Friday, July 29, 2011

My First Poetry Publication... One Room Shack

My First Poetry Publication... One Room Shack will be available from next Tuesday August 02nd 2011 at a cost of XCD10.00.







One Room Shack is a reference to my humble beginnings and illustrates my challenging childhood. One Room Shack contains poems of love, hurt, poverty, inspiration, faith and love of country and people.









For more information please contact me at:


Free Expressions Production Company

56 Lime Street, Bath Estate

Roseau,

Commonwealth of Dominica


1 (767) 225 6367/615 5881.






Monday, July 25, 2011

Chapter 1: Cricket in the Streets

Cricket in the streets
by
Delroy Nesta Williams

One of my most vivid memories as a young boy growing up in Gros Michel was playing on The Oval. The Oval was what we referred to a small, paved section of Lime Street where we all gathered to play games. We named it the Oval after hearing of cricket stadiums in Trinidad and Barbados called the Oval too. Dominica didn’t have its own stadium so we decided to create our own in Gros Michel; our own “Lime Street Oval.”

Whether football or cricket, the competition was always intense and even more so if we happened to be blessed by the unexpected but welcomed rain shower. A downpour always seemed to take away all thoughts of tiredness and rejuvenate us. We could go on for hours at a time, as long as we were soaked (drenched) by the blessings of the sky.

I remember getting up very early on Saturday mornings, eating breakfast and then rushing out the door to join my friends to play a game of football or cricket. Another blessing about being a boy at that time, chores were tasks for the girls and we were left to roam freely, just as long as no one reported us for fighting or stealing. These were two cardinal sins at my home.

That Saturday was no different; we had been playing for hours. It started out as a game of football then changed suddenly to an intense game of cricket. Out came the “kaka” rubber balls, bats made from the coconut branches, cardboard sheets as makeshift pads and glory cider branches for stumps.

I always enjoyed batting, never liked to be in the fielding team. Today my batting was on point, I hit cricket stroke after cricket stroke, and the ball seemed to like my bat. I was driving the ball like Sir Gary Sobers, with the occasional exquisite cut and sweep. I felt good and none of the bowlers came close to getting me out. I had only made one bad shot, I lofted a ball towards mid off but Maggie was fielding there, he couldn’t catch a cold even if it was flu season. The ball hit the palm of his hand and scooped out; he almost grabbed it a second time. He really had butter fingers. I could see the disappointment on the faces of his teammates.

I had lost count of my personal score but I was sure I was somewhere in the forties. 50 runs was a significant score for us, the team would have had to buy me sticky tablet from Ma Boyd’s shop for a whole week. I could already imagine licking off the black caramel from my finger tips. Ma Boyd sold everything from alcohol to sweets and we always went there for sticky tablet after the game. It was that or coconut cheese.

“Stop, Stop, I wanna play,” someone screamed from behind me.

“I knew that voice,” I thought as I turned around.

It was Shane. He was the best bowler in the village. He was so tall and strong; he could throw that ball from a mile away and still bowl you out. He was a sure pick for the national team in a few years. I often overheard the old men saying he could make the West Indies team. No one from the small islands was on the team, something about the selectors always favouring the big island boys. But everybody in our village was sure Shane would be the first to wear maroon. He would make us all proud; Gros Michel’s finest.

“I want to play,” Shane shouted as he sprinted towards the wicket area.

“No, no,” I responded. “We done start wi.”
“Why?”

“Because we done start to play and you cyah join.”

“Just throw a coin, heads or tails and I go join any of de teams.’

“No, we start already and dat not not fair.”

“Anybody have a coin?” he asked, with total disregard for me. We never agreed on anything, he always got his way though; he would bully everyone if he didn’t.

“I doh want you on my team!”

“Okay, I will jus play for de other team ner,” he responded as he grabbed the ball from the bowler’s hand.

“You cyah bowl, you just come wii,”

“So? I want to bowl you cause I know you fraid me.”

“I fraid you? Boy doh make me laff,”

“Well let me bowl den if you not fraid,”

“Okay bowl den!” I responded. He had a way of getting us to do exactly as he pleased.

Now Shane walked back to the bowling mark. He stormed in to bowl but I had a plan. As soon as he approached the crease I walked away from the wicket.

