Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Everybody get flat – a dub"

In 2005, THE TRUE BLUE OF ISLANDS, a book dedicated to my brother Richard, murdered in Jamaica in 2004, appeared. Not long ago (on April 28), I posted the title poem, which is an account of his death. Today's post is a dub, another version of that death, to remember him because he recently had a birthday. The book of poems, never mind its subject (violence in its several manifestations) witnesses to his life. It celebrates an ordinary man. It mourns, not him alone, but all those who die brutally, as well as all those who suffer abuse in the course of their lives.

We who are left, pursuing our ambitions, hopping on planes and boats and trains about our business, have failed miserably to guard our kin – our relatives by blood, by six degrees of separation, by simple living on this planet together. I beat my breast and confess that failure. Had I invested more, and earlier, had a larger heart, been more generous with my time, more earnest in my prayers, more ready to share what I have, he might not be dead, and the person who killed him might not have been impelled to murder. The same applies to all of us, with respect to all those who have died arbitrarily and to all those who have done murder.

Mea maxima culpa.

So here is "Everybody Get Flat."

Happy Belated Birthday and Rest in Peace, my brother.

Everybody get flat – a dub

Where is the poem
that explains
what happens
to you when
they shoot your brother
and you hear
that his brains
spilled over the seat
to the back of the car
and you have to tell folks,

“No it wasn’t a war.
No, he wasn’t
caught in crossfire
No it wasn’t a fight.
Yes it happened at night
but no, not in town
out in the country
not a God soul around.

No, he didn’t launder money.
No he wasn’t into dope.
Just a man with a plan
and a fervent hope.

What was the motive?
The police can’t find
not a rhyme not a reason
why they kill the man.
Just a random execution –

So, no, we don’t have a clue
why he might have been killed.
Yes I guess you could say
God must have willed
it. What? God willed it?

No the priest said.
God don’t will
no slaughtered dead.
God allow us our own way.

So we turn into a place
with a theme song that say
“Everybody get flat –
dog coming through!”

And dog mean gun
and is all in fun
don’t mind people
have to run
down in the ghetto
every God-sent day
from the teeth of the dog.

But I guess we have a way
to grit our teeth
and carry on through.

Till a bullet come
and you pray
it’s not for you.

© Copyright Pamela Mordecai, author of THE TRUE BLUE OF ISLANDS and PINK ICING: STORIES.

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No part of this blog may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations.


FSJL said...

Oh, boy. That is a poem with a bitter taste, that sounds in the mind as if written through tears. said...

This is a poem that you should have never had to write.


clarabella said...

Dear FSJL: My life may have been difficult till the day he died. On that day it moved from tough to surreal. A paradigm shift it was, in which bitterness and outrage and tears were representative of only one dimension of the new lived experience. I'm very uncertain as I write this, but perhaps one now had a sense, not just of the power and arbitrariness of evil, but of the fact that, never mind so much human suffering, Jesus's included, IT (promise? a future? a better life for humanity?) was never going to be possible. We in this house pray often, "Lord, save us from despair". As I write today's post, I am overcome by the urgent need for that prayer.

clarabella said...

Hi Geoff: No one should ever have to write such a poem. I know you feel it for me/us, for you have said so in a work of art. Thanks aren't really enough, but I say them again and pray for more of us with your conviction. 1luv, as ever.