Free de Natty!

I love when freedom greets me where I am. It was slowly blossoming over the last two days but it burst upon me fully when I woke this morning.

I’ve always been so well ‘put together’. I mean, to be honest, my hair has never cooperated with me on this though. Coily and thin strands burst their way out of every restraint (usually called a style) that I’ve ever put them in, preferring to be left alone, to be free..

Today I won freedom from my bias of always being well-coiffed..perfect..combed..

Oh the joys of growth!! I freed the nipple! Now I’ve freed the natty! I’m looking forward to the release of more of the prisoners locked up in my mind!

– janberry

What is the HARD WORK?

So I asked myself, what is the HARD WORK? To me, there is so much that needs to go behind the excellence which brings about progressive growth…and it‘s the work that seems unimportant and ‘airy-fairy’ but it’s the substance that breaks you into new levels of self and shapes your character for success.

– JM™

Painting outside the lines

I’m usually even-keeled.
Not today.
Today, I felt oddly battered by rule,
by the straight lines that don’t apply to everyone.
This is a country whose ethics are shaded in with color pencils that are light like the white of
our White House.
The red of our Red House
flames true with the indignity
of our bloody streets and dirty cities.
And I’ve tried to hold on and build.
Draw blue lines in my sky
Underline them with my daily sighs.
The embers of my pride
burn out strong and vibrantly yellow,
as I toss them in the air, against the Deepvali lights
that I add to my nights.
The scarlet I became for so many
because of my love
is not the last color.
My palette has more but
my wallet can not buy them,
because my green, blue, red, purple and grey notes
have straight edges,
but my heart does not.
And I’m tired,
of losing all my colours,
to a black stripe that does not embrace hard work and spirit.
In theory only,
in this country,
black is the presence of all color,
and today my anger
blazed over,
spilling over,
And I made up my mind,
I will paint outside these lines.

– janberry – 27Apr2019 © 6.50pm

Ayiti

On my first morning, I woke early because I couldn’t sleep anyway. This was a new and dusty place, and my nostrils flared every two minutes, instinctively pierced by the particles floating around.

I walked outside and peered over the bannister, and at 5.30am, this young girl sat on a bucket, down below, selling popcorn. Her shoulders were pressed forward leaning on the heartstrings of passers by, “achte pòpkòn”, then she would pause, “kounye a” before repeating herself again, and again. Her voice was light and feminine, neither begging nor aggressing…simply asking, with an expectation, “Buy popcorn..now..”

For a long while I stood there looking down at her contemplating my own childhood. It would be the first of many jarring sights. Later that day, we visited the orphanage and everywhere, the dust, caked against my ankle. It was the type that left a film. It was much like this country, leaving a thin coat over my consciousness.

This is what poverty felt like,
a stench in the air,
of dirty water,
not quite fresh but not yet stale,
running along uncut paths
To homes where naked children ran freely,
Beaming tainted smiles and bare feet.
I hummed emotionless through the next few days until the river broke
but could not
wash Ayiti out of my eyes.
All the brown,
a morose color,
a sad place burdened by reparations
And crippled by greed,
Populated with happy hands,
holy in deed
and dead
that bled
to sacrifice itself
for an ungrateful Caribbean.
Whose fault is this?
And after leaving this place,
for a long while, my prayers grew agnostic
because if meaning could be scrawled on the dust of this place,
some corrupt official’s hot temper could wash it away with piss.
After he’d drank from the cup of Ayiti’s wine,
another snake without a spine,
leading these fierce warriors
Brave and rich then made to kneel,
Ayiti my soul wept when I saw you,
And I’ve since forgotten you,
but never in spirit,
you’ve slept whilst you’ve left us the ticket
To enter our true selves,
at the cost of your forgetfulness
of who you are.
Ayiti…

– janberry – 23Apr2019 © 8.50pm

Obzen

Obzen

She loves rock..hardcore, only, no soft rock..and the word she found to describe me is also the name of a rock song – Obzen – her feeling in the middle of numbness.

