Love, Death and Poetry
(Memories of former US Army Sgt. Julius Carl St. Rose)
More than three decades ago a young man left the shores of Dominica, a country he loved so dearly for opportunity, a future in the USA. Carl St. Rose was one of the first Dominicans I knew who received a 'multiple indefinite' visa. For many youths at that time this was gold as thousands left particularly after Hurricane David.
Well, this departure by Carl, as almost everyone in Dominica called him, was not one out of desperation but one of adventure and opportunity as David had long passed. He left having been just called to duty by the national football team as one of the best midfield players on island .He was a tall, lanky, a hard kicking-left or right attacking midfielder who more than occasionally scored for Saints or Gramacademites (combined youthful talents of the Dominica Grammar School and the St. Mary's Academy).
Carl was a must in any penalty kick off and a more than capable 800 hundred metre runner in his time.
He was known among his peers as one with an aptitude for figures; he was funny and jovial but one who detested exploitation from, or to, anyone far less himself. And so, he voluntarily left his job citing exploitation by his then employer. He left as Junior Table Tennis Champion and all, and eventually became a "Soldier in America"
That black consciousness was kindled as he witnesses firsthand the pretentions and treatment of his kind and eventually began to make mental notes and a latent poetry emerged while his Facebook friends and associates took note.
Black like smoke
Captured and beaten and to the mainland bound
Scattered unto forbidden ground
Always a messenger
Whose strength in words can't last forever
A signal for help, a signal of distress
A signal to an end to this filthy mess
Yet, you will always find that open vent
and represent the aftermath of money spent....(he smoked it)
Slowly moving, deliberate
you rise above to that open gate
Unity, I hope and daily pray
you'll find in black, white and shades of gray
And like the burning flame which is its cause
So let the challenge guide you to...get what's yours!
And he did get what was his, as he expresses in this next piece-though haunting questions still linger.
HOW CAN I LOVE YOU?
As a sister, a brother, a mother of nine?
As a girlfriend, a lover, a wife who is blind?
As a friend, do we find a reason for sex
Then shoot to a climax and wonder what's next
Is it measured, is it tested, is it tasteful for you?
Is it doubtful, is it certain, is it false, is it true?
How can I???
Can I stop it, can i break it can make it last long?
Is it withered, is it shaken by the weak or the strong?
In yours ways, do you feel the need to convert
Are the doors of my heart open to hurt?
How can I?
In my life, do I strive to give it the best
Or in death, do I give it the ultimate test?
His ultimate test came as a husband, a father and now, an army veteran who is fast pursuing his doctoral studies in mathematics. His work with inner city youth in New York has yielded dividends through a private tutorship programme for which he has been sought after, albeit on a small scale, because of his passionate and uniquely philosophical approach.
Carl has seen it all; love, death in the battle fields and now, his poetry. He reflects on his service, not in defense of the goal of his Saints goalkeeping brother 'Chinee' at the Windsor Park, but this time in satirical reflection of his service to Uncle Tom, while I, his bigger brother, like you, read on.
Soldier in America
You are welcome! But am not! I served you right without fuss or fight
While you dedicated your life to showing your might
I dare you, I dare you, I double double dare
To utter a word ... not of despair but fair to the table at which I served
In uniform I defend till none can compare
But the apron released brought pain that I share
Now job well done, the patrons had fun
But my walk home is uncertain and deadly as much
I was welcomed....
But, now am not!
Over nine years kept service
And my tables kept clean
The drinks came with honor for the soul dear within
The sergeant at work got closer to dirt
And the soul oh so dear was subjected to hurt
Your franchise I followed to Korea and back
Germany extended its heart to my heart
And why did I keep serving the food that you eat??
Well, comrades outweigh the racist you pick