“Bat, boy bat! you fraid man?” Dwight, the wicketkeeper, screamed out from behind the wicket.

“Fraid who? Fraid Shane? Joke dat ner boy, a fly was in my eye.” The truth is I was shaking all over; I couldn’t even grip the bat properly because my palms were so sweaty. I didn’t know what to expect from him. He went back to his bowling mark, only to storm back towards me again. This time I could see the anger in his eyes, he looked like he wanted to just rip my stumps from the ground and break them in half.

I could see a river of sweat flowing down his face, right between his cock eyes. I was always troubled by them, I never knew in which direction he was watching and that made him even more difficult to read as a bowler. Cockeyed and bowlegged, he wasn’t the prettiest of sites as he ran in to bowl but he scared the hell out of me. For some reason he hated me and I guess I would have hated me too if I was always mocking my walk, talk and eyes. I could tell that he really wanted to “chikayay” my wicket. Again as he approached the bowling crease, I walked away from the wicket.

“If you doh bat, I will throw a beamer at you,” he screamed at me. I could see the frustration building up in him. He was panting heavily now, as he put a lot of effort into his delivery strides. I was tiring him, my plan was working, I hoped. I was still nervous though, my palms still sweaty and now Junie was watching the game.

She was my childhood crush, the love of my life, back then. The prettiest girl in the neighbourhood and she liked me, well I thought she liked me. I didn’t want to make a fool of myself, I couldn’t and I would never forgive myself for that. I had to bat and I had to be brave too.

I would stay in the wicket this time and play a stroke. As soon as I turned my attention back to cricket, I remembered that I was facing Shane, but it was too late now, he was already delivering the ball. I couldn’t evade the bouncer, no time to dock or no room to leave the crease. Before I had a moment to blink, the ball had already struck my left shoulder.

“Ahhhhh!” I shouted out, “I wasn’t ready boy.”

“Your bat was down, you was ready.”

“Something was on my mind.”

“Something, someone or Junie?” Dwight shouted from behind the stumps.

“Shut up ner boy,” I sprayed as I rubbed my wound, it was already swollen.

“Just bat!”

“Just bowl when I’m ready.”

“Okay, you ready now?”

“Yes, now I ready for you wii” I said nervously, knowing that my big mouth had gotten me in more trouble, as always.

“I’m gonna york you, right on your toes, look out eh,” Shane grinned at me.

“I need my toes,” I thought.

Now I was the one who was perspiring with a river of sweat overflowing down my forehead, even into my eyes. Shane looked a blur as he approached me; I was having trouble breathing, concentrating on his delivery. I don’t even know what happened next, all I remember was the laughter of everyone and picking my bat from off the ground.

“Boy, play a stroke ner!”

“Bat boy, bat!”

The bat had been knocked from my grip. So powerful was the delivery that the ball found itself passed the boundary mark; the make belief boundary mark. I didn’t even have any time to realize what was going on but I wished that it would have been a single because I still had to face Shane. I decided the next ball would be do or die, I would swing with all my might.

Now I was ready, I wiped the sweat from my forehead, dried my palms and made sure that my grip was firm. My bat would not be knocked from my hands, not this time. Shane would not get the better of me, not this time, I was sure of it. It was my moment and I would not be deterred. I would not be intimidated, not by Shane.

“Let’s go, I ready now wii,” I shouted at him, “give me your best ball.”

He just grinned at me, as he stampeded towards the wicket. There was a glimmer in his eyes but I hoped that he had also seen the determination in mine too. He sprung into action, leaped into the air and I saw that bright red rubber ball heading straight towards me. It looked even bigger than the full moon of last week, there was no way I would miss it. I was about to hit him for six runs. I smiled, tightened my grip of the bat and swung as forcefully as I could. It was my best stroke; well that was what I had thought. I heard a crashing noise but nothing like I had expected. I heard shouts of jubilation, I saw Shane jumping in the air. I turned to watch my wicket, or what was left of it; broken pieces of wood, only one half-stump still in the dirt road. The others seemed to have disappeared, turned to dust. Something else was wrong, my hands were empty.

“Where de bat ner?” I asked, looking lost and bewildered.

