A Ghetto Nerd’s Notebook: A Misanthropic Appraisal Of Caesar

Robert Lashley
10 min readAug 14, 2022

On Derek Walcott.


If-as John Updike once said-“Fame is the mask that eats the face,” one can argue that Derek Walcott’s casing began at his boyhood house. In book 2 of Another Life, his autobiographical epic poem, he arrives at his old door an acclaimed yet struggling poet. At the sight of its remnants, the memories overwhelm him

” Old house, old woman, old room
old planes, old buckling membranes of the womb
translucent walls,
breathe through your timbers, gasp
arthritic, curling beams
cough in old air
shining with moats, stair
polished and re-polished by the hands of strangers
die with defiance with your grey flecking eyes

He proceeds to go up to her room and be consumed by what he sees: the creaking sunlight, the memory of her cigarette smoke, the individual landscape that only he could render on the page-a mélange of old worlds and new, the present and the past, folk and a modern language alchemized into gorgeous lyric stanzas that are broken by a single line



Robert Lashley

Writer. Author. Former Jack Straw and Artist Trust Fellow. The baddest ghetto nerd on the planet.