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Page 1 of 1Total of 4 messages
Posted by:Feb 22nd 2007, 04:17:54 pm
KimberlyThe days drift by
They don't have names
And none of the streets here look the same
And there are so many quiet places
And smilin' eyes match the smilin' faces.

And I have found me a home
Yes, I have found me a home
And you can have the rest of everything I own
'Cause I have found me a home.

My old red bike
Gets me around
To the bars and the beaches of my town
And there aren't many reasons I would leave
Yes, I have found me some peace.

And the ladies aren't demanding there
They never ask too much
And when you're coming off a cold love
That's sure a nice warm touch.


The days drift by
They don't have names
And none of the streets here look the same
And there aren't many reasons I would leave
Yes, I have found me some peace
Yes, I have found me a home.

I Have Found Me A Home
"A White Sport Coat And A Pink Crustacean," Jimmy Buffett
Posted by:Feb 21st 2007, 01:31:05 pm
Richard P

Lynn Sweeting
Nassau, Bahamas

Taken From a Letter to A Sista Regarding Stepping Off the Tourist Plantation

A few months ago an artist friend invited me to attend a “workshop” for artists put on by the Ministry of Tourism. Apparently they wished to teach me how to shape and form and express and present my art so that it better pleased the tourists, so that they might have a better vacation experience in my town. I declined. It is not my job as a feminist writer to help that
ministry sell hotel rooms. That is their job and I wish them well with it.

It so happens that for ten or fifteen years I was a house slave on the tourist plantation, I was a Maryann sifting sand in a comfortable place. I wrote and published many stories for the tourism masters. Some said I was
good at it. I was rewarded with a little public acclaim, and a trophy. I quite forgot I was a slave. I remembered again (or realized for the first time) when a story I wrote for the masters turned out to be a complete lie,
and was causing outrage in Exuma. Obediently I had written that this
community was happy that a huge influx of foreign yachts was coming through
their harbor, thanks to a new marketing campagne. The truth was that these
enormous boats were causing an environmental disaster, pollution was
threatening to ruin a pristine ecology, and for added outrage, the people
aboard these floating hotels never had to set foot in town, they spent not a
penny. The islanders were in an uproar to see a story in the paper that
erased them so effectively and so cruelly. I was horrified, and ashamed.
That was the last story I ever wrote as a house slave on the tourist

I sacrificed my dear checque book, my wardrobe, the happy hour budget,
dinners out and the esteem of the gainfully employed. Because I am a
privileged person I was able to hand my mortgage over to my Beloved, and
though saved from outright homelessness became his dependent. I haven’t made
money as a writer from that day to this. I have depended upon him and a few
others for my daily survival ever since. I gave up the independence I’d had
since my first job at the age of seventeen. I gave up my whole identity that
I’d imagined for myself in slavery days, the idea that I was a person of
great importance. (You imagine such things for yourself to stop from
thinking about the iron shackle on your leg.) I gave up the comfort of the
Big House and found that outside the gates there was a long journey to
begin, the bushland was foreboding, the walking got hard. I had to get a

What have I gained? On one level I gained the TIME needed to spend days and
years journaling toward the next poem. These days I have a manuscript of
poetry on the desktop that is growing. I get to spend long, blessed days
writing journals and poems, meditating, thinking, imagining, reading,
remembering, dreaming, writing letters, receiving letters, researching,
critiquing and submitting poems online, writing and publishing blogs,
reading the columns and poems of other writers and being read by them, right
here at home, in the concrete cottage where I grew up, now engulfed in a
lovely wood of old trees and young trees and wildlife…. All my decent poems
have sprung up here in this place far away from the plantation. Sometimes
the isolation has been unbearable, sometimes feelings of self-inflicted
disempowerment took me down (“Why can’t you just learn to get along and get
a real job and be like everyone else?” And of course, “What kind of feminist
are you, having to ask the man for money every day?”) But then I spend a
morning making a poem worth keeping and I am centered again in the
rightfulness of my freedom, and to what purpose I wish to put my creative
voice. I remember the amazing community of friends and writers that I now
connect with every day, locally and globally and am so inspired and
supported by them. This community is a part of my personal support system, I
would never have found it as a tourism slave.

