Let Her Go.

IMG_5337“The winds that sometimes take something we love, are the same that bring us something we learn to love. Therefore we should not cry about something that was taken from us, but, yes, love what we have been given. Because what is really ours is never gone forever.”

(Bob Marley)


Gran lived at 20 Marie Curie at Sceaux Gardens on The North Peckham Estate for the best part of my young life with her. I will ever remember being sat behind a bolted door on her bedroom floor in that flat, nibbling my McVities chocolate biscuit (to make it last) while my brothers (two elder; one younger) watched Top of The Pops, Gran watched us all and I watched Gran put her rollers in before bedtime.

In those final years when she’d come home with us after church on Sundays, I’d comb her hair. By this time I was working at W H Smith in Victoria Station, towering over her and helping her to take care of herself, but I was always so gentle with Gran. Gentleness was something I’d learnt from the holes in the shoes she repaired over and over again that now sit in the bottom of my wardrobe; the matches she used to light up the stove on which she roasted breadfruit that she’d then slice into half moons that would eclipse my hunger and glow in my belly; the gas stamps in the book that had its home in the black leather purse and the envelope with half her pension in it, that she pushed through the letterbox early every Thursday afternoon. The harshness of life lingered but there was only compassion in how hard she worked; how hard she loved; how well she seasoned her chicken and how hard she would conk me in my forid if I ever yanked at her hair. Compassion and gentleness. No matter how big we got, none of us were ever too big to be brought back down to size.

Gran’s hair was always very compliant, it wasn’t the stubborn black clumps that stuck to my scalp the way we all stuck to her right up to the end. The truth is we are still clinging. In the bedroom upstairs there’s a big blue barrel with housecoats and church frocks in it. There’s a thick red plastic bag with small balls of wools she used to crochet leg warmers, winter hats and blankets for us in her ongoing efforts to always keep us warm; her blanket, the one that was always laid out across her bed, is rolled up in a plastic bag beneath my bed and my favourite blouse of hers is hanging quietly in a corner of my wardrobe. There are Christmas cards her neighbours addressed to No. 20, they never knew her name because she never gave it to those who didn’t need it; names, she used to say, will travel to places you never will if you let them. Give them a smile but never give them yuh name. She also used to say something else I remember. Every Sunday it would cut through the cartoons,

You goh cry when me dead?!

Rivers of love Gran. Rivers of love.

But I’m tired of crying for her and I’m tired drowning in my tears and I’m tired of not being able to move ahead with my life because there are balls of wool and barrels of clothes blocking the way. I want to move past this grief and so I am actively doing so.

On Saturday 30th August 2014 I will be walking 10K for Marie Curie Cancer Care to help raise funds and awareness for those living with cancer and other terminal illnesses throughout the UK. I will be doing so with my mum who – a month or so ago – brought one of her monthly magazines upstairs, put it beside my laptop and said, my knees are bad but my heart is good so I’m going to walk for Gran. To honour my great grandmother’s life in this, the 16th year of her passing; to honour my mother’s wishes and to finally gain some closure.

When we return home after that walk that night, I am going to burn every last one of her possessions so that they will no longer possess me. All the good things I’ve learnt about Jamaican independence, I learnt from the most independent Jamaican woman I have ever known. She loved us all equally and she devoted her life to making sure we were aware of that, the least I could do for her is let her go.

It’s beyond time.



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In a Constant State of Undress.

Photo on 31-05-2014 at 03.16 #4I wake up naked

Wearing only him scent

Him put him clouds in my coffee.

Black. No sugar.

Him is plenty sweet for me.


But. I am not a caffeine drinker

Him put doubt in my daydream

But I am not an overthinker

I just think things over

And over. And over


Like. How I did speak too freely

About how trapped I have been.

Like how I just stepped over the last snare

This Babylon set for me.


That bandulu. That bhuttu.

That tattoo-sleeved-teef

Who kept his heads together

With my stolen sanity.


And when him rise like a hymn

In the church of my thighs

And when him worship and him praise me

With him prophetic lies.

And drink saltwater

From the mouth of my mountain

I pick clouds from the sky

Like de lickle pickney dem

Pick penny outta water-fountain


Him pull my body across him.

Without a single visible string.

But I will be him bow.

The fiddler tell me say, I am reggae music.

I tell him say, I know.


From Charclit To G Major.

A Perfect Fi(f)t(h).

Him voice rises seven semitones.

And him spill cumulus clouds on my coffee-coloured-skin

And my coffee-coated-bones.


I clean him.

Him dress.

I miss him.


Him left.

Me with the sound

Of free-thinking.

Mingling with the taste

Of a long night of whisky-drinking.

Him left me. Overthinking.


And now my soul is sick

With longing for him.

And now my hair is thick

With thoughts that escaped when

I decided to cling

To this man without a single fucking string.


And I think the colour of our heat just grew colder

Than a London summer morning.

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Let us live. Let us love.


