASTAFARI MOVEMENT ASSOCIATION. NEWS, VIEWS, POETRY, ARTICLES, INFORMATION. RMA. 53 Laws Street, Kingston, Jamaica. Page 18 _,, ... Duncan Tweedale On the head of a queen mother of Benin (Nigeria c. 1500) queen mother of Benin your bronze head is smooth cool & unassailed forcing itself outwards in superb arcs eyes a closed gate on the many mansions of the inner castle not an apostrophe an affirmation a treasury of lost connection s corridors of the Dream perfect as a Chinese jar without knowledge of worm or spider the spirit rises it curls like smoke through the rafters it curls through the city and the ten cities of Benin and for five hundred years not an instant has passed your ring that tinkled a moment ago before all this happened has not yet broken loose from its echo Page 19


Derrick Buttress Disneyland The formula was perfect angle-iron and peach suffused with snow-white, watery plum and crisp wafer of frost, together the basic erections of water and stone. But the dwarf, c rosseyed with night-work, bickered over the dialectical handbook. In the mornin g we shot him and the foun t ains stopped. This time there would be n o mistake: the nave, bone -grey with pidgeon sh it, squirming roots easing up the stones, the angle of light thr o ugh the windo w le ss w ind o w falling on a liturgy of leaf and rain, the dust of the City. But the dwarf had the stutter J ng bo o k and the mica staff jammed into the hin g es of the d oor Instead, we drank the communi on wine and hung him for a clapper. As a last resort a perfect structure of membrane, the pith of a dropped pear, the gut of a bog-ratnot even the light banging on the sides. But the dwarf homed in on our almost perfect death. We tore him to pieces but only the landscape screamed. Page 20 .. ,, David H. W. Grubb The dreamer jumps out For John Berryman. John Berryman dies; falling through broken reality is the stunted song, the way of outdoing irony at its own barbed game. He dies and a friend reads a poem in his memory and fails to get there. There cannot be another place like Berryman's mind. It can only be an attempted grace. Each man makes his own borrowing of references. Occasions like this cheat us; we mirror-index what seems momentous and it becomes casual. We chase these ghosts of the great and skate over the merest reflexes. We are left with small duties as we can find them. Water and air and stone changes in our minds. Conclusions catch us out; the same winds mould us; we are our own winter prophets. Gil Tucker Painting The picture gave no details All was blank watery and in cryptic holes turning half as lights sank and echoed in amputated shadows eating out of these dark stains dripping with cold blues & deep yellows round the centers of the eye there's no foreground or back ~rounds between the hand and the smell of warm oranges I Burning out these unforgivable images slamming a g ainst the corners of the mind. Page 21


Maria A rrillaga Dreams Garbage barges caterpillars in the starry night undulating full of sorrow as a tadpole in grey soup penetrate my entrails fed by waste of broken chairs. I am no more than a living bone a snail wanting caviar drowning in champagne bubbles. Eat the grass but don't become a tree too cold winter. Finger tips like kissing sparrows white magnolias exquisitely scented brain veined diversity turned tranquil cock robin on a perfect tree involved threads that make you gasp shake in awe at the stillness of creation. Flesh deep soft pulsating knowledge h ?ri ds vibrate like the strings of a guitar m a de live by children's dreams. savacouISA BIG MAGAZffiE. The Best Ot9The New Writing In The Caribbean Edward Braithwaite. Dept. History, UWI, Mona, Page 22 J \ J Patti Hinds The moment Lithe snake like, Yet with t he strength of the lion-kin, He forces his wa y in Into a sufferin' weeping frame, Which, t o rtured by it's need for love Had long since arched, In readiness of the willing game. The hours pass, an etemity of ecstacy, The bodies sweat with pain ; The animal is r o used A ncl fire seems to fan the flame. This night is ours A 11 hell has ceased in sweet surrender! The m o uld is so ftened, t he fire burns I It flashes, in to a rare explosion! The male crie s o ut, as at it's birth; He shudders, folds into her arms, She weeps The nature of himself drains in her sanctuary Creation has it's birth Life is set free! I IB IS THE WEST INDIAN LITERARY JOURNAL AND HAS BEEN FOR THIRTY YEARS The editors. F e rney, Atlantic Shores, Christ Church, Barbados. West Indies. Page 23


