25 April 2023

Harry Belafonte 1927-2023

I can recall feeling sad a few years ago that he won't be around forever. Piri' Miri Muli' readers know that I am hyperattuned to the art and politics of the Caribbean, and Belafonte was one of the rare figures that showed you can create great art for a large audience and never compromise your principles, never betraying the legal and economic emancipation of the people, in times and island places that have become contemporary laboratories for celebrity con artistry. Modernissmo and Negritude are that and only that, despite the robust tradition of prominent pretenders.

22 April 2023

John Tranter 1943-2023

I was arrested because of that internal memo,
and ended up in a cell, then I was told to sit
with the police and the local bigwigs.
In the hushed and fast darkening room they said
someone—someone—had reduced the safety margin
on the airport risk factor, and I got the blame.
The sky that day was a pale, clear blue, but
that was happening outside, and far away.

The cop on duty would not open the tomb
of the deported—sorry, departed—and as usual
he had a story. Every movie, he said, depends
on a script, and the narrative grows out of
market research: a set of standard deviations. Art? 
What would they know? Open the tomb, and let me in.