Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Notes from the Gorilliphant Cage - Part I

Yes, Gorilliphant or Gorillaphant or any variation of Gorilla and Elephant.  That's an Austin Clarkeism that I found going through many of his letters today in the archives here in Ottawa.  Here are some good quips from the hybrid humanoid (everything is verbatim as written in his letters):

·         Letters from Austin Clarke to John Harewood: MG31, H144, Vol 1
o   Austin Clarke, November 5th, 1973, 5pm, The University of Texas at Austin, African and Afro-American Studies and Research Center:
§  “…When you spend half hour doing that, you does have to conclude that the Souff (sic) more better than…that Norff (sic).  When I look at Canada from this distance, I does have to laugh: Canada ain’ shite.  That is all I have to say regarding Canadians and Canada.
o   November 27th, 1973:
§  “I have nothing more to do with black people organization, and getting involved in them.  I consider women like Dorothy and the girl at the Black Education Project as dangerous human beings: I still think they operate from a Wessindian caste-syndrome perspective, over-compensating; over-spelling, over-identifying, and both o’ them fucking late to the struggle even in a moral way.  Dangerous-arse women, with no morals.”
§  Clarke on PM Barrow:
§  “Man, Barrow cool as shite, and I like he; with them bow-legs, and that shiny-black jacket with the dark grey trousers and the red tie, and the dark glasses man, and his head down to the rass-hole ground, heavy and overloaded with ideas and torts and other jurisprudentialisms (sic) and heavy matters o’contracks and pleas.  And not one (read this slow, and sweet, Harwood)… ‘not one rass-hole false-oath-tekker’ coulda tetch my man.”
o   February 9th, 1974:
§  Clarke on African vs Black vs Barbadian:
§  “I is one man who godblindyou don’t give too much o’ going back there, or linking up too much with Africa, cau (sic) I feel, be-Christ, that them Africans don’t like me, and never did have a good bone in their heart in regards o’ me, and people like me.”
§  “That kind of talk may surprise you, but is true.  I are not even a black man.  I is a fucking Barbadian.  Now, there might be certain ins and outs in-between me being a Barbadian that mel (sic) me also into a black man and a Africanated brand of man, too; but that as it may.  I can’t talk one African word: I ain’ know Watusi, Yoruba, Gai, nor nothing so.  The onliest language I knows is Barbadian, and I trying like shite to speak and write that better than anybody else.  Yuh see muh?”
§  ***Gorilliphant***
o   10pm, March 10th, 1976, St. Michael, Barbados, the West Indies:
§  “It is rather a cruel and sick attitude to the Barbadian who has spent some time abroad, and who has come home for whatever reason.  I think the feeling is derived from the history of the former colonial days whenthe (sic) only person who came to Barbados, without having been born here was the white Englishman; and Barbadians who have a remarkable sense of recollection, becomes disappointed in the depth of his psyche that the man who suddenly returns is not the white man the man who appeared the first time on the scene.  Barbadians are not disposed to exchanging the black man for the white man.  You should not be surprise at this.  It goes right through the fabric of society.  And you know whether I have been successful in my fight against all kinds of racialism or not, that I could not put up with such a chronic sickness.  The most depraved of this disease can be seen in the relationship of the brown-skin people to the black-skin people…Barbados is sick.”
§  “Here only the vegetation is real.  And we never like people to refer to us in that metaphor, so far as our minds are concerned.  But here in Barbados, Harewood, the only real thing is the fucking vegetation.” 

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