MOSTLY LATE IN June, mostly, when elderly flamboyas tie their heads with scarves of red flowers, or when I’ve slowed enough to stop and notice things samsungish priced “do not touch,”  my gazes drift to social sculpture and loiter like the shadows soft art-gallery lighting cannot easily forget. What better way to grow old and accepting than in these one-man viewings where, in aching intimate despair, you either probe the wrinkles this dude change digs into your skin like your grave, or try your best to tease meaning from those rough-edged grooves he chisels so knowingly into moods forever in progress?

Tilting my mind increasingly towards why, I note the deeper language in his unfinished pieces. I hate, almost instinctively, the incessant style of strife he sets between light and shadow in these closed spaces called islands.  Spare me the weird hardness of finding self among this tropical overgrowth of denim. Loose this annoying scarcity of catching a green lizard reading your ailments from a branch of Neem.

But that’s the exquisite genius of him—that loner, hunched in deep neurosis, carving and scraping the mind of stone. Who else, stricken, totally reshapes schemas into breaths of fresh air, or stretches a single thought as vast as the sky at dawn?

Who’s this he, whose art so disciplined in moment, so ruthlessly now, launches our consciousness far beyond the point of soaring? Or is it…a she?


Kerry Belgrave is a poet, artist and teacher. He has received the James Millington Award for Excellence in Music (1994), the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Excellence in Literature (2004), the Kamau Brathwaite Award for Excellence in Poetry (2004, 2013), and the Frank Collymore Literary Award (2011).