,_ Gloria Escoffery OPEN LETTER TO THE ISRAELI CONSUL IN JAMAICA Jewish neither by nationality nor by religion But only by that common Adam who Surveying the savanna with calculating eyes, thought up the plough, And by that modern and un Miltonic Eve who decided To leave the spindle t o the b o rin g spinsters, I write, A single human being compelled by my admiration For coura g e And spirit And intelligence All of which virtues are written into the si gn o f tw o overlapping triangles. Bodies; arms and legs like cactus stumps, swollen, The desert rose spilled amidst the thorns, Bodies more silent than spent bullets voided in the salient, Metal monsters eating bodies, A vision of horror. Dragon teeth sprout here and the tongues of the rmborn A re already silently shouting, War! War! It is never ending. And so is the stink in the wake of the world's whispers of "Peace, brothers, while we pass the ammrmition." Jesting Pilate is busy he has gone to the wash room. Page 24 Live, Israel, Live, and let each Israeli citizen's life proclaim The value of the more than vegetable, Of the idea that milks the sand and makes the rock yield. Water! Precious each single life as a flask of water To a prisoner of war dying of thirst. Tied here and rooted, i 1y navel string buried rmder a pimento tree, Knowing myself to be too old, and too soft for your n eeds I send this poor poem which cos t s ome effort in the m aking to say How short is man's s pan on earth and h o w p recious How short the course of a nation's glor y Yet it lives, as a g reat poem lives. Desperation in the desert. A tree breaks throug h the sand Water! Live, tou g h Israel, a bs tr a ct and c o mpact as the star of David. Fields of cane gleaming under the jets at Lland ov ery are my Israel, Only just dawning in the jungle dreams of my unfocu s ed nat i..:. n. Here in this Israel, Where saplings perish amidst hard clods Cerernoneously turned over by spades of the speech making master chairmen. Pa g e 25


A. L. Hendriks Force 12 The way of it is over tree s as a man strides over gras s indifferent to small havoc. Its weight kill s buds and leaves; split from th e ir sockets, skeltered by cataract, they fall in degrading sprawls, splashed on piping, posts, walls, choked in gratings with gutter-muck. What howls is what is struck for wind is dumb not having to explain itself. Birds are irrevocably wrecked, run aground, flung, broken by this, wing's especial trust, of whom they most openly committed describing and adoring its pure currents, confess its dispassion, permanence and implacability. No one should ask what the wind means. More than air's Logos or token, it is its own thing innocent of sentiment or cruelty. The wind means nothing but itself. Page 26 The new earth If I have to live elsewhere make me there a mongoose, a lithe brave murderess with shoe-button shiny eyes that read no pity nor tales of absolution; a bitch mongoose brisk, conscienceless, preying on all soft and weak sent for my survival in your creation. Give me no anger nor any sentiment, only power to slaughter, speed to escape danger, a muzzle to dapple red where red blood flows, strength to butcher the damning fowl before he crows garrotte the serpent before he makes any wise. Page 27


jl l ll Mervyn Morris At every border At every border stood a wall. But he would not adapt for anything: that we are trapped he wouldn't buy at all (until), "You think too small," he said, "you hopeless liar!" He burrowed in the dark, a blind adventurer. He surfaced. Wall behind. Before him stood another, higher. On the edge of the sand Pussycat: His conversation flattered; she said yes and went the way his thoughts inclined. But not content with rooting in the flesl ~ he stuck an amorous finger in her mind; and now her mind lies naked to his pleasure and hungry for possession, she's afraid: she would have barred him from her treasure if she had known her mind was getting laid. Owl: The animal gets up and so much faster than books had warned him, he's afraid: a subtle tongue he cannot master entices him into the mesh: his 1 ltcicl mind is picturing disaster but will not b eak the power of the flesh. Page 28 Anthony Mc Neill Ad for a housing scheme Packed tightly like sums. Their sheer geometrical lines oppress architecturally, appearing disinterested, loveless, same. People who drive past these houses see them as stacked -up z ros to be quickly got through; accelerate, almost by instinct, to have them behind their tail pipes like bad dreams or carcases. l'vline. positioned in fr o m the highway, assails few sensitive motorists, but I, walkin g toward its boxshape t his twilight, see it a s pa rt of a hu !!: e, grotesque tenement: my house is ugly for being anonymous. And n o w suddenly the gray, uniform buildings intt ~ rsent like years. Poised only f o r home, I cross into a harsh, formularized future where houses and people flash smally and strictly alike. Page 29


