August 20, 2010

"One time jamboree – Darfur maybe" by Pamela Mordecai

One time jamboree – Darfur maybe

Koo yah! No one celestial jamboree!
One place where sense and spirit can agree
a corner whole night rattling calabash
whirling twirling billowing cumuli
of skirts make to catch pikni any time
them little knee give out! But busha take
him staff crook with a Janus head a two-
way tongue and slay them stroke by stroke. Is him
take bomb erase this marketplace where street
meet street make it so poor we girls houses
on fire fields trod to dust force flat down on
we back we two legs bruck apart by dogs
with pestilential penises that write death on
we womb as them proscribe corpse after little corpse.

We carry them no mind them bound
to dead no mind we bound to dead. Expel
them like goat shit. Black dots with lecherous lips
that suck on empty dugs speckle this piazza where
we use one time to spread peanut, pumpkin,
pineapple, cocoa, corn. Koo massa how
him set him sight straight past we labour pangs
placenta navel string caul blood
paraphernalia the old ones scrape
up deep at night and steal away to hide
underneath any stump them call a tree.
Come morning time cock crow but green still in
these fields under tight lock and key until
rain bruck it free. So who going rally clouds?

Employ covert intelligence to track
the beads of sweat that bud at day clean on
this grass? Marshal a force to trickle down
and wet the earth? Who going embed new posts
for huts? Run ploughs to ground? Shoot seeds
into the soil? Engage in combat hand
to hand with pests? Was a time once when pikni lap
around we ankles like warm morning waves
splashing in trash, leaves, old newspaper as
them creep like neap tide up we foot. When we going put
we hand akimbo, sway we hip, beat exultation on
these drums again? When heels going tattoo thanks
in this soil’s skin? Which priest going purge the curse
upon this place, give we back joy, restore we to our kin?

© Pamela Mordecai 2010


About the author:

Pamela Mordecai has written articles on Caribbean literature, edited and co-edited ground breaking anthologies of Jamaican poetry and Caribbean women’s writing, published textbooks, children’s books, four collections of poetry (Journey Poem, de man, Certifiable, The True Blue of Islands), a collection of short fiction, Pink Icing, and a reference work, Culture and Customs of Jamaica (with husband, Martin). Her play, El Numero Uno, had its world premiere at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People in February 2010. A prize-winning poet with a PhD in English, Mordecai lives in Toronto.


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