My name is Gene O.D. Wilkes, known as Wilbur by many of my friends from college days.
Age: 59 years old, born bred and grown in San Fernando with brief sojourns in Point Fortin and Belmont during my childhood.
Educated at various primary schools and Presentation College San Fernando ( 1952 - 1958). Later (1968 - 1970) did a Teacher's Diploma at Naparima Teachers' College . This was an inservice training while I was a non graduate teacher at St Benedict's College, La Romaine.I returned to St Benedict's and taught Art and Spanish there until I resigned in 1980 to become a self employed graphic artist / screen printer.I am still enjoying reasonable success in this vocation, working at home, flexible hours, in control of what I do and for whom.

Married to Margaret (nee Pena) since 1963 ; we have four children, two boys and two girls. I have always enjoyed using words creatively, and being a true true Trini find kaiso to be a natural medium of expression. But doh ask me to perform on stage... Ah fraid toilet paper! So when people congratulate me on my "poetry" I tell them I prefer to think of them as lyrics (lericks as the kaisonian would say) to which I wish somebody would offer to put music.

My fantasy is to hear Black Stalin or Rio or Funny sing one of my compositions in the Dimanche Gras Kaiso Monarch Competition. Whenever I hear Paul Keens or Sprangalang do a dialect routine I also try to picture myself on stage dramatizing one of my Social Commentary Dialect Poems. Ah well... one can dream...but at the same time know one's limitations. Still, as an artist I have to express myself ... so I need an audience. The letters pages of the daily papers are my medium at present. I want very much to publish a compilation of my work , but I want it to be something classy, with illustrations, nice paper and colour and ting. One day... one day....

Gene Wilkes, September, 1999

(c)copyright Gene Wilkes >

  The Lynx is a fierce  predator,
  Many small creatures are its  prey,
Just like the banks in T&T
  Who does rip we off every day.
You go to the supermarket,
Today is you last shopping day,
  You eh walk wid cash or cheque book...
  That's not "the way to shop today".
The banks now have systems in place
To do we shopping without cash,
    But when you reach the check out line-
  Then they tell you the system crash.
Go shopping with your credit card,
   Increase your "Frequent Flier" miles-
  This slogan was like a mantra
    As I trudged through the crowded aisles.
         Now I'm standing there embarrassed...
No one cyar tell me what to do...
  Next day Boopsingh apologise...
  You think that good enough for true?
      What about "Frequent Flier" miles
    For my family's holiday?
         Now I go have to take a loan
      When I have mih passage to pay.
    But mih banker go be smiling,
    Fools and their money have to part...
       That's what they mean when bankers say
 That they have your "interest" at heart.

(c)copyright Gene Wilkes

They have me ketchin' mih royal
When ah visit de bank dese days,
An' ah gettin' real frustrated
In a number of different ways.
I doh really like to complain,
Far less to appear disloyal,
But dis service dat ah gettin'
Far from what you would call royal!
They have a ting called Farce Service,
And it does live up to the name-

When you use it is like gambling

On some truly frustrating game.

"Unable to contact your branch"

Is a message I fedup get,

At the bank where mih account is-

You tink we really ready yet?

I mean, wid all we pretentions,

I does wonder when we will be

Fit to implement or cope with

This Y2K technology.

24 hours of access

To your funds is what they does say,

But you could bet that this doh mean

Twentyfour hours in one day.

The machines are serviced daily,

And this takes some time, as you know;

All the while your business on hold-

Why they fooling the public so?

They call you valued customer

When they want you take out a loan,

You doh have to visit the bank,

You could do it over the phone.

Though declaring obscene profits

They charge for each service they give,

Put small interest on your savings...

They eh know 'bout live and let live.

The Senior Citizens' Counter

Very often doesn't be manned,

And we have nowhere to sit down,

So the old people have to stand.

'Is half an hour per "patient",'

One old fella turn and declare,

Indifference fuels frustration

When it seems nobody eh care.

"Not Authorised to Give You Cash",

The ATM tell me today,

So ah have to go an' line up,

Because ah have mih bills to pay.

Yesterday was "System Error"

I read on the machine display,

Well now self ah gettin' frighten...

They eh ready for Y2K!!

So ah looking for a mattress

Wid a fireproof compartment

For mih documents and money...



(c)copyright Gene Wilkes

In our haste to create heroes
We need to be more circumspect,

And for integrity and truth

Have more than a little respect.

We doh need no hurry heroes

Who can't be role models for youth,

Sports idols and entertainers

Are seldom exemplars of truth.

Since I small kaisonians boasting

About how much woman they screw,

But still we expect teenagers

To have a different point of view.

Women are often degraded

In the lyrics of calypso,

When these singers are applauded

Aren't we saying we like it so?

Sparrow "wooed" the Martiniquan gyul

In his calypso Sa Sa Yea,

If you read the Catholic News,

That's what Helena Allum say.

But the feminists have a phrase

For the move that Birdie made,


If we would call a spade a spade.

"Is we culture" is a cop out

We use to condone anything:

Incest, female circumcision,

Child abuse and wife battering.

When we make someone a hero,

Many things they say and do

Get caught in the rosy glow of

The halo of approval too.

Should we really call a hero

A person who, when he can't cope

With problems facing him in life,

Then seeks the solution in dope?

Plenty singers exploit Merchant,

You could say some chook out his eyes,

But, when he dead, like hypocrites,

All man come out to eulogize.

Supercop had outside woman,

But no time for children and wife,

Yet, when the wife find a lover,

He kill she ... then take his own life.

Then one sees a loyal soldier

Who cherished wife and family,

But , like a true true Trini male,

He had to have a deputy.

Yes, a deputy essential,

Teacher-Kaisonian Penguin say,

But he self now advising youth:

Have respect for woman today.

But say what, dese is we heroes,

We eh care what nobody say,

We put them on a pedestal,

And we know they have feet of clay.

So... let's take with a pinch of salt

Things these heroes say and do,

'Cause, when all the bhagi boil down,

They're human just like me and you.


(c)copyright Gene Wilkes

I am a khaki, mongrel Trini,
I eh too sure what is my race-
I have all kinda ancestors
From all kind of a different place.
I may be neither fish nor fowl,
For I'm a little bit of each,
I may not know where I come from,
But I know for sure that I reach.
Some ah mih cousins have straight nose,
Some have "good" and others "bad" hair,
With skin of different complexion,
Some ah we dark, some red, some fair.
We come in several hues and shades
Of all the things that taste so nice,
Like chocolate milk, cafe au lait,
Sapodilla, brown sugar, spice.
No one knows discrimination
To quite the same degree as we,
For we experience prejudice
Even from we own family.
Between the two main "ethnic tribes"
Is we who form a buffer zone,
'Cause many times I think they'd fight
If we were to leave them alone.
People could call me what they want-
Mongrel, hybrid or callaloo,
When come to genealogy
There's nothing anyone can do.
Just imagine if I should trace
My roots to Africa and back,
And even though mih skin khaki
I prefer to say that I black-
I does wonder how ah go feel
After I trace my ancestry
To find that mih great-grandfather
Sell he brothers into slavery.
Or suppose I go to Europe
And discover to my great shame
That my Portuguese ancestors
Were among slave owners who came.
Look, leh me jes think of mihself
As a product of unity-
A blending of several races
All of equal humanity.





copyright © Ilka Hilton Clarke - all rights reserved. -Last updated: October 24, 2015