By turns, a New York City cabbie, optometrist, and poet, new American Donovan traverses the scary, fascinating emotional landscape of immigration. Struggling with the cultural dilemmas of assimilation, home sickness and endless expectation, he leaves Jamaica, a thriving career and family, goes from majority to minority, from breadfruit to bagel, fast track to preposterous life of a poet. His marriage wobbles as his involvement with the downtown New York City scene becomes irresistible. Illuminated by Donovan's poetry, we follow his trajectory from past.
. . . Tambourine<br>is Harvest Sunday<br>Smell of sugar-loaf pines<br>Breadfruits bigger than Elder head<br>We shall come rejoicing<br>bringing in the sheaves<br>Striped sugar canes so tall<br>they touch ceilingless zinc roof<br>then curve half way back down<br>unpainted cement wall . . .
. . . through alienation:
I rise each day<br>to yet another shock<br>from dis alarm-clock culture<br>And I miss di sound<br>of mi big red cock<br>as him beat him chest
and crow welcome song<br>to di sun<br>from di fowl-shit-covered<br>guava tree pon de hillside . . .<br>. . . And di snooze button allow me five minute<br>more to dream bout ackee and breadfruit<br>Den I get up and eat a bagel<br>and worry bout mi love handle . . .<br>. . .So dem force me to buy<br>a piece of the FBI<br>Cia investment pie<br>And dem give me a W2<br>form in<br>of a receipt . . .
. . . De Korean polish him apples dem clean<br>and arrange dem in stacks of red, gold and green<br>say him want Rasta to feel welcome, seen? . . .<br>. . . Still i yearn for de breeze<br>from de Natty Bay sea<br>as it cool down de sweat pon mi back<br>Long to feed dry coc'nut to mi cock . . .<br>. . . so I dilly<br>and I dally<br>and I wonder<br>how much longer<br>I can philander<br>Cause each time I bite di apple<br>it swallow a piece of me<br>Still it hard to love di fruit<br>if I never did climb di tree
. . .his fascination with pop psyche:
Baby says hi, tells me I look good<br>I add that I'm also on time<br>Baby says that's great<br>but still late and besides<br>it's a bad idea for us to meet anymore<br>Baby's pouting that pout pout<br>that always precedes her tears . . .<br>. . . She promised her analyst, her group<br>she would stop seeing me . . .<br>. . . Baby says there'll never be<br>another man<br>with whom she can play backgammon<br>while he is sitting on the can<br>Baby says she's not punishing me<br>but I need professional help<br>Baby says she can't forgive last week<br>she waited three times in restaurants<br>and I didn't show<br>I remind her I had an accident<br>one of those times<br>car was totalled<br>Baby says I get into accidents deliberately<br>so I can be late<br>that my shit is deep-seated<br>my aggression is passive<br>I'm in denial . . .<br>. . . Baby says the endless waiting<br>lowers her self-esteem . . .<br>
. . .and the mainstreaming of the downtown scene:
Finally long-overdue dedication to you<br>I ask their opinion<br>They say we have a hit<br>but we must edit for radio<br>Also for MTV<br>And tighten up the meter<br>And write a hook to make it catchy . . .<br>. . . I tell' em straight up<br>your poem's not for sale<br>They tell me Shut up<br>This ain't selling out<br>this is buying in . . .<br>. . . They're butchering your poem, can't you see?<br>Already gone with verses one and three<br>made it neutral, race-non-specific<br>Mass appeal, wider demographic<br>It's your poem, don't you recognize?<br>trimmed, neutered, sanitized<br>But that ain't selling out<br>That's buying in.
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