Crossroads and unholy water by Marilene Phipps-Kettlewell

By Marilene Phipps-Kettlewell

Marilene Phipps’s poetry invitations the reader to proportion sharp slices of Caribbean adventure: Haiti is either level and backdrop for those that movement in a number of strata of the social scheme and during the 3 phases of lifestyles, in lieu of solutions to the Sphinx’s riddle. via voices, nostalgic and soft, denouncing and shrill, we trip to a mythologizing Caribbean land populated with humans whose dramatic depth and fights for all times are become occasionally humorous, occasionally disquieting, and continually richly evocative, palpable poetry.  

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Page 11 Dieudonne In Dieudonne's room, my finger foraged in crumbling holes for small matted balls of her own hair placed there to attract protecting spirits.  They were gathered high in a single frame beneath the screened-in vent.  She advanced shyly on skinny legs, to kiss her childless aunt.  It is done, she said, I would be fifteen soon and the time was right. From the balcony she yelled out to my father standing by the poinsettias, supervising Page 12 the building of a garden stairway. Yes, he answered, after a long silence.

She smiled. Dolls with painted cheeks sprawled on my shelf they too stare into the night. They wait for the afternoon dance when I take them down. Music is in my head. Will the Gypsy dance with the Mariachi or the Japanese?  I will wear my yellow dress with white bears. The black doll has no partner. In the morning, Sentayis will take my mattress out to dry.  I'll squat and wait close-by, drowsy with the smell of urine and cotton in the heat. The sun will steal away the spot I made. III Christian Girl Before they dug a round swimming pool at the spot where we would draw an altar with rocks, pebbles, red and yellow hibiscus, Babette and I played there at saying Mass, wrapped up in white sheets like robed nuns with little Charlito as altar boy, to be Page 6 promoted to Priest only if he revealed where he had buried all the blond angelical heads of our decapitated dolls.

Cm.  Title.  Series. 48-1992. Page v For Michel Page vii Surely every man stands as a mere breath! Surely man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nought are they in turmoil; man heaps up and knows not who will gather! And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in thee. Psalm 39:57 Page ix CONTENTS Special Acknowledgments xi Acknowledgments xiii I. Caribbean Beginnings Man Nini 3 Caribbean Childhood 4 Outdoor Birthday PartyFather's Fortieth 7 Gaëtan 8 Rain 9 Dieudonne 11 Run for the River 13 Marasa Spirits of Haïti 16 Oksilya 17 Aunt Frances the Pianist 18 The Gold Watch 20 Emma 21 Queen of the Meadow 22 II.

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