Chef A is in fine form this week. Typically all swagger and cool, a new menu and staff changes have got him open and sweating a bit more. We bond as (wo)men do in kitchens, over nostalgia for the music of our youth, and sing our way through the hairier parts of our shift on the line. He's got a sense for plating I'd like to learn from, squinting and leaning in closely over fingerling potatoes, fish and asparagus, as he stacks and layers the levels of flavours.
> After a week, there is still no word on Jenyon Middleton's murderer. The SIU is involved, and yet even this makes it seem as though police are entitled to at least a week's paid leave before being held responsible, vis Forcillo, for heavy gunplay. Do they watch over us or stand above? Is the timing of Yatim's justice, this latest potential incident of systematic violence, and the weekend's Caribana celebration an elaborate conceit of control being played out behind well-paid doors? Its an especially difficult summer to be sure where paranoia lies.
> Family spins in a circle around me. The faces are different, as sometimes happens in dreams, but the names are clear: Jessica, Rachel, Katie, Irene, Leah, Rebecca, Maya. Friends appear in their many guises: Peter, Patrick, Meg, Maggie, Chris, Steve, Mary. I watch some of them come to harm, I feel the danger of their closeness and crave comfort as the walls of Shelmerdine come down in the wind.
> > Jessica and I speak of the traumatic healing potentials within the African diaspora. I weep and summon Pharaoh, talk sweetly to your double next door. She opens her patio bar to me at all hours and sunbathes in the nude. To the east of the city, the brother's compound rings with the sounds of song in a sweaty basement. Soundtracks of a different kind of hero. Tales of amorous strife and archeology.
> > > A new song flows out of me in the ludic cyphers of a birthday celebration. For a moment I fear the fertile flow may impinge on my blogging, but you assure me that there is plenty of work to be done, speaking truth to power and calling out bullshit in the personal sphere. So here I go again.
> > >
> > > Ghosts have a habit of being stubborn. I've been at odds with the Greek mythology of late, they being the source of such authoritative, colonial dogma in the musico-philosophy spheres of my study. Their brand of apparitions, called shades, seem useful now. When Hercules visited the underworld, he saw friends, lovers, former battlemates and foes 'below', found them shadows of themselves, bored, bland, bleached out, carping inevitably over the same problems they experienced immediately before death, with no hope, perhaps no desire of resolution, still just a concept, jaded and guarded, detached from the world in a one-sided, Socratic prison shaped unerringly like the inside of their own heads.
> > > I walk the streets and suffer through city transit memorising my new tune. I question who I'm singing for or to, whether this serves a shadow purpose, whether this is a beginning or the end. I see my elbows, realise I'm as skinny as Peter. My body is certainly stronger than my head. I am frustrated and resolute, still seeking a place where I can truly mourn, let down my guard and face life freshly enough to be a part of the greater battle. Every shade that died at sea wants to believe their captain escaped from Circe, Scylla, Charbidis. Even the pigs. Especially them.
> Your friend from the theatre is out walking the streets as I return home one night, taking a moment away from conflict with his lady and weighing the responsibilities, pressures and frustrations of his company's public position. The man at the record shop has his own troubles, frustrations and anger to live with.
I will love you always. I will also turn my back on the shadows, straighten my shoulders, and walk out of the underworld. Ungrounded, I seek an elaborate end. Like Orpheus, I long to sing songs so deliciously that (wo)men will tear the flesh from my bones. I am yet willing to believe that there exists a more colourful, tasteful, powerful and meaningful world outside of the space between my own ears, that land of dreams where you are all waiting to repeat the things you've always said. I turn to see you, I thought you were right behind me almost every step of the way, instead, you keep vanishing beneath the surface of the water, taken by white furies and losing your head, building a life in the land of the dead.