“Carnival Charivari” by GIlberte O’Sullivan

Carnival Charivari

Play that hard wine music
that vulgar serenade
that brassy horn upbraid
Sing us an extempo ditty
A tale of jangled fidelity

Beat that pan with
a tan tan tan
‘til it bad like mancrab

We like it so.


“I running this pappy show”
The finest feathered one contends
when they ask in pandemonium
For her to prance for them once
and once again she swears
the bossman will
bring a dress and a shoes
Miami zapats for the Christmas.


I have a wife who exceeds opinion
and all manner of expectation
Minds the children, does the wares
For her, there’s no hellfire to fear.
But my mind’s weak
My head aches from the noise
Behold, my lovely chickadee
Mistress of deafening beauty
I taking licks for thee.


Rain-o-rama downpour sin,
wife and jammette can’t live
under the same tin
All this, all this, from small I know
Play on maestro
this charlatan charade
this cacophonic raid
Fire burn, ash tomorrow


Beat that pan
with a tan tan tan

for all o’ mankind strayed
this mockery parade
Nuts eating, pan beating
Ole ‘mas melee
From break of jouvay


Cause trouble while you can

Beat that pan
With a tan tan tan
‘til it kills us dead

Blow your bullhorn boy-blue
When better can’t come,
worse must continue
one day to play
one day to pay
one day one day Congotay
Sans humantie.

Gilberte O’Sullivan is a writer and poet from Trinidad. She has recently published work online in Small Axe Salon and previously in Moko‘s special edition “Firing the Canon.” Gilberte is currently pursuing an MFA in Fiction Writing.