Caribbean Poets: Vibert Reach Home

Paul Keens-Douglas on why Vibert is in deep trouble


He had an eventful day. But when he got home the truth began to emerge. Paul Keens-Douglas tells the story . . .

De boy leave here good good dis mornin’
Lookin’ so nice an’ respectable, eh?
Dress up in he clean, clean dan-dan
He shoes shinin’, he one pair ah shoes,
An’ wearin’ de nice jersey dat Telma bring from New York.
Now watch de boy,
De boy come back here lookin’as if ten taxi run over him.
Vibert, where yu been?
Yu been an’ what? Jump up?
In yu good clothes, Vibert ?
In yu one pair ah shoes?
Yu mean to tell me Vibert,
Dat all de talk ah talk,
All de talk ah talk to yu Vibert,
Yu still had de heart
To go an jump up in de band?
Boy is what wrong with yu? eh?
It wasn’t wha’?
It wasn’t your fault!
Dey pull yu in de band!
So ah suppose dey tie yu foot too,
An’ yu hand, yu couldn’t come out de band Vibert?
Vibert what we go do with yu, eh boy?
What we go do with yu?
Yu poor mudder gone quite in England,
Wukkin’ she eye-teet out in de people place,
To send de little bit ah money back here,
To give yu little tail ah future,
An’ as fast as she sendin’ it yu wastin’ it away.
Vibert yu did bound to put on dat shoe
To go an jump up, eh? tell me!
Yu what? yu fraid dey did mash yu toe?
Boy yu want to jump up
An’ yu fraid yu get yu toe mash?
Yu want to play marse an’ yu fraid powder, eh?
An’ in any case Vibert,
What ah little boy like yu doing in steelband? eh?
With all dat amount ah bacchanal dat does go on dey, eh?
Ah know yu is ten years old,
Ah know dat too well,
But Vibert, you don’t know Port of Spain,
Anyting could ah happen to yu.
Vibert yu forget wha’ happen durin’ Divali last year, eh?
You an’ de Harrison boy, yes
Allyu was suppose to be in scout meetin’,
Yet allyu find yu self in Port of Spain to watch Divali.
Yu nearly kill yu aunt an me, boy.
I sit down listenin’ to de radio, good, good,
Hear de man say dey find two little boy
Wanderin’ aroun’ Port of Spain, like dey loss,
An’ would de owners please pick dem up
At de nearest police station.
Now Vibert me never, never could ah tink
Dat it was you and de Harrison boy
Dat de police had down in dat station

Because allyu was suppose to be at scout meetin’
So I sayin’ to myself, yu see how some people slack,
Lettin’ two little children like dat loose
In all dat confusion dey does have in dem celebration.
Is not till de radio start to describe de two little boy,
An de jersey dat one ah dem did wearin’,
Dat I realise was you.
Because is only one jersey dey have so in Trinidad.
Vibert yu could imagine how ah feel?
Ah had to take taxi to go quite down in Port of Spain
It cost me ‘bout four dollars,
An’ dat’s almost ah whole bottle ah rum,
An’ when ah reach de police station
Was another set ah horrors,
Because is me de police start to question,
Askin’ me why I so irresponsible,
An’ how ah could let two little boy so, loose in Port of Spain.
Now yu find dat is right?
Yu what? yu sorry? sorry can’t fix it.
An’what is dat in yu pocket? Ticket? Panorama?
Eh? Vibert ? No, ah don’t believe it,
Vibert, yu don’t mean to tall me dat yu been in Panorama?
Panorama, in de Savannah? Boy yu mad or what?
Lord have mercy, with all dat’ amount ah bacchanal.
Vibert boy yu could ah dead,
What ah little boy like you doin’ in Panorama?
An’ wha’ happen to yu pants bottom?
Yu what? tear it? climbin’ over fence?
An’ who sew it for yu?
Yu what? Yu sew it for yu self?
So Vibert yu turn seamstress?
An’ what is dat wrap up in yu hanky?
Sweetie? Vibert yu gone crazy or what?
An where de chain? eh?
Now don’t play dotish, yu know wha’ chain ah talkin’ ‘bout,
De one yu mudder send from England,
De one with de miraculous medal.
Yu what? yu lose it? on de stage?
Vibert yu been on de stage too, on de stage?
Boy is what wrong with yu, yu haunted or what?
Ah have ah good mind to call Ma Lottie
Let she pray on you’.
Look at me trouble, eh lord,
Ah man like me who should be cock up drinkin’ ah good rum
Have dis boy here want to give me heart attack.
Ah have ah good mind to send yu little tail to England give yu mudder
Let me see how much Panorama yu go find up dey.
An’ who is dat out dey? By de gate? don’t play blind!
De who? de Harrison boy? Is what he want?
He waitin’ on yu? to change?
So Vibert, yu only come home to change?
Reprinted from Savannah Ghost, Vol. 2, (Keensdee Productions 1996), by permission.