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
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Down Independence Boulevard: and other stories
by Ken Puddicombe
UNFATHOMABLE AND OTHER POEMS ©
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.
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.
ONE OF THE MANY POEMS IN THE COLLECTION
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
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