Flying to the side
No one gets hurt
You’re doing nothing wrong
Slide your hand
Jump off the end
The water’s clear and innocent
The water’s clear and innocent
They scream for Optimus Prime in Globe. In a way that I have never heard screaming before for a superhero. As if he being a machine means they can feel unbridled love for him. He has no human flaws. He is not prone to moments of doubt like the rest of us. There is a cautionary tale hidden away in this Transformers 3, past the pyromaniac porn and the distracting beauty of that pointless heroine who miraculously manages to make it through the entire film with flawless make-up and unbroken heels.
Can you transform yourself? Or are you stuck in a cinema wishing that you could? Oh the noise is deafening in Globe. The joy of people who are easily entertained. And while I am a non-believer and take a dim view to this kind of cinematic lack of script and weak soundtrack, even I find myself making tanka-lanks at the screen. For Optimus Prime. For Bumblebee. The humans are unnecessary. The machines are the real stars. In that willing suspension of disbelief there is something to save us from ourselves. From all the self-fulfilling prophesies of being young and black in Trini-dad. We love those moments of transformation. We love his sleek big truck and trailer. Bumblebee is the real scenes, all black and yellow and sexy one minute and big and powerful and menacing the next.
Meanwhile in Chaguaramas, Trinis can’t seem to fly. Their crafts fail, fall into the sea, cannot soar above the bay for more than 30 feet. Sinking like the body of Nicho-las Simmons into Yemoja’s deep blue embrace. We cannot transform it seems, from our wining selves into beings who can fly. We spend a lot of time on the performance but not on the actual mechanics of flight. This is no Mr Uncle Minsh studying the physics of the Bat man to make Callaloo dance tic tac toe down the river. Oh no, this is shiny mas with feathers that do not, cannot fly. We. Us here in these islands seem to have one way of being. Even the Carnival is no longer a point of transformation for us anymore. So now we need new superheroes to do it for us. To do the transformations so that we can sit back and watch. You have to be brave to transform yourself. You have to know yourself to be able to transform yourself. Flying is for others. We will never learn to fly here. And in Globe men scream for Bumblebee transforming himself, to save America, land we love. The air is electric with the stench of their own inability to transform. Into Trinis who can fly. Who can rise above class and race para-digms. But this has been bred out of us. We are machines of parties. We, like Optimus Prime , believe in a race of beings that will not save us.
I wonder why Optimus Prime chose to fight for the humans? In a way Sentinel Prime is right. Humans are an ignorant stupid race. We are naturally predisposed to notions of colonisation, enslavement, oppression of races of people based on who has the per- ceived powe. So we can do it to each other but it’s not acceptable when it’s someone from another planet. Like it’s okay for PNM to disenfranchise African people but the People’s Partnership is somehow far less justified, because they’re mostly Indians. In this non-movie realm, only politicians have the power to transform. From being for the people to doing their best work against them. From working for the greater good to ensuring the security of the wealthy few. The rest of us hiss and boo from the audience, screaming our anguish at the screen. But they can’t hear us and we can’t get to them. Balcony vibrates and I am for a minute concerned that if something happens I will be trapped up here. There is no emergency evacuation plan. No one to save me from drowning in a sea of bodies. But I chose this. You can’t play mas and fraid powder.
Enjoy it. This feeling of insecurity. Like a whole-day fete in the traffic. To see people who do not, cannot fly.
The good side always wins in the end. In the movies anyway. I wonder who the good side is on this side of the silver screen. Good people are dying. Good people are stuck in traffic jams for hours. Good people get their homes flooded. Good people are robbed and raped and killed everyday. Good people’s children drown. Sentinel Prime is the badjohn police profiling your son. Sentinel Prime is the Ministry of National Security always coming up with some next scheme to save this country from crime. Sentinel Prime is a show called Crime Watch wallowing in the tragedies of families to make one man feel like a hero. Sentinel Prime is a state-run organisation charging you for a security service when the police don’t have enough resources. No one transforms for the greater good. No one transforms to save this place. All we have is Decepticons for leaders. And people who do not, cannot fly.