13 December 2012

"Nine for Two" ~ Hiáli NeX (1992)




Gale force winds swirled in from the east as if on beckoned call.  In the distant southern horizon, Hel emerged from Hades’ abyss.  Her dark column of power coalesced and stood in stark contrast to the calm twilight sky.  With an inexorable vortex of rushing emotion, she appeared in full regalia off the coast of western Jamaica and maneuvered her massive steed towards Cuba.  That night would belong to a nightmarish Carib spawn; wielding a bow in her right hand and an arrow in the left.

Hurricane gusts swirled around violently; rushing in like a barrage of restless sky sentinels, ready to peel away at an unprepared humanity.  In deliberate, sweeping gestures- incessant winds wrapped the iridescent full moon in a blustery, bluish cloak of mourning.  100-mph winds tightly stitched threads of dense and humid fog into a meandering tapestry of dark blue tropical fury.

It would only be a matter of time before Luna would be overcome; gasping a final exhale behind increasingly-whipping rains.  Any goodness that had bloomed in the past twelve hours of light had quickly succumbed to an endless trail of patchwork grey and blackened clouds; brought to anger by a howling torrent of monsoon strength winds.


La Habana de Cuba
20th September 1948

 




Kíno sat in pensive silence by the ocean’s edge.  His ankles dug the balls of his feet into the quickly moving sand.  He internalised the pendulum motion of his feet through an unblinking stare; etching it deeply within the concave slate of his mind.

The loneliness turned his mental state into a complete tabula rasa- upon which an intense, festering emotion drew itself in a seemingly chaotic and haphazard style; scribed into memory by twirling tornados of driving wind and rain.

The push-and-pull nature of the moon tugged at him from behind the veil of approaching storm.  Kíno’s thought energy fell into sync with the incoming waves of seawater that frothed and spread all over his work-worn feet. 

“Such a relief!”  He imagined.

But, the water receded even faster than it had come in.  Like Tantalus, Kíno did not enjoy the feeling for long.  His spirit ebbed and flowed in responce to the rawness of Nature’s beautiful and dynamic energy.

Snaps and bursts of cyclonic air punctuated Kíno’s lament. 

“I was loyal.  You were hungry.
We were made for each other.”

 



The colibrí no longer danced and dived over cushions of swirling flows created by warm, sweet tropic air.

Instead, rows upon rows of diminutive hummingbirds huddled together in an all most quiet obscurity; their observant eyes fixated on the distant funnel of ominous energy that cut across the horizon with massive torque.  They remained hushed in wait.

Low-hanging clouds betrayed their inconspicuousness; reflecting upon their clear blackened orbs like a ragtag army of illumined spectres feverishly racing across the Havana night sky.

Even from beneath large leaves where no predator existed, the excited chorus of the tiny colíne frogs fell silent.

Natural retribution was in the air that night; a force so thick one could cut it with a knife.  Somewhere in the ”One”, a watchful butterfly had moved the air with its wings; inadvertently directing intent. 

“She’s upon us.”  Kíno caught the sound as it came within earshot. 

The storm moved with the confidence of Judge, Jury and Executioner- all at the same time.  Psychopomps rushed in on the crests of incoming waves.  They danced and glid over choppy waters; disseminating in every possible direction, driven by powerful rivulets of torment energy.

Darkness was kept at bay by the hazy street lamps that dimly lit the city; their unwavering flicker close to being extinguished by waves that continually crashed against the esplanade wall. 

Kíno peered into the darkness of the harbour just in time to see psychopomps slipping quickly into the comfort of shadows; lying in wait for that right moment when they could leap forward and snatch up those who dared to wander too close to the edge of themselves. 

Kíno sat like an immovable rock upon the ever-shifting wet sands; environmentally serenaded by the tempest.  Effervescent bubbles streamed in and broke over Kíno’s partially-rooted feet.

The inebriated voice of his ex-woman wafted clear over the silence of an empty beach and right over the Malecón wall.  So many years of hearing her beautiful voice every morning allowed Kíno to pick out her every unique inflection over the din of a crowd

After every punch line, crystal glasses clinked against pouring rum bottles.  Miladys’ sensually-laden laughter underscored every dry, witty joke that her newfound sugar daddy, Dwight Singleton, managed to crack.  No one would ever suspect he was heir to a vast sugar empire; all kinds of sugar, including the bronze kind.  Gambling and coloured women: that was the icing on Singleton’s cake.

It didn’t matter that he was a “married-with-two-kids” Evangelical conservative from the U.S. South.  Singleton was out in La Habana ensuring his stake at the centre of his “Golden Circle” dreams.  His pompous manner harked back to the glorious KGC plantation years; a time when secessionist dreams were led by a “people-as-property” mentality. 