How to collectively turn our backs on the tourism plantation? Let the
artists take the lead in this. For example, let there come up a new
generation of painters who paint because they have to, who paint all day
every day until the canvases are spilling out the door, who are willing to
sell $30 and $50 paintings in great numbers so that we can buy ten or twenty
or fifty of them, so that every house in the neighborhood is full of art and
everyone is a joyful collector.
Let the artists stop with the pretty pictures with the $4,000 price tags in
hopes of a tourist sale. Let them remember that fame does not equal
significance, and that making the big sale is not what the good painting is
firstly about. Let them (us) set about becoming painters who paint because
that is what painters do. They paint. The rest of us must then all become
the avid buyers of all this reachable art, each one of us must then become
loving givers and receivers of all this art, we become our own market, we
paint because everyone on the street wants to buy one, or ten, and can
afford to do so. Lives and houses and spirits will be transformed. Paintings
that come out of this new model will look different from the paintings made
inside the plantation confines. The art we make with and for each other will
be ABOUT something, it will not be for
the purpose of sucking the next thousand from a hapless tourist. It will be
about us. It will be about our lives, our evolving communities, our
changing, metamorphosing, transforming identities, our hearts and souls and
voices… It will be most beautiful, and most dear. It will be immortal,
telling the stories of our generations into the forever. Let every one of us
become such artists, not because Atlantis has an empty wall in lobby number
ten, but because to make it and to receive it sooths and inspires the
collective native soul. Let the tourists catch the overflow.

I know, easy for me to say. But it always bothered me to see another artist
friend who turned her house into a store front and
allowed plantation masters to bring tourists there by the van load. Many
bought big, expensive paintings over the years. But it was clear that not
one single person in her neighborhood could ever hope to afford to buy a
painting. The artist was always preoccupied with whether she was known or
appreciated by her community. After all, she’d been making paintings and
selling them to the tourists for twenty odd years, didn’t they know her,
didn’t they appreciate her? The answer was, no, they did not, because her
art has never touched their lives, it has always been out of their reach,
out of their experience. What were they supposed to appreciate? Her acclaim
meant nothing to them. Why should it? Her art was invisible to them, it
spoke to people other than them, it was priced for people other than them.
If artists want the people to embrace them, they have to embrace the people. Then they will be turning their backs on the plantation.

All of us can collectively turn our backs by remembering that tourism is a
job that we do, it is not who we are. It is a necessary evil, it is not our
reason for being. Serving tourists well is not the greatest achievement we
can aspire to, and it is not the mandate of the cultural community at all.
Posted by:Feb 21st 2007, 08:13:55 am
MaddieWe are claiming all the rooms
willing only to lend space
to those who take with due respect...
the role of gracious guest.

I think this is a most meaningful poem and it did bring tears to my eyes.

My only thought on the subject is that the wonderful people of Harbour Island need to step up to the plate to try and save THEIR paradise from overdevelopment.

The people who have developed Valentines and the ones who are attempting to develop Ramora Bay don't have the respect for YOUR island that it deserves and that is mentioned in the poem.

YOU are the only ones who can stop this mess, so please stand up and be heard!
Posted by:Feb 21st 2007, 07:32:34 am
speechA very thought provoking Bahamian poem by patritcia glinton! It gives me goose bumps to read and says so eloquently everything that i feel.I hope it speaks to all of you in the same way.

We accept for now we must pick up cotton towels
and plough corn rows into silk cotton hair.
forgive us if our humanity
spoiling the fantasies packaged for you by a dream merchant into four-nights-three-days of tropical delights,
John B sailing,
swaying palms,
wailing guitars,
picturesque pikaninnies
posing for alms,
beaches by the mile,
sparkling white
cheshire cat smiles
devoid of thought,
and emabarassing flesh
save for arms bought
to spin trays inder the limbo stick,
or to place umberallas
to shade the skin that wilts under the tropic sun.

With Bodies unmodified by the american plan
and souls that do not accept a major credit card
We reserve our right
to Bad hair,
fracticious babies,
faithless mates,
whether counted in years or pork bellies,

Theres no vacancy in paradise
We are claiming all the rooms
willing only to lend space
to those who take with due respect...
the role of gracious guest.

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