NOTE: “The Story Of The Month” changes every month OR bi-monthly and might also have been featured in my collection DOWN INDEPENDENCE BOULEVARD published by MiddleRoad Publishers in 2017 and available on Amazon, or might be an Extract from my two novels RACING WITH THE RAIN and JUNTA or my collection UNFATHOMABLE AND OTHER POEMS


Down Independence Boulevard: and other stories
by Ken Puddicombe



The slanting rays of the sinking sun 

Set the slats of the jalousie windows aglow 

Creating pools of darkness all around: 

In front of the door to the portico,

Behind the coffee table in the gallery.

Below the cabinet in the dining room. 

The kitchen door was ajar. 

Through it floated strains 

Of the wind rustling through 

The mango tree in the front yard. 

Voices came from afar.

Children laughing and playing, 

Jeering and calling to me from the 

Playground where I’d hurried home 

After hearing the news of the death

Of my friend Lincoln.

My head grew larger with every 

Passing minute. The hair on my scalp 

And back of my neck bristled, 

My eyes were ready to pop

In their sockets.

What was that odour

Clinging to me? In my nostrils, 

The ever present, ever destructive 

Smell of death. It followed 

Me from the cemetery my mother

And I passed on our return trip

After visiting relatives.

All through that long walk, I had inhaled it. 

A decaying, putrid, ever present stench

Lingering in the very air that I breathed. 

Everything around me assumed unfathomable

Proportions. I was in a room with the ceiling 

Inclined to meet the floor at the far end, 

All the furniture piled up against one of the walls. 

Shadows detached themselves from dark corners, 

Assumed shapes of moving objects and taunted me.

Doors closed and opened. Through one of them

I had a vision of Lincoln…


The mid-afternoon heat had risen

To stifling proportions. 

Up and down both sides of the Punt Trench, 

The vapour rose in pools floating slowly 

Off the road, held there in a haze 

Through which everything unfurled

In distorted segments.

The occasional burst

Of breeze stirring down the Punt Trench

Sent ripples through the reeds both sides

Of the parapet. Animals stood on the dirt

Road, panting and heaving. 

People lazed around in hammocks

In bottom-houses and fanned themselves. 

And the kids took refuge in the Punt Trench.

Lincoln was plunging 

From the parapet. Then he was throwing 

Somersaults, sending surges of water 

Slapping against an unsuspecting victim.

Now, he was pulling someone’s short-pants down,

Throwing it on to the roadside 

Where the kid would have to retrieve

It, naked. Throughout this all, 

Lincoln was laughing.

I remembered.

Once, not so long ago,

I had pushed him into the Punt Trench,

And ran away, laughing at my own audacity.

From up the road came the resounding

Echo of a whip cracking in the air

As a mule-train laden with cane stalks and

Molasses made its way westward.

The punts in the mule-train linked 

With short lengths of chain hooked 

Into metal clasps welded at the front

And rear of each craft. Six mules up front

Kept the convoy moving, each animal 

Bound to a punt by a length of chain.

Lincoln was clinging to the connecting 

Chain between two punts in the middle

Of the convoy, hanging on for a ride, 

When the distance narrowed swiftly

Between the punts.

I saw those eyes, those cat-eyes 

That could dazzle and awe. The shock

On Lincoln’s face as he sensed

What was about to happen

As the punts closed in. His teeth clenched. 

His bones crushed mercilessly

As the water turned crimson.


I remembered my parents coming home. 

My mother rubbed me down with Limachol 

And mentholated spirits, my father 

Reassuring me everything would be fine. 

The alcohol-based balm cooled my head

And calmed my nerves, the voice of my 

Father, composed and soothing, 

Gave me hope that I would live, 

I would not join Lincoln, 

In his watery grave.




December –The Touch Of Peace


Jan – The Interview

Feb – The Underground [2nd Prize Polaris Magazine]

Mar –Welcome  To Punta Canada

APR – Return Of The Prodigal [from Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories]

MAY- No Thank You

JUNE – The Shoplifter

JULY/ AUGUST: The Last Straw [from Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories]

SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER: Relics In The Attic [from Down Independence Boulevard and Other Stories]

NOVEMBER: The Day Queen Victoria Lost Her head [Published in The Caribbean Writer]

DECEMBER— The Touch Of Peace


JANUARY/ FEBRUARY –The Effect Of Light Rays On The Milky Way and Minor Constellations

MARCH: Memory

APRIL/MAY: The Other Side

JULY/AUG: Love Through The Ages

OCT: Don’t Cry For Me


MAR: Going Back

JULY: Unfathomable And Other Poems