Jamaicans have an amazing thing called “tek serious tings mek laugh” – in other words, making something humorous out of something serious. It’s a kind of coping mechanism that works well, even in the most dreadful and trying of times. And Lord knows, Jamaica has been through many such times.

Here is a poem by Michael Abrahams that may not be very accessible to non-Jamaican readers, since it is written entirely in patois. It is a biting commentary on the state of Jamaican politics and society. It is satire, and it is also a protest. Mikey brilliantly covers all the issues of corruption, lack of transparency, the ruin of the Jamaican economy.

Yes. On this small island, some of us truly live in a bubble. I would add that the bubble has a coating of Teflon. Nothing sticks.


BUBBLE by Michael Abrahams

Dem a wear party shirt an a call out fi Portia

An a wave orange flag like Dutch football supporter

Wave flag through car window an wave flag inna sky

Me haffi wonder if dem a wave dem flag fi fan fly

Fly weh a buzz roun di stench of corruption

Weh a flow like a river widout interruption

Wheels of justice turn slow like turtle

An di stinkness tun up til joncro waan circle

Trafigura an Spencer still inna court

Contractor General give damning report

Mix up and blenda wid Mr.Azan

Ova shop dat set pon government land

People cyaa afford light bill an rent

Unemployment up at sixteen percent

One o two Jamaican fi buy one U.S.

An IMF test nuh stop stress we inna wi economic mess

Millions spen pon Grand Gala fi jump an celebrate

But Glenhope an Windsor cyaa re-open dem gate

While di abuse a wi children tun national pastime

As we all feel di heat from a upsurge in crime

Leader go China an give interview

An look like she lost, like she doh have a clue

Goat Island talks transparent like thick black smoke

Chat bout “two likkle lizard” like wi environment is a joke

Local media kept at bay

Tun off microphone an gwaan di most way

Like seh dem nuh waan we fi know di truth

Wah kinda example dem a set fi wu yute?

Den PJ seh di party need “loving care and attention”


Bout how old tree need “sustenance” fi mek it alright

(But old tree often rotten and harbour parasite)

Wi country pop dung an inna serious trouble

But some a we live inna one big everlasting soundproof titanium reinforced shock-absorbing bubble

A jump an a wave flag bout “tun up di ting”

But all me see around me…




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