5. Sweet Rosemary

Where this memory trying and take me? I don’t want to go. Best leave in the past, papa. The eyes, the forehead. Look like… Best leave that in the past, with everything else. Nothing to remember, nothing to miss. Only thing I miss from them days is m’guitar. B, A, C-sharp. …Mmmm. Could hear the strum of the chords as if it riding on the breeze. B, A, C-sharp. Singing m’kaiso. That is a memory.

Kaiso music make the heart feel free, 
Kaiso music make you real happy
Kaiso music get you on y’feet. 
Is carnival time on Fredrick street. 
Tamboo-bamboo and tin pan on Fredrick Street.

That is a memory. Sing a song in a calypso tent. Drink a rum and extempo till morning. Go home as the sun coming up. Rosemary asleep in the bedroom. Ahh. Drink a rum and… Ahh, papa. Rosemary. Check the big-eye grieve watching me. Shoo. I ain coming for your nest.

Used to sing a song. No. No. Not that one. Wasn’t a real song. Cha, memories rising up like the dust from this ground. Sweet Rosemary. Cha. We married in a church. Sweet Rosemary. On a Saturday. Big party at the father house in Belmont. Hah. Me and Rosemary. Breeze blowing strong again. Where I put the coconut? Sweet Rosemary. Ahh, papa.

Always glad when she see me. 
Stroke m’head, in the morning
Rub m’foot, in the evening. 

Hah. Was a joke. Was a joke. Just a song. I tell you build y’spider trap elsewhere, spider-man. Was just a ‘ditty’, a thing to make them man laugh. Eh.

Sweet Rosemary
Always glad when she see me. 
Cook me dumpling in the morning
And cascadura in the evening. 

Ahh, wasn’t no lie, neither. She was a good, good wife. Keep the house clean, wash m’clothes. Papa. The fellas used to say was she daddy money. Ahh. Selwyn and Wilmot. Papa, all you man mouth was fire. Hah. I didn’t care what nobody say. Never. Never talk too much in m’head. Laugh when I make joke. And love to cook. Ox-tail, fish stew, oil down, callaloo. Had the real sweet hand. Saint Rosemary. Cook whatever. Even when she had done cook something else. Saint Rosemary. Forget that! Saint Rosemary.

Lie down in bed when you ready,
But only in missionary.

No! No. Was the fellas, sing that, not me. Papa, friends does take you but they don’t bring you back.

Hah. Everything gone still now. Feel it. Sweat on m’back. Them nights in the barrack yard by Charlotte street. Hot. Used to have to dress good. Ahh. Grease down hair, comb it with a parting. Nice shoes. Slacks. A hat. Yes, a real town boy by then. Ahh. Rosemary used to stay home. Ahh. Rosemary. Kaiso fete and pan yard. You never say no. Ahh, too much memory. Come Oya, bring the rain. Rain does wash way everything.


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