MaMa Fontaine stirs gumbo in a big rusty pot
telling me that joy is squashing a pregnant roach.
She is a jailbird,
an ex-lounge singer,
and a literary agent (who won’t sign me).
She wonders if it is just some quirk,
or does insanity truly run parallel to our family.
I count the sky’s stars under a non-tropical
night on Harriet Island, but I am reminded of nothing.
PaPa Fontaine shoots his mouth off
like a blind man with a pistol.
Yakking about some cataclysmic battle,
lying about being John…St. Kits… Wayne,
the outlaw Cowboy of the Caribbean.
A sea lion land-locked, he is presently unemployable.
He longs to go back to his island,
but MaMa is too Americanized to get with that.
The criminal glam that they were both in.
The corrosive anti-culture.
A self-stroking soul world.
A milling population of pimps and chippies.
Con men and preachers.
Matriarchs and gaudy prophets.
A neo hoo doo manifesto that is not in the travel brochures.
Tourist only ride the tame horses.
They honeymoon at the Holiday Inn
where the sky meets the sea.
They say “How about that bobsled team… Ha Ha.”
Yet, my folks will never go back to Jamaica
and make it their own.
A. Whittenberg is a Philadelphia native, who has a global perspective. If she wasn’t an author, she’d be a private detective or a jazz singer. She loves reading about history and true crime. Her other novels include: Sweet Thang, Hollywood and Maine, Life is Fine, Tutored, and The Sane Asylum.