Monthly Archives: February 2018

LKJ – Peel Session

Linton Kwesi Johnson’s first Peel session was broadcast on 8th May 1979. John Peel introduced it by saying: “You might possibly accuse us of paying a kind of woolly Babylonian lip service to liberalism, but you couldn’t accuse Linton Kwesi Johnson of doing so, and that’s the important thing”

Down Di Road – Want Fi Goh Rave – It Dread Inna Inglan – Sonny’s Lettah – Reality Poem

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Tell Dem Sa….

Tell Dem Sa….

Tings a go ‘appen ina Englan’
Bekase de National Front
An de Ku Klux Klan
Talkin bout fe sen hom all black man, or else.

Hell a go buss ina Englan’
Bekase me know mi a one black man,
Wo nah go stan back mek man attack me
An mi no chap off ‘im rass hand.

Blood a go flow ina Englan’
If dem no stop from fool roun wi,
For a man has got a rite to live in peace
In any country he may be.

White man come a fe we country,
An we give dem wi soul an hart
Now we ina a fe dem country,
An de man dem mek wi fart.

Jackass sa de world no lebel,
An and lie dem a tell,
Boy dem people ya muss be devil,
Fe want fe sen’ we soul to hell.

But a one ting me hav’ fe tell dem,
If black man can’t live in peace in Englan’
White man a go hav’ fe
Move out a fe wi lan’.

Fredrick Williams

This poem is from his 1981 Broadsheet Press pamphlet Me Memba Wen… published in Nottingham.

Bruce St. John

Bruce St. John put much of the Bajan language into his poetry, and put the ordinary man’s views and values into his work. This poem comes from his 1982 Cedar Press collection Bumbatuk 1.

Saturday Night at the Exhibition

People like pigeon peas
People like san’
Heavy an’ skinny
Country an’ town
Onion an’ aloes
An’ rotten grape-fruit,
Musk an’ Avon
Yardley an’ Cologne
Air scarce an’ space scarce
Look fuh smellin’ salts.
Nuh teet’ an’ false teet’
T’ich lip an’ t’in,
Paper bag and eye bag
Empty bag and full;
Baggy dress an’ baggy pants
Money bag an’ free,
Leather bag an’ plastic bag.
Pushin’ an’ pullin’
Jookin’ an’ rubbin’
Laughin’ an’ hollerin’
Eatin’ an’ drinkin’
Lickin’ an’ suckin’
Cryion’ an’ gigglin’.
Wait ’til twelve o’clock, boy
Bajan got to got
Who en get ketch in de slips boy
L.B.W. fuh nought.
New ball in de block hole
Bat come down too late
Buy three ticket nex’ year, boys
An’ see de family plannin’ man.

Bruce St. John

Victim – Victor D Questel

Victim

‘Woman hold her head and cry
cause her son had been
shot down in the street
and died
Just because of the system.’
Bob Marley, Johnny Was

The victim
waits;
he is fired in his tracks
fixed
stopped
stretched out;
the bush grows into his wounds.

He is riddled with a truth
that all will share. Once, he
crawled on his belly
now
slowly he becomes tired of the crab
antics that scratch the surface
of his skin
plunge him into a rash of
indecision
imprecation.

Th family line is broken
again,
fractured like his skull. He
longs for water,
the bay leaf baths,
his mother rubbing him.

He is at the stand-pipe
blue soap and
practised fingers
cleanse him. Now
he lies in the
bed of a river
with his throat cut
his energy leaving him.

He is floating in his
flaming silence,
a shot has fired him.

The mother looks at her son
and the eye bleeds;
she stoops and wipes
the jumbie beads of
sweat
whips the running ants
and waits.

The guerillas
wait
Kojak waits
for the cameras’ flashing
flame of
approval.

The corbeaux wait
but not for the rain,
as
the eye bleeds
water
as from a broken branch
while the bullets rip, nail,
leave wales
welts,
hammer the home-grown truth
mock the imported disaster
that grabs the
head-lines
the eyes of the statistical bureau
while
the dead leaves in the
garden go unmourned,
the vines’ murder of the trees,
the garden slugs strangled by
Aldrin
do not make The Bomb;

the stone lizard
does not capture the reporter’s
vigorous search
for the news,
the blight engulfing the hibiscus
will not make tonight’s TV
panorama
as the hills mourn
the ghost opf their existence
in smoke.

A door slams;
wheels
turn.

Her eye breeds
water;
faith;
takes root

takes years.

Blood.

Victor D Questel

Victor D Questel (1949 – 1982) was from Trinidad. This poem is from his 1979 collection Near Mourning Ground, published by The New Voices.