Beyond Mountain View

As we descend Mountain View Avenue,
past houses that lie prone
beneath Wareika, scarred by hurricanes
and bulldozers, past walls
smeared with graffiti that still divide the city,
I roll up my window from the stench
of the sea at low tide that creeps
into storefronts and rum bars,
into the hair of sisters in floral
prints, shirts of brothers
with spliffs tucked behind their ears,
up the legs of children rolling
spokeless bicycle rims down a lane
still unchanged by my love,
and ready myself for the blinding blue
of the Caribbean Sea that shapes
the palisades of Kingston, shrubbed
by mangroves and sea grapes, round
the bend that in my childhood led
to Harbour View, away from my father’s
anger, as light flashes outside
my window, across my driver’s face
making even the bush beautiful.

Near the roundabout, our car joins
a line of holiday traffic heading
toward the airport, smell of the dead
harbour clinging to my body,
and a man, armed with a rake and machete,
clears debris from the embankments,
branches that block signs for travellers like me
who have forgotten which side of the road leads home.

***

Geoffrey Philp, author of Marcus and the Amazons and Dub Wise, teaches English and creative writing at Miami Dade College. Geoffrey publishes regularly on his blog (Geoffrey Philp’s Blog), and has begun an online petition for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey.

Read also Erzulie’s Daughter and A Poem for the Innocents

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