Calabash is (A)Live!
The first time is the charm. For better or worse, the first time is unforgettable.
For many Calabash 2012 was not so much newness, as well-seasoned, not-to-be-missed (even in the lean years) and a definite feeling of chasing a certain high-ness. I didn’t have or need comparisons. This was my first Calabash and I had enough song and laughter in these bones to be solid, liquid or gas. I had enough stories to share, enough warmth in my belly to make a home wherever I would trod. I was here. There. Finally. The Calabash Festival. Jubilation! 50. Treasure Beach. JAMAICA!
I hardly know where to begin… I am full to overflowing. Nursing a love hangover that I refuse to crawl out from under. I refused to write there. Ha! 3 nights. 2 1/2 days. A lifetime really. I wanted to imbibe. See. Be seen. Openly eavesdrop on giants while making eye contact. At the same time I was still a baby sucking milk, overeager there, yet with a grown woman feel. Calabash 2012 was a beginning at a new kind of writer, the one I knew before performance writing became my sway and began ruling the day. I know what I am saying. I used to live there. I know what I want to say. I am here.
Evernote is close. My pen is closer. My journal and these neon bright stickies I prefer, everywhere and closest. And I can’t forget that voice recorder on my HTC Shift. Quick-hitting but effective. If Calabash promoted anything, and there was So Much Things To Say to bridge the gap to Jubilation, it was that writers write, and writer’s speak in tongues of fire that discern the quality, the fiber of being. I preferred the weight of that message. The blood-fiyah piercing quality of the missive that I couldn’t miss as my soul recognized and recognizes revival in any and all forms. Especially under an open-air tent, held up by sunrise and sunsets, buoyed by the vessel that is the calabash, and rooted by the clear vision of a tree of life to the right of me and left of the stage. It was flowering red-orange…
Calabash is not a lone setting. It is a constellation of faces and voices and seeing and ways of being. My best effort to keep the fire burning and express all that was not just Calabash, but the extended Calabash Village is this stream of energetic memories…
Calabash. Jubilation! 50
Calabash. Jubilation! 50
Treasure Beach. “Soon reach…”
Welcome to JamRock!
Kingston speakers blaring.
Tuff Gong. Heart tug.
Island time. Island Ride. Advnturesome precipice.
Mountaintop shout. Re-route. Deep-down valley.
Junction. Mandeville. Nain.
“Dis waaay pass Jamaica!” Bridled laughter.
We got this!
Yes-I. Blessed Treasure Beach. Evening Tide.
1st Night. Kingston Noir. Festivals!
Tropical Rhythms: Carrot & Guava, Carrot & Mango. Deliciousness.
Raging Fyah! NoMaddz!
No SeaPuss. Laughter. Plenty Snapper.
More Pussy Talk: “How to Hypnotize a Cat”
Slow Talk. Eloquent Patois.
Love is my religion.
African Queen hail-up.
Songs whispered in the middle ear:
(As dangerous as the middle passage)
No turning back.
Belly chains. Gods hanging low. Low hanging fruit.
Lioness Heart: Strong. Vulnerable.
White Rum: Wray and his beloved Nephew.
Chaser. Hunter. Protector.
Greeting the dawn.
Child Month. Issues. Phobias.
Chase Her. Hunt Her. Protect Her.
Sexy Fried Chicken!
No transport. No money. No worries.
There and back again.
A great cloud of witnesses.
Black Power Fists.
Colin Channer. Absent. Missed.
The Inside Scoop: More Cerasee Tea. Less Sweet Basil.
Open Mic. Every gap filled.
So Much Things to Say. Still.
Poetry. Freedom. Play.
Feet– up. Nakedness.
Sun Sets. Bon Fire promises.
Shivers. Gooseflesh. Plums.
Dancing in the street.
Music themes along seams.
Blouse and Skirt! Pants and Shirt!
Kisses. Near misses.
Sweat. Sweat beads multiplied. Divide.
Friendship under fire.
Dirty feet. No sleep.
Strip Shops. Visions.
Rise & Shine.
Zap Mama. Soca. Beach Lime.
Hairy Breed. No shaving.
Waves. “Wine and go dung.”
Mind floating. Feet threading salt.
Low Pressure. Standpipe.
Showers of Blessings.
Debate: Most potent.
Belly Full. Lovers Choice.
Jamaica Gleaner meets Dasheen.
“I like your style…”
“I like how you stay…”
“Will you stay?”
Never a goodbye. Next time.
If you were there, please share and if you made your way through the maze then talk to me.
ABOUT THE WRITER/POETHi there, I’m Tynisha C. Leon, writer, West Indian, mango-lover, founder and Editor-in-chief of DASHEEN magazine — the online destination where culture feeds imagination. Join the culture chat on Facebook and Twitter! If you’d like to contribute, drop me a line here, I’d love to read/see your unique views! Bless up!