As Jamaica celebrates its fiftieth year of independence, I want to write a series of blogs that express my love, hopes, frustrations, and dreams for Jamaica land of beauty, land of plenty, land of struggle, land of triumph, land of tribulation; this country that even at the moments when the love for it just a bubble up inna mi heart, I cannot forget its ability to be a “bruk spirit kiss mi ass place”.
And sometimes, what you have to say has already been well said. So I will start this series with a piece by the poet (at least when the words hold him down and he’s not taken over by his oh so many other talents) Dingo.
JAMAICA LAND WE LOVE
I woulda cuss some claat if it coulda draw attention to Jamaica land we love
An if dem neva start charge artiste fe it….
I woulda cuss some claat if it coulda draw attention to Jamaica land we love.
Jamaica land we love hobbling along on three flats and de-spair
this gearbox stuck in reverse is so….. “anti-forward”.
So I’m in this bourgeois café, listening to her bourgeois bullshit
An she goin on an on about her last trip to Europe an I’m perplexed
because she keep referring to us as “dem” , keep referring to us as “dem”
an mi confused cause I not sure who she calling “these people”.
An I figure she mean the ones catapulted from oppressed wombs to suck struggle at the nipple,
who with little conviction hold lengthy debates with their stomachs about the ills of overeating,
who no hear say slavery done so nuff a dem still a work fi nuttin,
who’ve been given bran new highways, so now di homeless can live in style,
In Jamaica land we love.
Where the middle class who have hit the oil slick on the mobility pole
Would start another demonstration if they hadn’t so effectively removed their feet.
Right now dem couldn’t galvanize……
Zinc fences used to mek me nervous one o’clock ina di morning,
this bwoy from country a blaze the streets of Kingston
from Bay Farm to Vineyard Town to Arnette
where roadblocks to prevent drivebys would meet wid di zinc fences to discuss mi fate,
towering over me like coliseum walls, but with less romance to it.
Concealing, conniving, threatening, an sometimes if you search hard enough inside helplessness
You find calm, even content if you realize the ghetto is not a physical place
an if it is, it probably start uptown
where some big pickney take time a crayon di whole flag black.
And we suffer these leaders and dance wildly to the beat of their inconsistent snares,
upright treacherous vipers with forked tongues
which facilitate the use of both sides of the mouth,
sponsoring the tools of tribalism as they posture and piss on tyres.
Shattered ambitions conspiring with hardened backs
and servile minds to start personal revolutions
and a fist still a raise an a bell still a ring an a tune still a sing
say common people like you an me will be builders for eternity,
an me nah feel da vibe deh y’nuh rasta.
And commissions of enquiry are needed to find the burial spots of,
former commissions of enquiry
Because we understand dat di bigger heads is loyal to them friends.
But is Jamaica , and justice is limber
and truth is just an empty word written in blood on the still trembling walls of a Portmore dwelling,
and our heaviest burden is still our legacy of silent acceptance, in Jamaica land we love.
Home of the church,
where one can easily be ambushed by a “Praying Mantis” decked in a Joseph like coat
but with trick pockets,
concealing the tools of the trade: confusion, grand wizardry and placebo effects.
Dark solicitous eyes weighing truths with immigration intensity
in vicarious contempt, like jealous jeanies.
Can’t save those in the hospitals but at night become tent healers
cockroach feelers sensing naivety of prey
an salvation did always make good company for despair, here, in Jamaica land we love.
A defiant air still seeps from cockpit hills, caressing the knees of maypole dancers
and bounces colorful expression off the tongues of ample bosomed coronation vendors
firing and glazing the vision of Garvey into a collective spirit, and lord, we got to keep on moving.
And somewhere along that thick line between information technology
and the coconut brush is where you will find me
romancing her majesty to lamplight, an celebrating the freedom of weed expressionism,
in Jamaica land we love
Still an enchanting isle, whose seemingly tethered sun still sets on breathtakingly beautiful beaches,
though survival can be a cataract.
in Jamaica land we love.