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CULTURE CLINIC: Musings

Of a creative/cultural practitioner for 2020

Scooping-up dog-poop has become an almost daily chore since moving to my father’s ancestral home. Earlier, I compared this task to “culture”, a “noun of process”, “tending of natural growth” (Williams). I alluded that this chore may resonate with how creative processes are oftentimes regarded. In 2020, my hoe-and-shovel poop-gathering ritual is perfection. As I flow, breezes from the Atlantic Ocean pass through this island village, my mind expands, and more musings come.

  1. Armed with my hoe and shovel, I must look carefully to find this stuff, because it is the same colour as the dirt. One minute you think you’re done cleaning when you look down and another mound magically “de-cloaks”, waiting for tyre-tracks or shoes to attack (Star Trek).
  2. This chore must be done frequently, or else stuff would be everywhere.
  3. Dogs eat and then defecate, that is how they do. They do not self-cleaning. Left to themselves they create mounds all over.
  4. Dogs do not show any appreciation for cleaning their shit up. They look at you with scorn, sending telepathic hate-speech.
    “Hurry up and doan let it be no noise, eh!”
    “Yea… and get me muh damn food or I gine tear up the water mains, pull down the boxes, chew through the wire fence and terrorize the neighbourhood.”
    “Cha! Rough!”
  5. Mind you, if I do not clean it up, it does eventually decompose. My cousin and neighbour who periodically mows the lawn, (covered like a beekeeper from head-to-toe mind you,) says that she would just run over it with the edger or mower and spread it around. SPLAT! (Just the image you need when walking around the grounds barefoot meditating and singing Kumbaya. No, no. No!)
  6. I still have not figured out whether to bury it, scatter it, or display it.  A dog-poop compost would only be good for inedible products like ferns. My cousin/neighbour suggests I filter it into the cut-grass that we leave in a heap outside the fence on our property.

There, it will decompose and become the earth. its nutrients “become” the grass, and then animals and insects will “eat the grass” …  and the circle of life continues

(Mufasa, Lion King). 

Currently my poop collection has turned into a mound by the back fence. It does carry a certain aesthetic. As it piles up and dries, the rain beats down on it and the sun hardens it, it looks almost wall-like. Sigh! I have to remove the mini-mount (which, by the way, does not stink).

Maybe the lesson is, ‘doan care how much you try to clean up the dog-shit, if you are not careful to bury it or scatter it, you may still end up displaying it’. Such is the life of a dog-scooper in the country. Does any of this resonate with the life of a creative/cultural practitioner in this country? You tell me.

Dr. John Hunte PHD Cultural Studies UWI Cave Hill

Culture Clinic is a weekly column crafted by Dr. John Hunte. Photo by Adrian Richards.

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