Sunday, April 23, 2017


There are two towns named Friendship in the hills of Jamaica.

One Friendship is where the fried chicken is, a little stop-and-go where you smell the chicken frying from a mile off on the Junction Road that takes you to Kingston. On the road back at night you might see a rock-stone, as they say, burst into flame. I saw it happen once.

The other friendship is even more mysterious. If you go there and meet Mrs. Pet, you will have your palm read like a newspaper and she will call the saints and re-balance your brain and you will go home hungry and sane, and you will see duppies and mermaids.

Some years ago I left my heart in Jamaica. I left it in the hills of St. Mary, the same Parish where Zora Neale Hurston left her heart so long ago. She said St. Mary was "... the very best place to be in all the world."

Sometimes I smell the fried chicken of Friendship and see the candles of Mrs. Pet burning in the darkness, and I wonder how many friendships there are in the world, too many to count, like the numberless stars, like the saints of the night, like the peenywallies of a summer eve winking on the night breeze, like the salt crystals of the sea at Blue Harbour, like Mike Gleeson's endless stories, Sweet-Sweet's songs, Mr. Denzil's coffees and sugars, Roy's hugs, Mackie's deep voice, Raggy's ragged laughter high on the top of Firefly hill where Noel Coward once blew his blue smoke within sight of the coastline and the John Crow Mountains.

Ah, but once you have lived in Jamaica, Friendship is always coming into port, no matter where you are or what you are doing. Friendship, a town in the heartland of the heart.

Shadow box by Mariah Fox