“In Mad Lazare yard,” Shane shouted as he pointed in the direction of the broken down shack.

“How it end up dere ner?” I asked in disbelief.

“How you mean how it end up dere ner?”

“You doh know what you do den?”

“Awa, what happen?”

“De bat fly from your hand and end up in de man yard, you better get de bat eh,”

“Me, why me? Is not my bat ner!”

“You dat batting wii,”

“So?”

The debate was pointless; I had to retrieve the bat. That was one of our unwritten rules; whoever lost anything, ball or bat, had to retrieve it. It pained me when I realized what had happened, a blind stroke cost me my dignity that day. Broken wicket, lost bat was too much for my ego and now I had to venture into the unknown.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tribute to the KING

Fete Lacoudre is the annual feast of the Bath Estate Community and it takes place every July. I was pleased to be a part of the youth panel discussion on peer pressure - a lesson for parents on Monday 4th July, 2011.



But this post is about the events that occured prior to the panel discussion. I like to be early when I have to be anywhere especially when it relates to a formal setting and when i'm officially invited. So was the case for the panel discussion but i stumbled upon some unexpected activity. I met six (6) lovely young beauties bellowing out some old classics of the late, great Michael Jackson, yes the KING OF POP himself. He would have been proud of the effort and commitment of the young ladies but i'm not sure if he would have been have liked the "chopped and screwed' versions of his timeless tunes, albeit unexpected.



I happened to capture three (3) songs: Man in the Mirror, You Are Not Alone and Thriller. Off course, the videos are blackberry quality so sound and lighting are not the best but I do hope it captures the essence of the performances:




video




video




video


By the way, the pageant is this Friday... wish the young ladies luck, I just hope none of them sing for the talent segment, just kidding around...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Boeri, I'm back

I seldom do the same hike twice, well except for the Boiling Lake which i have done seven (7) times and counting.

At the invitation of my friends, I ventured back to the Boeri Lake on Saturday July 02nd, 2011. I brought my niece along too, she loves hiking, snorkeling and wants to be a marine biologist.




I still enjoyed the hike, albeit I was drenched in rain from the minute I left the bus. Did I mention that we were in the rainforest of Dominica, that records almost 300 inches of rain on an annually. The Boeri lake, Dominica's highest lake at over 2800ft, is situated near the Morne Micotrin (Morne Macaque) and is a part of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a World Heritage Site.


We were literally in the clouds and saw little in terms of view with the white mass all around us. The hike was very short, we did it in 30 minutes although all documentation indicates a hike of 45 minutes to an hour. It was easy except for the slippery stones, too many of them too, I think every one fell or missed falls.

Note to Forestry Division: the sign at the Boeri Lake needs to be changed...


Approaching the lake seems like a scene out of a scary movie. One of the hikers even mentioned that the lake looks like the one in the Jason's Friday the 13th movies... I had second thoughts about going in there but not the other hikers with a friend even thinking about swimming crossing the lake. He was alone in this adventure. I did soak my foot though... and I did take a dip in the Fresh Water Lake for 5 minutes, that water was just too damn cold.

All in all I can say that I did enjoy the hike but I won't go back for a third time, I pinky promise ;).
















Friday, July 1, 2011

Poetry Offering: Colours

The Dominica Writers Guild is currently organizing a call for poems under the theme Colours in preparation for the Nature Island Literary Festival.


Below is the poem that I have submitted, wish me luck... It is also in my upcoming book One Room Shack which should be out just before the Festival.





My Dominica


by Delroy Nesta Williams






Shades of green and everything in between


Encircled by seas of translucent blue,


Displaying wonders above and below


A beauty for all to behold,


Peaks that touch the sky


Stars that bless the night,


While the clear rivers quench the thirst


Of the land that grows it all.






Flowers of red, yellow, orange and blue


Birds of all sizes and colours sweetly sing,


The wind greets the hills and valleys


As the swaying palms speak to the flamboyant


Giving shade to the people below,


As they busily go about their day,


Each and everything mixed in.







For in Dominica they are well pleased


For here, Nature carefully prepares the way,


A path though full of bumps and bruises,


Potholes and ditches,


An experience second to none.


This is where all this is found,


Undisturbed it stands


Dominica,


shining jewel among other islands.