I Edward Lucie-Smith The well-wishers for Patric Dickinson Most often in broad daylight: a white cloak swaying at a street corner; stillness at noon as, s o m ewhere, a long way off, thunder mut t ers a promise. Or, on a country journey, from the dusty hill behind, the fla s h of a mirror, held in a watcher's hand. Smoke-trail s ahead, in the thick pinewoods. But even at night, in sleep, there are always signs. Do they ever drowse, the well-wishers? Or do they sometimes merely hold those cloaks before their faces, hoping to conceal from us their next move, the full extent of their good intentions? Mervyn Morris THE POND THE F1RST COLLECTION OF POEMS BY THIS HIGHLY TALENTED YOUNG JAMAICAN. New Beacon Books. 2 Albert Road, London N4, 3RW England. Page 30 Miles Buxton Son of man The Bronx, affectionately termed down-town-and-out Bronx by Manhatten citizens, shimmered in the evening heat haze of toxic garba g e fumes. Here were the last select mem bers of the pawn-broker belt and, most important of all, the Jews who were re m embered once ever y two years in New York's election for ma y or. At any other time they were con tent to live in peace and seclusion, circumstances of which other, larger minority groups approved. The whites hated the blacks, the Catholics the Communists, the Polaks the Puerto Ricans but every body united together to hate the Jews. Charlie Schattenhauser was not Jewish, he was pure American, his family going back at least two generations of pure Americans. When still youn g and living in Georgia it had occurred to Charlie Schattenhauser that he was unimport ant and, therefore, had joined the Klu Klux Klan, looking very ducky in his converted tent. But it had then o ccurred to Charlie that the opposition had more publicity than he had, so he travelled north and became a la y preacher. In one swift stroke he had become more important and being important was important to Charlie. It being the July fourth season Charlie had been doing hi s rounds amongst the heathen flock of the Bronx. He was no t successful in spiritual terms but the year had been commer cially good and the humble and meek had given generously in to Charlie's open hands. These donations had probably been in spired by Charlie, wearing, temporarily, a black eye patch but Charlie had been unwilling to interfere in the m y sterious workings of the Lord. Some of the money had already been spent in the corner liquor stores, and now Charlie was look ing for some friendly bar to spend the rest. It was unfortun ate that he had to choose Arny Loewenthal's little dive. Pa g e 31


"Gimme drink, mac. Bourbon." Arny was a ne g ro but this was not goin g to blight Charlie's alcohol-inspired goodwill to all men, and blacks. Arny moved with quick lethar g y to get the drink. Charlie studied t he t all negro's awkward movements. Eventually he g ot his drink "What's your name, mac?" "Loewen t hal, Arnold Loewenthal, sir," Arny spoke wi t h out raisin g his hooded eyes from the top of the bar. The t s ir had made Charlie feel even better. "Well, Arny, now don't you be scared of me. I admit I may've buckshot a few nigra' sin Georgia but now I' m convert ed and I shall call you brother Arny." Arn y looked up and saw a nose smeared somewhere between gi m let eyes and a fleshy mouth. Arny s aw bitterly needed friendship there. "And you shall call me brother Charlie. K., brother Charlie, said Arny. Meanwhile Arny's parents were watching the Ed Sullivan show on television. Their names were Samuel and Amy Loe wenthal. They were white, Arny having been adopted in a fit of pique by Amy when the Robinewic zts next door had adopted a Japanese kid. "I'll castrate the bastard, said Samuel affectionately. ''Sam, why c an't you speak with style and class?" said Amy. ''What the hell should you know about style and class, you who always write your s's backwards?" ''I can't help writin g my s's backwards, Sam. And you shouldn't speak of your son like that." "The sonovabitch is your son, he sure ain't mine," Samuel replied with style and class. "The louse ain't normal, he's a goddam freak." "He ain't no freak, Sam. In what way is he a freak?" Page 32 L_ "What hap :,_ ens when Mimi Bernstein across the block flashes her tits at him ? He runs to the john, that's what hap pens, twenty times a day he runs to the john, like some crazy guy.u "He's modest, that's all Sam." "I'll castrate the sonovabitch." Meanwhile, back at the bar, brother Arny had reversed the more traditional roles and was expounding his life story to brother Charlie. "At the orphanage I was Catholic but my adopted parents made me become a Jew." "You don't say ? What a lousy thing to do to a guy." A fleeting memory passed through Charlie's mind of shooting up a bar-mitzvah with shotguns. A smile came to his face which he quickly erased. "I was brought up poor so as not to spoil me, see? But then I got to figuring that if I'm poor everybody else should be poor sol joined the Communist party. u A slight frown creased Charlie's face. He had once been a fervent Goldwater sup porter. Arny continued. "But when I'd become a Communist everybody still seem ed richer than me so I joined the Black Panthers. On account of my skin, see, brother Charlie?" "The Black Panthers, huh?" Charlie growled in a funny kind of way. Meanwhile, back with Samuel and Amy. ''Why can't we have another colour television set in the kitchen? The Robinewicz 's have got one. "Cos all we got in the bank is a three grand overdraft and a filled-in form for the car wax competition at the drive-in wash. "Samuel was concentrating on a particularly interest ing female contortionist on the television. "The Motschenbacher's have got one." "Chrissakes. Shut your yap. "The Baumer's have got one." ''We ain'tgot the bread, and if we had that lousy sonova bitch would spend it. u Page 33


