T&T 50th: The Green Grass of Home

T&T 50th: The Green Grass of Home

By N Oji Mzilikazi

(Published in the Trinidad Express, September 1, 2012)

My navel string is buried under a tree
in the Land of the Hummingbird,
so no matter where I roam,
Trinidad & Tobago – sweet Trinbago
is still home, sweet home.

The Mecca of the Caribbean is my La Trinity.
Show me another country whose
races, religion, culture, mix so freely,
whose children are indescribable sexy, pretty,
have more public holidays than we.

Sawine, ginger beer, babash, sorrel, mauby,
coconut water, nip, pint, petit-quart, doubles, roti,
curry meh Soca, but doh call it chutney,
that term must be reserved for the delicacy,
and I ent care who disagree with me.

Pit in Strand Cinema, Gaiety, Rivoli,
Cannings Ice Cream, Charlie’s black pudding,
bake & shark, bellyful, chai su kai fan,
eating from a fig leaf with meh hand-
memories none can take from me.

Shiva Lingam Temple, Mon Repos R.C.,
cricket at the Oval, planting at Corpus Christi,
Better Village, Scouting for Talent, Mastana Bahar,
Fort George, Presentation Naps football rivalry-
all dem ting is home to me.

Apologies to Tobago.
Never seen the Bucoo Reef, Scarborough,
tasted, enjoyed one of her cassava dumplings,
like Calypso Rose – sweet fuh so,
kudos to ANR Robinson, Basil Pitt, Lalonde Gordon.

I love meh homeland bad, bad, bad,
some ah de news does make meh sad, sad, sad,
all ah we in the same boat, on the same ride,
love we flag, does wine and wave we rag,
ethnocentrists keep using race to divide.

Look at me!
I’m Black, African,
but ah does tell people I’m proud to be Indian.
Then ah does pause – to watch dey reaction,
then hit dem with West Indian.

Like pumpkin vine,
Trinis have family in every country,
and every country in we.
Look at dat Trini posse over-dey-
yuh could see in dem de Vincentian.

Dem in dat corner parents is Guyanese,
dem dey – de father is Bajan, mother Grenadian,
dat Trini face in the tricolor is Antiguan,
Trini children today is Jamaican by corruption,
yuh think we multicultural – we cosmopolitan.

I love being a Trinbagonian – yuh know, a Trini.
What other people does lime all de time,
astute, but quick to put fête before work,
talk bout yampi, maccoing, whappi, mapapi,
get away with bobol, rachafee?

We used to buy Bata dogs by Kirpilani’s.
All-Fours is we national game,
not getting down on yuh knees.
Flush with oil, gas and money,
Plenty countries ent blessed like we Trinis.

People does pay big money for comedy,
Trinis de only ones dat does talk ship for free.
Do you remember Mungal Patasar, Rennie B,
Lata Mangeshkar, DJ Big Man City, Dj Gabby?
Leh meh stop! Happy fiftieth!

Copyright© 2012 by N Oji Mzilikazi

From the forthcoming poetry compilation: “Shards of Glass” by N Oji Mzilikazi