Before “the Caribbean” was crafted in full, my people were already irreconcilable. Unknowable. They were already only versions of their former selves by the time they emerged from the unspeakable holds of ships, spilling out raped, broken, and bloodied onto the decks, across the bouncing planks of gangways like shadowy marionettes . ... It isn’t wise to forget one’s bearings. And, whenever I do, Mas. Mas.
Excerpted from High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Cultures. Photographs and text by Kevin Adonis Browne. Used with permission of University Press of Mississippi. “Spooky” blows fire for Traditional Mas Competition. Victoria Square, Port of Spain, 2014.