Coppertone

Sarah Manley

When I was a child I was not allowed to suntan. My grandmother told me it would make me throw up. It’s true I did throw up a lot. If I ate pork or went for a long car drive in the back seat of her 1974 Triumph with the sticky hot brown seats. The smell of liquid Gravol still makes me retch, I so closely associate it with waves of sick. The sun tanning thing though was a bone of contention. Before I went outside to the saltwater pool at our country house in Discovery Bay, she would lather me in Coppertone lotion from the green top bottle. It was my bottle. The lotion was thick and white. The other kids would already have chosen sides in Marco Polo by the time I got to the pool. They didn’t need lotion, weren’t forced to use it by their own mothers who were covered in the oily orange top Coppertone. Hell, they could use baby oil if they wanted, but not me. I stamped impatiently while the cream was rubbed into every exposed inch of flesh.  At 11 am sharp I had to come out of the sun.  The midday sun was the worst so between eleven and three I was not allowed in the pool or on the beach. I accepted this all as fact for a long time although I wondered why the other kids did not have such strict rules. It was the throwing up,  apparently. 

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Politics Time

Karen Bumi Marks

My father kept the plan for his dream house rolled up in a cardboard tube in the dresser in his bedroom. Blue ink lines with numbers on thin white paper, every time he pulled it out to show me, Daddy always said, “The foolish man builds his house on sand, but the wise man builds his house on rock.” It was his favorite quote from the Bible. Looking at it was boring, but his voice would rise and fall with excitement as he showed you the length of every wall in the house, the size of every room and closet. It was going to be split level and we were all going to have our own bathroom. Daddy had the house all mapped out; he just needed the land to build it on.

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Pressure Cooking

Tiffany Walton

If you don’t have an entire day to spare, then you need a pressure cooker to cook goat, oxtail or cow foot. You have to wash the meat good first. Water and vinegar, and if it’s fish, you use lime juice. We don’t concern ourselves with what the Americans say about washing meat. Mi neva meet ah island person weh tek sick over food poisoning or washing meat yet. Now you season: salt, black pepper, whole garlic and onion, all-purpose seasoning, onion powder, thyme, pimento, scallion. Don’t put too much oil. Wait until the pot gets hot before you put the meat it. You see the light smoke, it’s hot now. Put everything in. Give it a good stir. Now put the warm water in. We always have trouble finding this knob. Make sure the pot is on the stove good. Now you leave it alone on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. The pressure takes at least 10 minutes to build. There is heat. Steam. Air hissing. Pressure. All right, time to turn off the heat. Let it sit. It’s taking too long to quiet, so you have to pull the knob to release the air.  Continue reading “Pressure Cooking”

Turn Up the Volume

Leniqueca Welcome

“Turn Up the Volume” is an essay containing three digital photo collages, each paired with excerpts from interviews collected during my ethnographic fieldwork. The piece is part of a larger anthropological project that experiments with ways to enlist the visual to unsettle our complacency with spectacular and everyday forms of oppression and violence waged against populations racialized, classed, gendered and sexed as “other”.  However, this work does not merely attend to technologies of dominance and their effects, but also to the quotidian ways people refuse conscription and exceed limits.

The digital photographs I manipulate in these collages were all taken in the Morvant/Laventille area of East Port of Spain, Trinidad (popularly referred to as “Laventille”) in 2106 and 2017.  Laventille is a dynamic geographical region within Trinidad and Tobago. It comprises several intra-related mixed-income communities on the eastern periphery of the capital city Port of Spain. Laventille has had a longstanding history of marginalization. From its inception in the nineteenth century as a refuge for the formerly enslaved and landless, it was racialized as black and marked as a depressed and potentially threatening space.

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The Sun

Jannine T. Horsford

Days here when the sun doesn’t shine – it drenches.

Today I walk from the Small Gate

across Streatham Lodge Road under a sun doling out
heat like a tap turned on: a hot pumping revenge.

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The Sky Has Not Changed

Nigel Assam

Further from Empire than my predecessors,
this language I use is mine too.
The same sea they saw
I have seen, and felt too,
in the same way, its familiar salt stinging
in the same wind crossing from the horizon
they saw, its line traced by my eyes
the way theirs followed it too. A wave
is still called a wave and still sounds like a wave
and the Caribbean by any other name
is not the Caribbean. The chaconia
is still called chaconia, and blossoms
and sprays its vermilion each August
in time for Independence Day
and its parade curling through streets.
The sky has not changed.
History is bliss.


A Boston University Creative Writing Graduate, I was born and raised in Trinidad until the age of fourteen, when I emigrated with my parents and sisters to the United States. I have lived in the USA for 30 years and currently reside in Baltimore, MD where I work as a realtor.