I do not understand the motivation behind homophobia but I do understand that this ‘fear’ is a by-product of teachers, preachers and parents abusing their positions of power and influence to perpetuate the abuse of innocent civilians. I also understand (and despise) that our children’s innocence is regularly being replaced with our constant cruelty and our, synonymously, inspired and insipid ignorance.

Whatever your belief system, do you honestly believe gay men and women deserve to be burnt alive; beaten within an inch of their beautiful lives; chased to their deaths; stoned to death; gang raped; sent to the brink of suicide; murdered and slandered because of those beliefs!

What manner of God is this that would create me to hate me!

I have asked this question of myself everyday since my own fateful Friday the 26th of August in 2011.

A significant part of the danger in teaching your children that being gay is gruesome, ghastly, unnatural and ungodly is that your child may one day come downstairs to the basement, stand in a bedroom doorway as narrow as your mind and shed some light on your life when they whisper softly into the dark a hard truth that, sadly, hardens so many beating hearts, “I am gay”. Almost hoping that you will not hear because he or she is so scared that you and your ‘fear’ will tell he or she to disown who they are or be disowned.

Your offspring will then be faced with the ‘fear’ you taught them; the ‘fear’ you enabled with great effort, incredible ignorance and a perverted passion for prejudice. It is a ‘fear’ that afflicts us all, irrespective of our sexual orientation.

What if your child is beaten in the back of their head and left for dead? Will not the blood you share be on your hands! Will not the blood cry out from the depths of your duty to love your child without condition!

I miss my earthly father daily but I do not miss the homophobia he used to harangue and hurt me as much as I am certain that man misses me – his son; his choice and now, sadly, also his victim. Though I am no victim.

Homophobia will never be sanitary. Homophobia will never be a solution. Homophobia will never cure your children of the courage it takes to emerge from that cultural cupboard we call the closet, stand up in this horrible fucking world and live the lives so many of us are still dying for.

Stop. Think before you teach. Your lesson does not have to be one that contributes to what is best described as The Gay Genocide.

Let us live. Let us love. Let us survive. Let us thrive.



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tumblr_n6kok5Fx6u1qilmc0o1_500i told him

i am not

some stanza

and this

will not end

with us

as a

rhyming couplet

we will

never be


just because

we rhyme

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Naked In Bed.

Photo on 31-05-2014 at 03.45Overburden. One last time.

Heavy eyes for the third son rise like light black sunrise does in the morning of my nighttime dreams with their here-nor-there-themes; in trapped thoughts and all that black talk middle-children like I-and-I so often caught like a chest cold that had to be untaught by a long list of nigger lovers after spending decades getting headfucked by those untitled black brothers (who shall remain nameless) and their blame (which shall remain blameless).

The council move you from Yellowbrick. And within two years a single bitchlick from that Half Way Tree hick (the only diamond in that Jamaican spoil tip) gives you a scar above your left eye that you christen Gratefulness. And so you are saved from the same fate as she who was born in the underbelly of the master’s last black slave.

So now you seek meaning. In ghosts and their haunts. In bullies and their taunts that burn before being poured into an urn when you are the first of the five to learn and you become ashes when you – a mortal motherfucker – are involved in several violent clashes with that St. Katherine wall that will hit all five in the end when, one by one, our blood is spilled and we are killed by the rage he should have reserved for his mother. The rage he mistook for love when he abused your mother and took that whore he called a lover.

Burden over. And dat deh antiman yuh cawl fren’ and all the fake-name-giving-men and your sunshaded foes and that long list of hoes that you beat to the grave cry incumbent tears that fall off the edge of your bloodline, like seconds fall off the edge of passing time and three-out-of-five niggers fell off the end of the poverty line into a life of crime and doing time and one fell into the bottle where he so often got drunk that he sunk and he sunk and hopefully he is still fucking sinking.

Interment. And incumbent tears crash into a grief-coloured garment, that is the same colour as the walls of the bedroom in that old E17 apartment. Midnight blue. Just like my worldview when I lost you know who.

And all of this heavy-eyed-shit is not because they miss the dead person but because all living persons fear the thing that’s never really there. Something like air that you only appreciate and value when you are gasping for one.more.long.lasting.breath. in those last few moments before a modern black brother is hacked to the antiquated death that Half Way Tree hick avoided.

And now he is naked in bed and the wind that washes us all whispers something you always wished you had said to that nigger who’s somewhere in his head drinking, getting drunk on his thinking and typing some drunk text:

You – mortal motherfucker – are next.



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I drink too muchPhoto on 10-05-2014 at 08.19

I take too many drugs.

I think too much

I need too many hugs.

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La Maschera Di Amore

IMG_20140505_203855Unmasking. He told me of this tragedy that lives in a minor mode but I have seen the universe under his skin. A brief opening that made everything within me sing to him in an uncommon language that only those who dare to grow will know. And we trembled as we assembled our sentences, removed our pretences and moved with the music into E Flat Major.

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