You know what it says on my old man’s gravestone? It a Keats quote, well, part of one, it says, “There is nothing stable in the world; uproar’s your only music.” It was him all over.
I never met him. All I have is that quote from his grave and his writing, and I have quite a collection of that. Oh, and a half sister that I only discovered a few years ago. He wrote a lot, it was what he did, he was a writer. A lot of it was crap, a lot of angry rantings about not being black and a semi-decent novel that only got, and only deserved, one pressing. He wrote it when he was 25 and I never put pen to paper until I was in my forties, so I guess I shouldn’t be too harsh on him for that.
He was a fantastic bullshitter. As was his father and his father before him and as am I, I come from a long line of great bullshitters. He told everyone that his old man was the editor of the Gleaner (Jamaica’s biggest newspaper). I tell everybody that too – complete crap of course.
Even though I never met him, I can feel him in me, his genes, his personality, pump through my veins. A lot of people didn’t like my dad, and I don’t blame them. He could be a real dick and was a cunt to women at times.
I try to be liked and say things and do things that will make people like me. He didn’t. He didn’t give a flying fuck what people thought about him and I so envy him. I think about the freedom that must come with that, to say what you really feel and not care what anyone says or feels.
I only visited his grave once. It needed cleaning, so I did, and I said “I guess this is as close as we’ll ever get then?” Then I sprinkled some poppy seeds, not just on his grave but all over the cemetery and left.