"He wouldn't spend it, Arny never spends money." "No? What about that crazy goddamed beach buggy he bought you on your birthday? A beach buggy, Chrissakes, in New York," "It was a nice thought. "I'll castrate the bastard." Back at the bar, Arny was warming up his story whilst Charlie's bourbon was turning sour. "Anyway, the Black Panthers got canned on a rumble by the Pig so I started pushing speed in Greenwich Village.'' ''Drugs, huh?" "Yeah, brother Charlie. But I didn't really mean to and it stopped when the Pig put me in Jail. "For pushing speed?" Charlie was starin g in a funny way. N o for rapin g a white woman. Brother Charlie, why are yo u lookin g at me like that?" Charlie went berserk. With a neanderthal scream he grabbed Arny by his neck over the bar and started kicking him in a maniacal war dance. "Lousy, "breath, stinking, "breath, "Commie, "kick "nigger, 1 kick, "white woman defiler. 11 Charlie jumped mono tonously up and down on Arn y 's face. The few other occupants of the bar s t ared on as if this was the cabaret. Eventually three Irish American cops came in and broke it up. They took everybody's name and listened to Charlie's statement about Arny. Then the three cops started beating Arny up as well. A few minutes later the phone was ringing in the Loe wenthal household. "The goddam phone's ringing," said Samuel affection ately. "Sam, why can't we have a phone that goes 'bleep bleep' instead of 'ring ring'." "Chrissakes, we can't afford no lousy pansy phones." "The Motschenbachers have got one." With a groan, Samuel reluctantly rose and picked up the phone. Page 34 ''This is Sam Loewenthal. Who the hell is this?" Amy turned around in her chair and listened to Samuel listening to the phone. Eventually Samuel said "O. K., 0. K." in a dis spirited way and then put the receiver down. "That was the cops. They got that lousy sonovabitch in the cooler." Samuel sat down again and watched television. After a while Amy thought that she ought to say something. "Sam, don't you think we ought to go and see him in jail?" "What the goddam hell for? They want fifty bucks bail and that crazy sonovabitch ain't worth a cent of my dough. "C'mon Sam. We ou g ht to go and get him out. What will the Robinewicz' s say if we don't bail our own son out?" "He ain't my son, he's your crazy sonovabitch." "Sam, if you don't come with me to bail him out, I'll divorce you. Samuel's face paled at the thought of all that alimony and he got up to get his coat and homburg. At the police station Arny was sitting on a low chair with six cops as tall as Globetrotters staring down at him with vehement hatred filtering through twelve eyes. One of the cops leant down so that his huge skull was within four inches of Arny's shattered visage. "Now, now, son," he said kindly, "you just tell us the truth and we'll let you go. Now you weren't beaten up by any cops were you?" "Yes I was. n Arny couldn't understand. They wanted the truth yet they wanted him to lie. In the orphanage the priest had told him never to lie. "Now, now, son. You know that ain't true. Let's just say you fell into something. 0. K. ? "0. K." Everybody breathed a small sigh of relief that the truth had finally come out. The cop who had leant down brought out a statement form. "Now, now, son. Under no threat of intimidation you are saying you fell into something. Now what was it, a chair?" Page 35


