Thursday, October 1, 2015

PERCEPTIONS IN THE AFRICAN DIASPORA 101: Latinos of African Descent Part I

copyright 2014 K. Omodele

"From lack of knowledge my people shall perish."  ~His Imperial Majesty Haile Seassie I

A youth cornered me the other day, talking about his girl.
"She's Puerto Rican and Black", he said, skinning his teeth with pride.  "Model chick -exotic." (His words, not mine)
I saw us 'bout to crash, so I grabbed the wheel, tried steering us toward some semblance or understanding.
"She's a Black Latina?"  My tone urged us to consider his statement more closely. "Like , Latina Negra?"
But his brows narrowed and he mashed the gas - BLAM - head first, straight into a wall of "schupidness."  (As old time people
used to say)
"Nah. Her mama Black and her daddy Puerto Rican."

"In the abundance of water the fool is thirsty"~Bob Marley
Jah knows in this day and age of information, this kind of miseducation is a mosquito NNNINGing in my ears.  Even the
media is at times remiss concerning the differences between nationality and race.  Latin American*  countries such as Puerto Rico, Cuba, Columbia and Brazil are populated by people of various races and even mixed races.  Hispanic (or Latino) is an ethnicity not a race.

Saying someone is Hispanic** or Latino*** indicates that he or she is from a country that was once colonized by Spain or Portugal and that they speak Spanish or Portuguese.  How can a person look Hispanic or Latino when these terms don't specify ancestry - whether Amerindian****; African, European; or even mixed ancestry like Mestizo (European and Amerindian) or mulatto (African and European)?
Take for instance Shakira and Celia Cruz (R.I.P). Both are Latinas, but because of their different ancestries, they don't share a similar "Hispanic/Latina look."  Just like in the U.S. or U.K., the people of Latin American countries immigrated from all over the world, for various reasons in different seasons.  And yes, some of these Latin Americans are of African descent.

Sources - Webster's Third New International Dictionary
* Latin American - those parts of the Americas colonized by the Spanish or Portuguese:  of relating to countries of North, Central and South America whose chief languages are Romance Languages (excluding French)
**Hispanic (Latin Hispanicus. from Hispania- Spain Iberian Peninsula + Latin .cus =ic)- Relating to or derived from the people, speech, or culture of Spain or of Spain or Portugal:  often Latin American
***Latino- Latin American
****Amerindian- American Indian (Writer's note: Indian of the Americas; not restricted to U.S. Native Americans)

Part II- African Diaspora 101 - Latinos of African Descent


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Caribbean Poetry: An African Proverb (It Takes A Village To Raise A Child)

                                              Caribbean Poetry: An African Prover 
                                               (Takes a Village to Raise a Child)
                                                    copyright 2015 K. Omodele

It takes a village to raise a child,
In my tribe, loyalties deep and overflow like the Nile
My women- fierce lionesses, bare panther paws-
fang and claw for the light, Yaa Asantewas.*
Queens rinse man-children's feet that done danced with jinn
Violets firm facing 'gainst tree-uprootin' winds
Aunt-ies, Cousins, Sisters, Earths, Moons and Soil
I salute my whole tribe that did raise a child.

You know this village done raised a child
who turned away, an' SPLURT a mad dash fi di wild?
But my tribe's fire lighted paths, beaconed and called
Omowale- son returned like the Prodigal.
When my tribe's seeds spring forth, Earth's nurture fruit
A child's name- first thought so that word breathes Truth
The Son Rises- Omodele- sound em-powers youth
This village raised a child; 'ey, Yo Tribe...SALUTE!

* Asantewa~ Asante/Ashanti Queen who fought against the British in the Ashanti Wars.

K. Omodele

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Caribbean Short Story: Mother To Son (of Comrades and Thieves)

              Caribbean Short Story: Mother To Son (Comrades and Thieves)
                                    copyright 2015 K. Omodele
The evening before he was to march in the Cooperative Republic's Youth Mass Games, a mother ironed her son's newer, khaki school pants as the boy buttered his supper bread. They lived in a 'big yard' with three other board houses, each divided into apartments. While the sun ducked below the tropical skyline of zinc* roofs, coconut and mango trees, the mother lowered her voice and told her ten-year-old son:
"This whole Mass Games business is some play-play, Mao Zedong - Red Brigade type a thing." She squared her eyes sternly on the ironing board; shook her head. "Only thing, our youth have black and brown faces and West Indian lingo.**"
Giving his lemongrass tea time to cool, the boy gobbled a mouthful of butter bread, half-listening to his mother. His shoulders ached and his wrists were a 'lil bit sore from lashing sixes and hooking fours during recess earlier that day.
"Oh, an' the Prime Minister, Comrade Leader, preachin' socialism an' robbin' the country blind, same time." She ironed with smooth but forceful strokes like Clive Lloyd defending the wicket.