Miladys had “whore” status.  Money made it not look as banal.  Her skin may very well have been green, instead of the beautiful sun-kissed wheat colour she’d been blessed with.

Cuba was Singleton’s backyard; an island whose inability to master the English language made people like him feel exclusively superior.  Ninety miles of water kept a comfortable distance from those not included due to historical imposition.  Even the outgoing President, Dr. Ramón Grau, was a good friend of his, until Singleton saw a more lucrative relationship with Batista; now Grau’s sworn enemy.

It was all about the investment.  Such was power; a feast, save for the very Cubans these politicians and militarists were supposed to represent.  There was no democracy.  No one had a voice in his or her government, except the government.

Exclusivity.  State repression. 

Kíno remembered the way he lost the deed to the very club he had built for Miladys; now deep in Singleton’s harem of casino dandies.  She had become his tempting mulatress every time he chose to escape his beloved unsuspecting wife in the States. 

“I saw a Queen.” Kíno thought.

The glimmering expanse of sea spread further around Kíno.  As it dissipated into flattened, foamy-white clouds, the sizzling coolness of the sound it made filled the air with a strange uncertainty.  The night was about to bare its teeth.

Kíno looked up just in time to see Miladys cross the balcony in the distance.  As she slinked one hand along the marble banister, the other hand snapped open a Spanish fan with her usual arrogant display of pride.  Her perfectly timed feminine movements worked attention upon well-tailored European garments and lye-straightened Castilian hair. 

“Can a lie ever be straightened?”

Kíno quietly tousled a curly lock in thought. 

“It can become truth.”  He imagined. 

In this church of Carnivalesque, parishioners wore their masks of falsity with pride.  Kíno recalled how the pretty young female he’d met at Carnavál would herself be wearing a mask: large and elaborate enough to cover up all the manipulated perplexity caused by her incredibly wile-full ways.

In Cuba, people would still mix and mingle socially; rules never stopped people’s natural sense of freedom, natural sense of love.

Politically, that was something else.

Foreigners who arrived had exploiting interests.  Cuba’s sovereignty went from Spain, to the U.S. with clauses.  The wall of resentment was built to last, it seemed.

This didn’t stop Kíno nor would it break him.  He was still a man of pride and distinction.  This was how he was taught to carry himself in this world. 

Mainland north American businesses and entertainment establishments set rules that forbade entry to any non-“White” person; a term that denoted superficial distinction. Since the only relationship known for centuries was basically between slave owner and slave, there would be no need to get to know just how human different ethnic groups were to each other.

It never stopped him from pushing forward his trade.  He went far.  Having worked in machinery helped him understand his purpose.  In this paradigm he managed his business. 

“Maferefun Ogun.” Kíno exclaimed.

Native and African people were classed away as an oppressed worker community; their sole purpose was to serve the upper echelons of U.S. society.  Entertainers were excused as long as they kept a comfortable distance from tourist patrons. 

Kíno had been ejected many a time for not seeing the “wall”. 

“Never once in my eyes.” He thought. 

Kíno looked up towards the many businesses up and down la Quinta Avenida; many still open despite the harsh, inclement weather. 

“Only my hands.” 

He was the oxcart merchant whose property was snatched up by a bunch of hungry and mischievous children determined to run off with more than several handfuls of ganips. 

Kíno’s weathered hands suffered intensely to raise the walls that now housed the mocking laughter.  The nightclub was his, one bad business deal ago; the jewel in his machine business crown. 

Kíno wondered how she felt when they made love.  He tried not to think about it, but the thoughts beat him over the head like the pounding wind that raced about. 

“Did she feel me every time he stroked her??” 

He sensed ridicule even if no one was actually laughing at him.  It cut loudly through his confidence.  Perhaps, it was from the twenty million times he had been called “barbarous”“uncivilised”“sub-human”.  Or, maybe, from all the unspoken looks these mainland Americans gave him; like he was a criminal or a murderer. 

Kíno all ways conducted business on good faith.

Before, one might be able to buy their way out of poverty; oral agreements seemed to only work when a person resembled the colour of yucca root, or something close to it. 

“Whiteness” and “Otherness” carried the weight of a history of Conquest.  This became “their” world and “we” were just in it. 

Kíno knew she wanted his possessions.  One thing was certain: their sudden separation caused Kíno a great deal of anger.  But, a good man like Kíno could not bear to exact revenge.  Still, the taunts did not cease echoing around in his miserable mind.  He wanted Miladys to understand that his pain was real.

Like a dark Narcissus, Kíno gazed unblinkingly into that one clear pool of calm water within his own mind.  His angry face managed to reflect back the beauty of his soft rounded features, at least in his higher mind.