'l "No. Those copst fists. n Everybody sucked in their teeth, so that Arny got the impression that they didntt like his an swer. Next door Arny could hear another being interrogated by a harrassed social-worker. "Couldn't you communicate with them? Why didya have to lay them open? Couldn't you communicate for Chrissakes? n "Sure. We tried to communicate. Only we ran outa slugs. Back in Arny's room the first cop became impatient. "Just listen here, nigger. We got statements by three law officers saying you fell into a chair. We got a statement from that nice Charlie Schattenhouser saying you fell into a chair. What the hell right have you got to say you were beat up? Now, what did you fall into? 11 A chair. Everybody was friendly again and, by the time Samuel and Amy Loewenthal came, even Amy believed that he had told the truth and signed his statement with a smile which hurt his lacerated face. "C'mon you dum-dum bastard. Let's get the hell outa here." This was Samuel gently beckoning his adopted son to come with him. Amy showed more affection but was careful not to get blood on her fox fur which was too inches longer than Mrs. Baumer's. Everybody was nearly happy except. Samuel and they start ed to walk home and that would have been that except they got hit by a truck carrying Red Indian carpets faked by industri ous Greeks exiled in the Latin ghetto quarter. Page 36 Dennis Scott Solution Small fish throttle home at low tide; above, the gull is falling intently. Falls a long time. Cataracts down the eye. The claw scars white into the retina. The feet are stiff, its head hurls out, the hectic air chills, freezes, cracks. Flensed, the eye spills. Night. But at the moment of its arrival, when the slashed eye is widest the fish swings under, slung deep by the tide, the clashed air closes safely behind them. Nothing. The bird shrugs up out of the sea. Then over the tide my hand across the wheeling air across time and salt and the dunes of sorrow, look I stretch, I am reaching out, I w rench its wings into stillness I blunt that mouth the hard feet break like straw. Slowly the eye heals. Weary of watching murder, it dissolves, it invents dream Page 37


Lull Soldiers have played with the birds and left them, hanging like hands at the storm's eye. Fm1erals pass outside. The pale men fall mewing into the wind. They give their faces like children to a Mystery, and lie mute unde7.' the rain. Wr.ere are the flags now? Wnere are the hawks of joy? Yet, this clear place: a sibilance of journeys. These two chart love's strange, embattled com1try, whispering what they know: of frontiers and the troops of Time, of flight, of risk, of the soaring blind down dream road to the bivouacs of thunder. How to kill. How to swing easy on the snarled, loose air, how to be dry, to be quick. How to be still. The wings mend; move Page 38 r Post office H you are alone it is best to break the face first. Use the heel of your hand, then the feet can be held harmelessly. Bend them back. Further. At the last sharp moment the chest may move slightly like a cough, pumping the sun out. Wear gloves. As for the belly, the sensitive areas, places protected by gristle and bone; a few quick blows against any fiat surface will soften those. Then you may fold it, stamp it, and into the morning mail. No address is needed. Everyone knows where I live. new voices .. NEW WR ITING FROM TRINIDAD AND THE WEST INDIES. PO E T RY. STORIES. ARTICLES REVIEWS. INFORMATION E d : A nson Gonzalez. 1 Saphir e Drive, Diego Martin. T&T Page 39


View The room has a window. Outside that space is a courtyard. It belongs to birds. These are of two kinds. Some come in pairs courting between the irregular sunlight. Some with wings like washed cloth hang down one by one through the sky, not quite making it to the heat of the window before dying. For the most part they pretend not to notice each other. And the sun goes patiently over, observing the quadrangle. Sometimes a shadow chars against the wall. That is a bird arriving for one reason or another. Its cry draws a small stain on the air. I watch the window clouding or touch you, curiously. It says whatever birds say when they arrive at such places. I pretend not to notice Page 40 Bird of passage The poet is speaking. The window reflects his face. A bird crawls out of the sun. Summoned. Its wings are like tar. That is because it is very hot. The poet sweats too. There is a beak at the back of his throat the poem is difficult, his tongue bleeds. That is because the bird is not really dead. Yet. Clap a little. Dennis Scott UNCLE TIM E AN JNTERNATIONAL POETRY FORUM SELECTION WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MERVYN MORRIS AND A PREFACE BY MRS. EDNA MANLEY. UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH PRESS. P a~ e 4 1


