I just started reading the two works imaged left. I'm taking them on together because is suh meh glutton. Plus, the semester is over and I have more time to read.
I Hear Guyana Cry (2003) is a collection of poems by Balwant Bhagwandin. Read about him here. The second work is Going Home and other tales from Guyana (2002) by Deryck M. Bernard. It's a collection of short stories that was up against Ruel Johnson's collection for the 2003 Guyana Prize. Read more on that here.
Each work (each author) certainly deserves its (his) own space and treatment; however, I'm finding that reading them together is quite a fulfilling experience. (Girls, you might want to try reading these two men at the same time. Fun stuff! I promise you won't be biting off more than you can chew.)
Here's what I've been experiencing...
A few nights ago I read Bhagwandin's "When Once." In it he laments on a city "when once/ the beauty/ of flowers and folk/ hibiscus heterogeneous flamboyant/ and so founded/ could be made no more glorious/ by praise/ or less so by curse/ was the clarion/ by which the town proclaimed/ its quaint elegance and grace..." That city he says is now one where "rules are for fools/ and only the well armed ill-advised and insane/ stroll the streets/ and in place/ of 'Gud ma'nin!'/ the intimidating bark/ to hand over or be off to your maker/ in reply to 'wha happening deh?'/ cruel curses and shearing insults/ to hair and pigment..."
Bhagwandin's words raise my consciousness about a period in Guyana of which I was unaware. His poems are full of gloom, yes, but I'm soooo reveling in his passionate cry for change.
Then last night I read Bernard's "Black Water." I laughed so hard that I woke up the man sleeping next to me. He jumped out of his sleep and asked me what the hell was wrong with me, didn't I see it was way past midnight.
I couldn't help myself though. And most of you won't either when you read stuff like this:
...The next night found me in a little bed in the back room of a shop. I promised her everything. I was going to come back for her and rescue her from the miserable old man. I was going to carry her to America and give her a car and buy her new clothes and mind her son. I handed her all the money I had with me, mine plus the Ministry's allowances for the trip. . .Suddenly, we were interrupted by the sounds of a heavy man crossing the plank across the trench and opening the front door of the shop. Then came the voice of Palmer calling for Hermia. I recalled that the farmers here always carried their shotguns. I did not know that it was possible to get a severe headache so fast. I lost all interest in women, love or beauty in any shape or form. All Hermia said in her dry whisper was, "I think Mr. Palmer come back home. You better go through the window."
I scrambled through the window, trousers and shirt in hand, dropped heavily to the ground and ran into a trench filled with mud, stinking and oozy...
I'm still laughing at that shit.
I'll give you more updates on both works as I continue to read.