Part 1: Little Cayman
The highest elevation on Little Cayman Island
is forty feet above sea level
it’s not high enough to
hurt yourself if depressed
there are 170 permanent residents
on the island
all named Junior
as am I.
I am Junior
Of the three -— Junior and Chubby and Carmen -—
I am Junior
I am Junior also
Junior -— right here
We are all Junior.
We share the island with
the red-footed Booby
WE HAVE THE LARGEST
RED-FOOTED BOOBY POPULATION
in the Caribbean
The first sighting of Little Cayman Island
was by Christopher Columbus
May 10, 1503
My fourth (and final) voyage
we are blown off course by the wind
Ay -— an island, I will name it
Las Tortugas for the sea turtles
later the name will be changed to Las Caimanas
for the many caimans living there.
Caiman is Spanish for alligator.
I have never been to the Cayman Islands
Part 2: Junior Is Thinking
I am thinking about what moves me about the story
with the pieces
both presented as visual
how I need not find my way into it
there is no intersection for me
I did not go to the same high school
as these two Kim and Joan
how if I met someone simpatico
we might refer to each other this way:
we went to different high schools together.
That would be more accurate.
It’s the conversation recorded on the wall of the gallery
that draws me into the story
this ridiculous truth
the discipline of daily writing and
risk exposure vulnerability
what do we have in common?
Also the tropical vitality of the images
as I watch them while we are praying
the movement in the visual pieces
In the story -—
Layers of bad news
followed by -—
the desire for the physical
We intersect at inspiration
We talk someone paints someone dances
text and commentary
only here commentary precedes text then follows.
I’ve never actually been to the Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman
I am Junior only in my imagination and for the length of this poem
or while looking at these pictures
I am wondering why Cayman is spelled with a y and not an i
and did I push my way into this story
or did the story pull me in?
Part 3: So much cancer this week
Between visits and burials
poetry to ease night terror
the necessity to stay sunny
-— I read the shadow story in text
I draw the line at regurgitation
The celebration of survival
with conscience and awareness no awareness
I want to go scuba diving
and the memories that attach
I lost my skin
Making love moving into dancing
they go to the Cayman Islands
Can I go?
To the Caribbean —
named after the Caribs
dominant Amerindian people at the time of European contact
late 15th century
— gone now
in the West Indies
named by Columbus
knowing he had landed in paradise
thinking it was south Asia.
James Stone Goodman