Hoo Doo Interests

     Written by Allison Whittenberg 
     Illustrated by Vanessa Bell 

     Est. Reading Time: 1 min 

MaMa Fontaine stirs gumbo in a big rusty pot
telling me that joy is squashing a pregnant roach.
She is a jailbird,
an ex-lounge singer,
and a literary agent (who won't sign me).
She wonders if it is just some quirk
or does insanity truly run parallel to our family.

I count the sky's stars under a non-tropical
night on Harriet Island, but I am reminded of nothing.

PaPa Fontaine shoots his mouth off
like a blind man with a pistol.
Yakking about some cataclysmic battle,
lying about being John...St. Kits... Wayne,
the outlaw Cowboy of the Caribbean.
A sea lion land-locked, he is presently unemployable.

He longs to go back to his island,
but MaMa is too Americanized to get with that.

The criminal glam that they were both in.
The corrosive anti-culture.
A self-stroking soul world.
A milling population of pimps and chippies.
Con men and preachers.
Matriarchs and gaudy prophets.

A neo hoo doo manifesto that is not in the travel brochures.

Tourist only ride the tame horses.
They honeymoon at the Holiday Inn
where the sky meets the sea.
They say "How about that bobsled team... Ha Ha."
Yet, my folks will never go back to Jamaica
   and make it their own.



Published March 10, 2021
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Author’s Bio
Allison Whittenberg is a Philadelphia native who has a global perspective. If she wasn’t an author she’d be a private detective or a jazz singer. She loves reading about history and true crime. Her other novels include Sweet Thang, Hollywood and Maine, Life is Fine, Tutored and The Sane Asylum.

Artist’s Bio
I’m a digital illustrator based in London and I started Aziza Illustrates in 2018 as a result of not being able to easily access products and artwork featuring people of colour. I incorporate a range of bold, large shapes bright colours and digital collage within my artwork to convey a story or message.
︎ @azizaillustrates ︎azizaillustrates.com


︎Philadelphia, PA
Plantin Magazine ©2020