Kingston Streets

Green trees reaching,
Loose boards screeching,
Sky stretched mansions,
Gloomy dungeons,
Fancy gardens,
Ghetto soil hardens.

Even where the roads are paved and neat,
Cows and goats they walk the street.
Hand cart, donkey cart,
Push cart, car mart.
Boy with scooter set on bearings,
Perverts and their dirty leerings.
Makeshift walls of zinc,
The sanitary and the stink,
Clogged up catchments,
Security detachments.

Church, bar,
School, bar,
Bank, bar,
Hot tar,
Need a drink?
None too far!
Dominos tinkle,
White rum tingle.
A bar here a club there,
Some right near the church
I fear.
Bobo I-drin with his brooms,
Takes a shortcut past the tombs.

Birds chirping,
Bees humming,
Humming birds,
Coloured words,
Cars zooming,
Speakers booming,
Kites singing,
Church bells ringing,
Hot sun shining,
Weak-heart whining.

A million signs
Of all designs,
Board, glass,
Class, crass,
From every nook
They scream and blare,
Spelling out their daily ware;
Restaurant, barber,
‘Welda’, ‘plummer’,
Some unfaded
By the endless summer.
BK, Roasters, KFC,
Domino’s, Subway, MickeyD,
Plazas, cleaners,
Wholesale dealers.

Street people,
– The stuff of fables, –
Like the ugly light posts
Strung with cables.
Taxi, drink van,
Fudgie, fishman.
Dally on a bicycle,
Lick a melting icicle.

Garbage dining madman,
Bus riders – for dear life –
Hang on.
Drug racket,
Nasty spitters
Give the jitters.
A wall listing
Warns “No pisting”.

Criss girl, clean and looking fine,
Half-dressed wiggles her “behine”.
Schoolers in uniforms walking,
Peddlers in shaky shacks hawking,
Fat vendor – bangles on both han’s,
Peddles dutchy pots an’ pans.
Cigarette girls,
Dreadlocked curls.
Chicken jerking,
Linemen working,
Star Boy
“Stah Yeh”,
Pirate music
Goh deh!

Clean streets, dirty streets,
Ripe fruits, tasty treats,
Sno cone, sky juice,
Boiled corn, mannish water,
Cooked crab, sliced pineapples,
Plastic bags of plain ice water.
Cane, coconut, woven mat,
Hustlers offer this and that.
“Wipe yuh glass, sir?”
“Need some food ma’am?”
On the corner a peanut man,
Ackee, skellion, peas an’ yam.

“Small up yuhself!”
At the terminus
The Ducta cusses,
Cramming sardines
Into buses.
One stop,
Grocery shop,
Now again as they began,
Served up by a “Chineyman”.
Offtracks crowded in between
With idlers who
“Nah wuk fi dat! zeen?”

Street fights,
Broken lights,
Pretty sights,
Sleazy nights,
See the supple go-go wine
As the rats come out to dine.
Here a psst, there a psst,
“Hey nice man, yuh want to dweet?”
“Hooman you jus’ move an gwaan!
What you have mus’ renk an’ kahn”.
Owls screech, doves coo,
Mongoose, patoo,
Stray hogs, dogs and crowing fowl,
All the cats are on the prowl.

Greased palms,
Men at arms,
The constant din
Of tripped alarms.
Bus drivers sipping beer
Horns and exhausts pierce the air.

What’s that whiff?
A lighted spliff!
Gully-bridge sitters,
Wool-cap knitters,
Well clothed fences,
Known offences,
Who dares?
Who cares?
Where oh where
These sights and sounds?
All right here in Kingston Town!

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