Wrapping her words with hushed tones, she reminded him. "You see how they lock up yuh Uncle and your Auntie?" Knotted her speech with short strings of grumbling. "And for what? Eh? Talkin' his mind and tellin' de truth?"
Life in the yard was like mackerel in a tin; always bent her up whenever neighbors got loud and made their quarrels everybody-in-the-yard's business. She'd shrill out in her little, fine voice. "Man, why yuh big an' brawlin' so? You don't have no broughtupcy*** or what?"
But this evening her whispering didn't wear no gown of decency, no; it was fashioned in the fact that subversive talk might drift through spaces between shanty wall-boards and be carried off as conspiracies, way-far beyond the tenement yard.
Her son sipped his tea and she held her breath- it might burn him. When it didn't, she carried on.
"I have a good mind keep you home tomorrow, yuh hear? No Mass Games. No marchin'. No nothin'"

He sipped the tea. It wanted more sugar but she had done stirred in two spoons already- she might flip. He stole a glance. She wasn't looking, just set the iron upright.
"But if you don't march, they goin' kick you out the school? They wouldn't do that, would they? Before you take Common Entrance?"**** She turned her back and draped his school pants neatly over the wobbly-legged Berbice chair.
Quicker than a wharf-rat, he snuck another heaping spoonful from the sugar tin, dumped and swirled.

She threaded a needle. Knotted the thread and took up is clothes-line dried school shirt. "People at the plant done sayin' how the Opposition too damn ungrateful." She placed a new-bought school crest over the shirt pocket, where she'd removed the worn-out one, and began stitching. "'Bout how, if it wasn't for Comrade Leader we might still be using Pound an' Shilling. And how if the government lock up all a we Alliance backside up, it would a serve we Rodney-rass right."
She bored and pulled as she spoke- face tense. Gored and pulled.
"You finish?" She asked, getting up. She came over to her son calmly.
He nodded. Pushed back his chair, plate empty.
She shot him a stinging box***** across his shoulder. "Think I didn't see you thief more sugar behind me back?"

*corrugated tin sheets
** Caribbean dialect
*** good behavior; wasn't brought up (raised) with good ways
**** a placement exam to leave primary school and enter high school; taken by students throughout the former British West Indies
***** slap


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Christianity in Ancient Africa: Part III (Nubian Kingdoms)

                             Christianity in Ancient Africa: Part III (Nubian Kingdoms)
                                                 copyright 2015 K. Omodele

Nubia Before Christianity: Kingdom of Kush (Napata and Meroe)
Nubia was the region south of the First (and at times the Third) Cataract* up the River Nile and was located in present-day Sudan. Around 1000 B.C., Nubian kings began building a kingdom that would become known as Kush. In 730 B.C., Kushite kings conquered and ruled Egypt for sixty years as the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, which later would also be known as the Ethiopian Dynasty. In 670 B.C.,  Assyrians invaded Egypt and pushed the Kushites back up into Nubia, where the kings then built their new capital, Napata, right below the Fourth Cataract. Then, later in 593 B.C., they moved even further south and founded Meroe between the Fifth and Sixth Cataracts.

Throughout history, Nubians constantly fought against various rulers of Egypt who tried to muscle their way up the Nile and flex their authority on Nubia. But Nubia was relentless in its defense and Nubian kingdoms became proficient in trade with the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. By the First Century A.D., the Nubian (Kushite) Kingdom at Meroe had grown wealthy and powerful, and clashed against the Roman army in towns like Syene which sat by the disputed, contended Nubian-Egyptian border.