Stewart Brown Cricket Proudly wearing the rosette of my skin I strutt into Sabina, England boycotting excitement bravely something badly amiss. Cricket ,. Not the game they play at Lords, the crowd (whoever saw a crowd at a cricket match?) are caged, vociferous partisans quick to take offence. England sixty eight for none at lunch. ''What sort o battin dat man? dem caan play cricket again, praps dem should a borrow Lawrence Rowe I" And on it goes, the wicket slow as the batting and the crowd restless. "Eh white bwoy, ow you brudders dem does sen we sleep so? Me a pay monies fe watch dis foolishness? Cho! 11 So I try to explain in my Hampshire drawl about conditions in Kent, about sticky wickets and muggy days and the monsoon season in Manchester but fail to convince even myself. The slow hand-clap drives me out sulking behind a battered rosette somewhat frayed and unable quite to conceal a blushing nationality! Page 42 r I Letter Hail Brother Brown ; Rastafari Movement Association 53 Laws Street, Kingston I and I have received your ma g azines and was happy to have received such, and ha v e found it t o be ver y in t eresting and quite differen t from the usual run of the little magazines that are around. Ye t I and I have noticed that most of your material are of a ver y literar y nature. I am not kn o cking NOW 3 aesthetic tone but I am wondering if you specialise only in straight creative writing. For as you know Rasta move ment despite the spiritual and religious purists am o ng fac tions, I and I of the RMA 's stance is very a-political in the truest sense of the word and the world. What I w ould love t:Q see is a mixture of political and cultural m aterial. F o r y ou see brother Brown I and I believe in the whole questi o n o f t he functions of art and its immediate relevance to man and his place in the very scheme of n at ure, a nd the mechanical en vironments that he has shaped for himself, and the evolu tionary stages of his development on planet earth. So I and I demand that art be brought back to the service of man and not just to an elite few who can invest in it as in a product like oil, steel, co: per etc Or art that titillate the fancies o f the said rulin g class to impress people with t heir snobbish superior tastes that fosters pure self indul g ence and well honed decadence. I am 1ot accusin g y our ma g azine of such, but this is how I a nd I looks at the wh o le ide a o f art and ar t makin g and the philosophical continuit y of man's cultural identity fr o m an African point o f view. For in order to be clear and pertinent we have go t to put the historical and politic a l in their pr o per perspective in order to be able to have a basis for this radical chan g e that I and I are effectin g. Gilbert Tucker (Editor Rasta Voice) Page 43


Note: We would like to know if you could sell some of the RASTA VOICE for us. Right now we are having a fund drive and we are asking you and the rest of other poets to g ive us some help in this direction. AFTERWORD This latest glossy issue of NOW goes some way towards fulfilling my original aims for the magazine; to provide a platform for young poets alongside more established write rs, to present a balanced picture of what's happenin g in Carib bean writing now and to present all this in a suitable format and at a reasonable price. We have been able to get this far along the way due to the generous assistance of the Institute and our one paying ad vertiser Desnoes and Geddes, and because of the support and encouragement of various individuals who believe that NOW is performing a worthwhile and necessary function. As this is the last issue that I shall edit 1 would like to say thanks to these people, especially Micky Hendriks, Cedric Lind o Neville Dawes, Dennis Scott, Lois Lan g enfeld and Pete Vir s adamo. Without their encoura g ement, and in the case of the last two, practical help, the ma g azine probably wouldn't have got past issue No. 1. We have been very lucky in that Gloria Escoffery, whose work both as painter and poetess is well known to everyone, has agreed to take over NOW. I am sure that with her deter mination and acknowledged skill the magazine will grow to become an important voice in Jamaican and West Indian wri ting, Thanks too, to our readers, especially the hardy sub scribers they are the life blood of the magazine. Our list is still rather short and if anyone would like to help NOW grow, the best way would be to take out a subscription. At one dol lar for four issues in these times of rising prices it has to be a bargain! Thanks for suffering my pretentious editorials and afterwords f Stewart Brown Page 44