For her, it meant that she had considered herself aware of her freeness but had caged herself in still, choosing to stay in this meaningless place for far too long.

And so when I came along, I could see the disillusioned hurt in her eyes. I didn’t try to save her, I used to compulsively do that…always on ‘the mend’. I think my own broken childhood made me project onto others the savior I had needed back then.

So, I didn’t try to save her. She didn’t need saving. I treated her beautifully, and somewhere along the way, she saw her own beauty.

And now she’s outgrown this place and gone away..my obzen, a reflection of the moments that make this life worthwhile.

janberry © 22Apr2019 12.49am

Friend

Friend

If I cross the line, it cannot be undone
Your hormones are talking to me
And your touches no longer feel friendly
And I, well I take any opportunity to get closer inside the gap made by our standing space
I feel your stares and feel the warm impression they leave on my face
I know you’ve always been sweet on me
And I have slipped in many lines about you in my poetry
Over the years since knowing you
But am terrifed to approach you
Will our beautiful and pure bond
remain
..if I finally make it all the way inside the gap formed by our standing space
And let my body do what it wants to
Let my lips tell you our truth
I know you know that I know you know too
But once it’s said aloud
We won’t be able to go back to..
..
friends.

I’m sorely conflicted
and I’ve always been
And maybe that’s just meant to be our secret
Don’t know how much longer I can keep it
Girl, you’re a star..
And you’re glowing
Every day you get more and more beautiful than you’ve ever been
my..
..friend

to be continued..

– janberry © 16Apr2019 8.06am

[This poem very well may never have a conclusion. I think some things in life are like that..]
.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Island Antiquity

Island antiquity
It could disarm you
Buh doh let it mamaguy you
Strange and sour
It have a sweet way of play
Every island have it own sing song way to say
“We cyah be trusted!”
If only it was so easy
And we knew that from birth
So dat we wouldn’t live with so much hope
What we build from the colonial matchsticks?
I know de Queen’s English well enough to teach my nephew
That when he speak it
People will look at him differently
But we eyes so shunted by the sun
That we will look at him the same.
Another little Caribbean boy
with a Scottish name.
Island antiquity
Caribbean identity
Forged from the love of liberty
My particular anthem say
But I don’t trust that freedom
Because it take me 37 years to
break free of my island mentality
And wish more for myself than the ceiling of high tides
I am a global citizen
A denizen
An alien
I can live anywhere
Because I have English,
Humility
And Island antiquity.

– janberry © Feb2019

Love Symbol #2

Love Symbol #2

He sported a falsetto and hairy chest
And danced like the floor was wet
Drenched in rain
that slicked his mane
Full body jumpers and heels
Caressing his guitar like the feminine and phallic symbol
his ‘name’ changed to later on
She’s handsome
Or he’s beautiful
Things are supposed to work a certain way
Unless they don’t
And what then
When we’re running out of labels
To contain the capacity
and band of humanity
When up seems down and down
seems wrong
And left is right
according to Wikipedia
Love symbol #2
Was a middle finger
Because who really needs a descriptor
to refer to
Me or you?

– janberry © 8Apr2019. 9.47am

Photo credit: Slaven Vlasic Entertainment/Getty Images

day one

day one

water understands,
the uncertainty..
So I came to her
In season,
she brings seashells
or seaweed
or seawalls
to break everything
that isn’t already broken
I gave it to the water
And she turned my palms over
Salty tears as salve
The surf beat my ankles
waiting
I, pacing…
It couldn’t make any more..
sense than it hadn’t before
and so, the night received me,
the lonely fear sailed out of view
And the darkening sky faded from pink to blue
I just sat there waiting for my pained groin to stop throbbing.
..beating all of me into submission..
Water can only be held back for just so long..
that night became day one.

– janberry © 4Apr2019. 4.23pm

Osmosis

Osmosis

Just when I thought
I was over her,
a sighting leaked
into me,
flowing from the
collected drips
of everything I know.
Oasis
Hypnosis
Osmosis
She does this.

– janberry © 23Nov2018.9:27pm

[this is a dub song in the making]