Shara McCallum reads at the 2014 Dodge Poetry Festival

Shara McCallum reads at the 2014 Dodge Poetry Festival



so I'm from Jamaica my father was Jamaican and my mother was also an immigrant as I am she was Venezuelan and they were Rastafarians I think that might be helpful to know and then when I came to the States I was almost nine and I moved to Miami I'm looking over there at Richard who I can't see but his point really spoke to me on so many levels so this poem is a love song for the country where I am from the city in particular some for Kingston if I forget thee O Jerusalem psalm 137 city of Jackman Dora Mena choose none of a Nancy prevailing over Mongoose brought a rapt puss and dog and Nancy saved by his wits in the midst of chaos and against all odds of body big boys stories told by peacock strutting boys hush hush but loud enough to be heard by anyone passing by the yard city of market women at halfway tree with baskets atop their heads or planted in front of their laps squatting or standing with arms akimbo sue suing with one another clucking their tongues calling in voices of pure sugar come to do see the pretty bag I have for you then kissing their teeth when you saunter off city of school children in uniforms playing dandy Shandy and brown girl in the ring tralalalala eating bun and cheese and bulla and mangoes juice sticky and running down their chins bodies arced in laughter mouths a cape heads thrown back city of old men with roomy eyes crouched in doorways on verandas paring knives in hand carving wood pipes or peeling sugarcane of younger men pushing carts of roasted peanuts and oranges calling out as they walk the streets and night draws near of coconut vendors with machetes in hand city where power cuts left everyone in sudden dark where the kerosene lamps blue flame wavered on kitchen walls where empty bellies could not be filled where no eggs no milk no beef today echoed in shantytowns around corners down alleyways city where Marley sang Joe would never give the power to a bald hand while the bald heads rained where my parents chanted down babylon fire bond Jah Rastafari Selassie I where they paid weekly Jews saving for our passages back to Africa while in their beds my grandparents slept fitfully dreaming of america city that lives under a long memory son where the gunman of my childhood are today's Dawn's ruling neighborhoods as fiefdom where violence and beauty still lie down together city of my birth if I forget the who will I be singing the Lord's song in this strange land thank you sharra McCallum you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *