Kaleidoscope of colours
That you bringing me
You freaking out my energy
I’m losing and you’re making me low low low
Don’t know what to do about it
You and I can’t live without it
All I wanna do is just go go go
You smother my emotions
Now I’m drowning in your oceans
And I’m running and I’m feeling like I don’t care
Penetrate my space
And now I’m looking out of place
You’re making this hard for me
I Need Air, Magnetic Man
It is 3 am and there is a man dancing at the Bus Route traffic lights. He’s doing what can only be described as the cocaine skank … a kind of happy sad side-to-side rocking, a shuffling of barefeet on uneven asphalt. He is singing a mostly incoherent song about Point Fortin.
He is one of a few doing the Croisée cocaine skank at 3 a.m. on a Friday morning. Looking for the next high alongside the Croisée rats running around the piles of rubbish looking for food.
I wonder who is more mad? The man dancing at the traffic lights or me for living in a place where we’re not even bothered by these apparitions.
The man doing the cocaine skank follows me home, a memory as potent as the smell of the Croisée’s magnificently stink canals.
Whether or not we add the cocaine, we’re all stuck at a traffic light doing a happy sad dance to a song whose words we have forgotten.
It is a love song for a place called home. That in the midst of the money and the rum and the wining and the crappy Hollywood TV and the bleached out daggerers from Jamaica we have forgotten.
Madness is the glue that holds this place together enough to fool us into thinking it isn’t falling apart.
We must surely all be mad to think that it’s okay for a country to operate like this.
This place is a smorgasbord of crazy. This is a melting pot of madness. You wonder how long it will take for you to begin to do the dance.
In City Gate at 9 a.m. a man greets exiting passengers with a full body rant. He’s doing his own version of the cocaine skank, with a touch of Christ thrown in for good measure.
There is a woman with no life in her eyes asking you a little help please.
We pass mad every day on our streets, in our offices.
Who wants to admit that they’re crazy? Certainly not me. I imagine that this madness is not affecting me. I imagine that it’s like the cloud over the La Basse that causes you to hold your breath. You hope the madness will just blow over. That it won’t take root in my lungs and stifle me slowly.
Mad people in the papers killing their wives. Mad politicians on the television raving about missing pianos. Mad soca men telling to go so and come back so, come up so and go down so.
Madness, though, is gladness. An acting out of the euphoria of living in a place so wealthy with possibility. We cackle and point at the crazies even as our own minds are stifled by fear and doubt and loathing.
We mad we mad we mad we mad. We more than mad. We are a lot worse off than regular old insanity. We passed mad about 10 years ago and are speeding on the way to I’m really not sure where.
We passed mad ten years ago when we were still convincing ourselves that poor people killing each other wasn’t our business. We passed mad more than ten years ago when we still thought it was okay to allow politicians to not be held accountable for their actions.
And then here comes the new sheriff in town who seems to have taken over Papa Patos in the megalomania department. The new sheriff in town is wanting to hide away the physical manifestations of the madness that all of us try not to succumb to everyday.
He collects them like garbage and dumps them in a place where we can’t see. And their madness comes back to haunt us like La Basse fog in the early hours of our fearful night hours. The stench threatens to stifle you.
Somebody used to refer to Trinidad and Tobago as that crazy colony. We lost the colony part but the crazy stuck around.
There’s no other explanation for why a place that is so richly blessed could be so tragically messed up.
And even if St. Ann’s were functional there wouldn’t be space enough for hold all of us. Not to mention treatment. How does a country so thoroughly unconvinced of its potential rise above that kind of endemic self-doubt?