His lower mind had a “Dance of Fire” whirling around in his head; clouding his judgment.  Despite the truth of beauty reflected, all he could perceive was the misery. 

Kíno dug his weather-beaten hand into the sand and pulled up a fistful.  His mind raced into thoughts of his ancestors.

As he spread his fingers apart letting the sand fall through, every grain, every falling clump seemed to gain a life of its own; reflecting each and every moment that he loved this vixen named “Miladys”.

His open hand crushed itself; stopping the free-fall of sand. 

“Dignidad”.

Kíno slowly raised his head to catch some of the rushing air.  He needed to feel that there was someone up in the sky to shine down on him now. 

He had all ways shunned the idea of any type of Deity.  Zealots made it all seem wasteful.  Kíno was about Life.  But, he needed a focal point for him to reveal all the pent-up stress within. 

“Stay with me.”  He wondered if anyone… or anything… heard him.

At that moment, the sky parted its plasma and released a jagged bolt of lightning that struck at a palm tree far off in the distant grove.  Kíno suddenly felt a power of synchronicity with Olodumare, the name Doña Ayála gave to the invisible energy; the “owner of the fabric of space and time”.

After several flashes of rolling thunder, a bolt of lightning came shrieking from the wind-streaked heavens and dropped its particle in the plaza.  Its rushing and jagged intensity caused it to sear a path through the wood pulp of a huge Ceiba tree on its way down into the bowels of the Earth. 

Kíno felt more awe than fear.  This seemed to be all the assurance he needed.

It had been sealed. 

Kíno’s trip to Doña Ayála’s home in Matanzas earlier that day had just proved fruitful.  She “conjured up a storm” for him, as she put it. 

Doña Ayála, a skilled Obeah woman taught in the ways of her Jamaican Ciguayo mother, prepared two small cloth dolls fashioned in the images of Miladys and Singleton.  She saw the wrong being done and agreed to hasten the justice needed in order to correct it.

Doña Ayála was a beautiful woman around 80 years of age.  Time had been very kind to her.  She looked not much older than 50.  Her efficient manner kept the sides of her long, luxurious hair pinned back, away from any meddling with her craft; a craft dedicated only to helping correct the imbalanced energies good people often faced.

Her modus operandi: “Darkness of Spirit” could only be dispelled with “Light”.

It was good enough for Kíno who did not subscribe to animal sacrifice for the resolution of something so obvious.  His opinion contrasted many of the priests who believed in manipulating life energy with pacts of blood.  Doña Ayála had, instead, fixed some “Light” energy onto a pair of sympathetic objects.  It was a ritual for re-alignment. 

.oOo.oOo. 

The winds pounded the waves, bringing huge storm surges into the harbour.

At the cemetery Kíno had placed both effigies by an empty and open grave, as per Doña Ayála‘s instructions.  He searched deep within his lint-filled pocket for nine pennies; throwing them effortlessly onto the hallowed ground.  His gaze fixed upon the dolls that now lay haphazardly on the unearthed ground. 

“Your will be done.”

Doña Ayála’s opias baptism seemed to have bestowed life upon the dolls.  They writhed and squirmed as the voices of Miladys and Singleton slipped through pockets of pealing wind.

Leaves wisped over them as if to close the pact. 

Kíno’s mind shifted focus to the sharp, minute sounds of a crackling matchstick.  The dancing flame on the tip of the penny candle heightened in intensity.

In the flicker of the candle’s shadow, the faces of the dolls appeared alive, if only for a minute.  Eventually, dark shadows dominated and obscured.

Water filled the grave and overwhelmed the well-crafted poppets.  The purging of his “darkness” had now begun. 

Kíno could all most hear their screams in the distance this unforgiving night.  His heart remained unfazed, though.  There was perhaps a flicker of concern, but his memories made him unwavering. 

“To evil its own.” He thought. 

Kíno’s face relaxed.  The kindled flame danced no more 

.oOo.oOo.oOo. 

No one knows what had become of Miladys, or Singleton, after that fateful night.  According to the town’s folk, they had simply disappeared; left their business unattended.

Some had said their boat capsized in the late September hurricane; their drunk bodies lost at sea.  Others claimed they were victims of a deal gone bad; murdered by some disgruntled patron. 

Kíno felt free from the fear that had gripped him for so long.  The weight had finally been removed and he would soon come into the so-called “Light” himself.  He received all of his property through the courts again; much of the corruption left behind by Singleton worked to his advantage.

Could it really have been Doña Ayála’s help that spun the compass back in his direction again?  He would never really know at this point.

It didn’t matter, though.  Miladys and Singleton quickly became a vague memory; claimed by evil forces of their own making.  Forces that made their way onto shore that fateful September night and took them away; out into the sea. 


copyright 1992
SoulChango Ink
WGA-East Registered