Sint Maarten (for —)
The Blue Bitch Bar, on the boardwalk
behind Front Street, Philipsburg,
was where we read, Friday night,
during the Book Fair --
dogs chased kids on Segways
a band played Third World classics
waitress gave me the wireless password --
patrons were polite
writers applauded each other,
and you reminded me of someone I loved,
and who loved me
45 years ago.
“Casino country” said a friend,
and downtown, lining narrow cobbled streets,
jewellery stores everywhere, their elderly women
who get a tip if you enter and buy --
a yellow antique car decorates Old Street
Indian shops offer deals on saris and ipads,
and back at the book tables, you sign faith
for a young one who believes
in more than cruise-ship terminals --
but we can’t go back, you and I
to undivided lives, to love as seminal
as pelicans browsing uninvaded shallows.
At Boundary Monument, driving to Marigot
Shujah points the flag of the independence movement
for a united St. Martin
no more French lagoon, or Dutch salt pond,
a mosaic “island of dreams”, multi-national, multi-lingual
cosmopolitan Caribbean --
I didn’t see enough
of bay-embraced quartiers and small hills
to measure the fantasy,
like bridging the points
between archived nostalgia
and relentless vague desire.
John R. Lee
Saint Lucian writer, broadcaster, teacher, Bible preacher John R. Lee has a recent publication, Collected Poems: 1975-2015, from Peepal Tree. Click here to learn more.
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