Whom you might meet

What you might learn

Where it might lead you

Kei Miller, poet in residence Poetry on the Move Festival

 

At the

Poetry on the Move Festival 2019

Canberra Australia

Organized by the University of Canberra

 

One of the Poets in Residence was Kei Miller, from Jamaica living in UK.

Chatting with him I commented on his woven fiber necklace

From Trinidad, he replied.

 

Oh, Trinidad…

I hadn’t thought about Trinidad for many years

I had closed that door, compartamentalised and forgot  all connections with Trinidad (and Tobago).. like the stuff that is stowed away in the antique trunk in my bedroom that I never open. Or the shelves filled with photo albums from various lives that I never look at.

Kei spoke of the creativity of Trinidad, of j’ouvert (Jouvay or “opening” in French) – the morning that Carnival begins – and his frequent trips to Trinidad, although Jamaica is his home country.

Flash –Now  I remember… parading down Port of Spain streets in the “engine room” (Engine room is a term used to describe the group of un-pitched percussion instruments that accompany steelbands)…Without smoking anything, everyone was high on weed… marijuana in the air everywhere.

Many years ago, while living in Caracas Venezuela (1984-1991),  I went to Trinidad Carnival three times.

            Trinidadian Women, Carnival, (1989?)

That night, I wrote this poem.

 

Through a poet

with or without poetry

reconnecting with a past

a dance

through the streets

of Trinidad

Beautiful women

writhing bodies

off limits

to those who would

sexualize

controlling

their gorgeousness

Their day

their way

No one can stop them

Trinidad woman during Carnival (1989?)