Brother Man

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  • Topic: Novel, Jamaican English, Jamaica
  • Pages : 11 (2283 words )
  • Download(s) : 231
  • Published : January 23, 2013
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CHORUS OF THE PEOPLE IN THE LANE

The tongues in the lane clack-clack almost continuously, going up and down the full scale of human emotions, human folly, ignorance, suffering, viciousness, magnanimity, weakness, greatness, littleness, insufficiency, frailty, strength.

They clack on the street corners, where the ice shop hangs out a triangular red flag, under the shadow of overhanging building that lean precariously, teetering across the dingy chasm of the narrow lane.

Around the yam-seller’s barrow, and the tripe-seller’s basket, the coal-vendor’s crazy push-cart drawn up against the seamy sidewalk, they clack, interspersing the hawking and the bargaining, and what –goes-on in the casual, earnest, noisy, meaningless business of buying and selling; and where the mango-seller sets down her country-load.

They clack where the neighbours meet in the Chinese grocery shop on the corner, leaning elbows against the counter with its saltfish odour and the spilled rice grains and brown sugar grains, and amid the dustings of cornmeal and flour under the smirking two-faced scale, waiting for change.

- Mis’ Brody’s clubfootbwoy get run over...

- You hear wha’ Bra’ Ambo say? Say we is gwine get nodder breeze-blow dis year yet...

- Cho Missis, no mind Bra’ Ambo, after him no eena Big Massa council...

- Coal-price gone up since todder day...

- Ee-ee Ma, him do an’ get run over...

- Oonu lissen hear wha’ Bra’ Ambo say...

Behind the pocked visage and the toothless grin, behind the wrinkled skin gathered and seamed around the lips and under the eyes, behind the facade of the haltness and haleness and cursing and laughter, slander lurks in ambush to take the weakest and the hindmost, and the tongues clack upon every chance.

- Cordy’s man get tek-up fo’ ganga...

- Bra’ Man show de gospel way...

- Me-gal still wi’ hold wid Bra’ Ambo...

- Coal-price gone up since todder day...

- Lawd Jesus, po’ Mis’ Brody...

- No mind, God is all over...

- Hush yaw ma’ you’ mout’-lip favour...

- No God do dem t’ing de at all...

There are sad-faced old ones, and sleek-faced young ones, and all ways in between; and there are those with an accounting of troubles the same and equal to and over and beyond the ones they tell; and there are those too who have missed the accounting, ducking and dodging and putting by for another day; but all, all are involved in the same chapter of consequences, all are caught up between the covers of the same book of living; they look with shuddering over their shoulder past the image of their own secret terror, feeling the shadow of it over them in another’s fate.

- Po’ Cordy one fe mind de pickney...

- Lissen good wha’ Bra’ Ambo say...

- Cho gwan wid you’ Bra’ Ambo...

- Bra’ man know de gospel way...

- Papacita beta up him gal las’ night...

- Is a shame de way dem two de-live...

- Gal waan fo’ him an’ she get married...

- Hm! Papacita know what ‘married’ give...

Over washtubs in noisome yards where the drip-drip of the eternally leaking standpipe makes waste in the sun-cracked green-slimed concrete cistern, and under the ackee or the custard-apple tree or the Spanish-guava tree or the Seville orange tree behind the lean-to pit-latrine in the yard, they clack-clack eternally telling their own hunger and haltness and lameness and nightness and negation, like flies buzzing an open unremitting sore, tasting again, renewing, and giving again, the wounds they have taken of the world.

- Flyin’ Saucer tek-in Mercedes...

- Cho! A-swing her tail up an’down de street!...

- How she-one manage ketch so-much sailor?...

- Mus’ be black-gal somet’ing sweet!...

- Hear dem say-say Papacita de mek eye after Bra’ Man gal...

- Mek Bra’ Man find...
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