May 3, 2010

Fiction: "The Constant Color of Suffering" by Garfield Ellis

The Constant Color of Suffering


Garfield Ellis

Her face fills the space of my TV screen; she is old ‐close to seventy, her eyes are red and barefaced, her lips cracked, the old tie‐head that crowns her unkempt graying strands is discolored by stale blood or red dirt; I cannot tell and it does not matter. Behind her is an unruly crowd shouting for justice; she faces the camera with angry resignation. “We want justice,” she echoes the cries of the crowd behind her. “We want justice.” Then she takes the stage all by herself. “We use to walk a night, now we can’t even go to church.” She is screaming now, her face broken into a million creases and indentations of anguish, desperation and yearnings of unfulfilled hope. “Me can’t cry no more, me can’t cry no more.” But I can tell she is crying, I can tell there are convulsions in her soul. “Me can’t cry no more,” She insists. “Me cry till me eye water done. Them kill me brother, them kill me two sons. Me can’t cry no more. Me no have no more eye water left.”

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About the author:

Garfield Ellis grew up in Jamaica, the eldest of nine children. He studied marine engineering, management and public relations in Jamaica and completed his Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Miami, on full scholarship as a James Michener Fellow.

He is a two-time winner of the Una Marson prize for adult literature; in the first instance for his first collection of short stories, Flaming Hearts(pub. 1997), and later for the still unpublished novel, Till I’m Laid To Rest. He has twice won the Canute A. Brodhurst prize for fiction (The Caribbean Writer, University of Virgin Islands) 2000 & 2005 and the 1990 Heinemann/Lifestyle short story competition.

Garfield is the author of four published books: Flaming Hearts , Wake RastaSuch As I Haveand For Nothing at All. His work has appeared in several international journals, including; Callaloo, Calabash, The Caribbean Writer, and Obsidian III. A fifth book, Till I’m Laid To Rest is due in Spring 2010.

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Gillena Cox said...

this excerpt is heart wrenching and reflects a writer passionate about the suffering around him

much love

Geoffrey Philp said...

Yes, and that's one of the reason why I love Garfield's work so much.