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”
BUT A DI PEOPLE OF DIS COUNTRY NEED DI CARE AN DI 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…