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GRACE NICHOLS

Wherever I Hang
I leave me people, me land, me home
For reasons I not too sure
I forsake de sun
And de humming-bird splendour
Had big rats in de floorboard
So I pick up me new-world-self
And come to this place call England
At first I feeling like I in a dream De misty greyness
I touching the walls to see if they real
They solid to de seam
And de people pouring from de underground system
Like beans
And when I look up to de sky
I see Lord Nelson high - too high to lie.
And is so I sending home photos of myself
Among de pigeons and de snow
And is so I warding off de cold
And is so, little by little
I begin to change my calypso ways
Never visiting nobody
Before giving them clear warning
And waiting me turn in queue
Now, after all this time
I get accustom to de English life
But I still miss back-home side
To tell you de truth
I don't know really where I belaang
Yes, divided to de ocean
Divided to de bone
Wherever I hang me knickers - that's my home.

My gran visits England


My Gran was a Caribbean lady
As Caribbean as could be
She came across to visit us
In Shoreham by the sea.
She'd hardly put her suitcase down
when she began a digging spree
Out in the back garden
To see what she could see
And she found:
That the ground was as groundy
That the frogs were as froggy
That the earthworms were as worthy
That the
That the
That the
as those

weeds were as weedy


seeds were as seedy
bees were as busy
back home

And she paused from her digging


And she wondered
And she looked at her spade
And she pondered
Then she stood by a rose
As a slug passed by her toes
And she called to my Dad
as she struck pose after pose,
'Boy, come and take my photo the place cold,
But wherever there's God's earth, I'm at home.'
From Under the Moon and Over the Sea.

Skin Teeth

Not every skin-teeth


is a smile "Massa"
if you see me smiling
when you pass
if you see me bending
when you ask
know that i smile
know that i bend
only the better
to rise and strike again

JOHN AGARD
Listen Mr Oxford don
Me not no Oxford don
me a simple immigrant
from Clapham Common
I didnt graduate
I immigrate
But listen Mr Oxford don
Im a man on de run
and a man on de run
is a dangerous one
I ent have no gun
I ent have no knife
but mugging de Queens English
is the story of my life
I dont need no axe
to split/ up yu syntax
I dont need no hammer
to mash/ up yu grammar
I warning you Mr Oxford don
Im a wanted man
and a wanted man
is a dangerous one
Dem accuse me of assault
on de Oxford dictionary/
imagine a concise peaceful man like me/
dem want me serve time
for inciting rhyme to riot
but I rekking it quiet
down here in Clapham Common
Im not a violent man Mr Oxford don
I only armed wit mih human breath
but human breath
is a dangerous weapon
So mek dem send one big word after me

I ent serving no jail sentence


I slashing suffix in self defence
I bashing future wit present tense
and if necessary
I making de Queens English accessory/ to my offence
JOHN AGARD
from Mangoes and Bullets, Serpents Tail, 1985

FRED DAGUIAR
Letter From Mama Dot
Born on a sunday
in the kingdom of Ashante
Sold on monday
into slavery
Ran away on tuesday
cause she born free
Lost a foot on wednesday
when they catch she
Worked all thursday
till her head grey
Dropped on friday
where they burned she
Freed on saturday
in a new century

Mama Dot
Born on a Sunday
in the kingdom of Ashante
Sold on Monday
into slavery
Ran away on Tuesday
cause she born free
Lost a foot on Wednesday
when they catch she
Worked all Thursday
till her head turned grey
Dropped on Friday
where they burned she
Freed on Saturday
in a new century