Desmond Painter. Afropsigedeliese jazzgedigte: Ontmoet Anthony Joseph

Anthony Joseph

Anthony Joseph

In aansluiting by Donderdag 14 Oktober se Nuuswekker, ‘Springgety vir Britse digters’, wil ek verder gaan met my reeks oor hedendaagse, veral ‘postkoloniale’ Britse digters. Met ‘postkoloniaal’ bedoel ek Britse digters wat vanuit voormalige kolonies afkomstig is; maar ook Britse digters wat in hulle werk reageer op ‘postkoloniale’ temas soos immigrasie, multikulturaliteit en die herverbeelding van Engelse en Britse identiteit.

Vanoggend is Anthony Joseph aan die woord. Joseph is 1966 in Trinidad gebore, maar hy woon sedert 1989 in Engeland. Hy het tot dusver drie digbundels gepubliseer: Desifinado (1994), Teragaton (1998) en Bird Head Son (2009). Hy het verder ook ‘n gesproke woord CD, Liquid Textology (2005), en ‘n ‘afro-psychedelic-noir’ roman, The African Origins of UFO’s (2006) gepubliseer. Sy lewendige optredes is veral baie gewild, en hy word dikwels deur sy eie jazz kwartet, The Spasm Band, begelei. Terloops, The Spasm Band se debuutalbum, Legge de Lion, is in 2007 uitgereik. Joseph se werk is skaamteloos eksperimenteel, en dit vier ‘n warboel van invloede, idiome en style. Self sonder hy die surrealisme, jazz en ook Karibiese spraak- en musiekritmes uit as sy belangrikste invloede. Hier is een van sy verse: 

 

THE GENETIC MEMORY OF ANCIENT ÏERÉ: HUMMINGBIRD – by Anthony Joseph
Witness this pure liquid text
                                                       spun from fragments of genetic memory.
Earth long. Vintage Caribbean gold. Of ancient ïere
before the flood.
Remember when cocoa panyol grease was as thick as earwax?
And dead eye jumbies hung like mannequins
by strands of cobwebbed sadness
over negroes brisk grinnin’, lindy hoppin’ to naked island jazz
               in tenement discoteks?
Busy rubbin’ thigh to bone’n bonin’ broko-foot mattress makers
in pumpenginejitneys.
’member when in seablast an’ salty bars on the plaza marina
hairy toothed slum lizards washed their hands in turpentine?
And switched blades to bleed.
And pimps did bump all year but in February
They’d pawn their jewels for sailor mas or sequinned spears
                              to hunt Nile crocodile
               on the sun bleached streets of old ïere city?
Rem’ber when mama wrapt navel string in Bacano leaf
and buried it under
a guava tree.
And sealed the belly
with a knot.
And sealed the knot
with crushed insect bone.
When al green shivered then moaned, ’cause Mr Champ
                                                                                          was on the deck.
                                                Well was to see them spirit rise!
                                                from the steaming bush to dance.
And more cousins keep comin’ over the hills with flambeau blazing
for babash rum
             and brown chicken rice.
Remember when scarfaced pan men carried machetes
under their fingernails and sharpened bones with quadraphonic steel. It was still tribe against tribe when the steelbands clasht –
and blood, bile, phlegm and rum
would run through alleys and gutters, through ravines steep with
pantywash and afterbirth tissue,
dragging trampled masks and broken headpieces, slits of glitter –
                                                   to the river.
And now only the river remembers when
             Cariban Indian first cartographed this land
                                             and called her

                                                                                         ((((     ïeré    ))))

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