Christianity in Nubia (Kingdoms of Makurra, Noba, Soba and Alwa)
Though some of the early Egyptian Christians ran up into Nubia, escaping Roman persecution, it wasn't until the Sixth-Century A.D. that Christianity took root more widely when Monophysite Christians missioned south. By this era, Nubia was comprised of three kingdoms: Noba, Makurra and Soba. All three became versed in the Monophysite, monastic traditions and they developed a Nubian Christian culture that reflected their Kushite/Meroic ancestry. For instance, churches, monasteries and palaces constructed of stone and wood; pottery crafted and painted in Meroic styles and patterns.

After Arab Islamists conquered the Byzantine (Eastern Roman Empire) rulers of Egypt in 642 A.D.,
they then turned their sights on Nubia. When they attacked the united kingdoms of Makurra and Noba, they were stopped dead in their tracks by a large Nubian army comprised of ferocious archers. Christian Nubia would remain intact for hundreds of years. Then in the Fourteenth Century, Arab nomads Islamized Lower Nubia (Makurra and Noba). A century later, the Funji Sultanate gradually did the same in Alwa, Upper Nubia.

Christianity in Egypt and Africa existed long before there was ever a Protestant, Presbyterian, Jehovah Witness, Baptist or Anglican. In fact, Africans in certain regions have propagated and defended, even died for, the Faith. When someone states that Christianity is a European religion, they are making a false claim. Christianity in Africa is practically as old as Christianity itself. Even though it has been presented in the West (and to West Africans) in a Eurocentric frame, Europe was not the origin of Christianity. Knowing the full story sheds light on misconception.
Knowledge. Wisdom. Understanding.

* waterfall or cascade

Christianity in Ancient Africa Part I - Egypt Under Graeco Roman Rule

Christianity in Ancient Africa Part II - The Egyptian Coptic Church; Christianity in Kingdom of Aksum

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Christianity in Ancient Africa: Part II- (Egyptian Coptic; and The Aksum Empire)

 Christianity in Ancient Africa: Part II (Egyptian Coptic; The Aksum Empire)
                         Copyright 2015 K. Omodele

The Egyptian Coptic Church
Many Egyptian Christians in the first centuries A.D. followed the Monophysite doctrine which emphasized that Christ was divine and couldn't be a regular human being. Knowing that ancient Egyptians believed some of their pharaohs were gods incarnate, it's understandable how their religious thinking was conducive to the idea of God within man or God with us (man). However, the newly-formed Roman church heralded the duality of Christ's nature-Deophysitism, that he was human and divine at the same time. This doctrine was spread like wildfire throughout the Roman Empire, which reached around the Mediterranean world from North Africa all the way to Western Europe.

The Roman church sought to force this concept on North African Donatists* and Egyptian Christians, eventually declaring Monophysitism "heresy" in 451 A.D. Texts written by early Egyptian Christian scholars that didn't fall in line with the Roman Church's doctrine were labeled Gnostic**, and were not accepted by the Roman canon.

As a result, Egypt's early Christians created their own Coptic Church and made their local Coptic language the official language of their independent church (breaking from Rome and Latin). The Egyptian Coptics unrepentantly upheld their monastic tradition and a distinctive Christian culture soon emerged in the land. These Egyptian Christians are among the earliest adherents in Christendom. And unlike the Roman church with its bags of schisms and institutionalisms, the Coptic church has remained constant to this day.

The Kingdom of Aksum (Axum)
Aksum existed in the area that is now Ethiopia and Eritrea. In the Sixth Century B.C., Sabean people crossed the Red Sea from Saba (present day Yemen) on the Arabian Peninsula. They settled in the foothills and valleys of the Ethiopian Highlands, intermarried the Cushitic-speaking Africans and gradually meshed into a distinct, local culture with its own language called Ge'ez from which modern Amharic is derived.
Skilled in agriculture and trading, The Aksum or Axum Empire grew prosperous and the kingdom became a powerful state by the First Century A.D. Though its capital was located inland, Aksum's Red Sea port, Adulis, thrived in trade and exported as far north as Persia.

Christianity in The Aksum / Axum Empire
Around 335 A.D., the Aksum King Ezana was introduced  to Christianity by Egyptian Christians. Ethiopian tradition also tells that a ship-wrecked Syrian Christian, Frumentius, was taken to Ezana and introduced the king to Christianity. In any case, Aksum adopted Christianity and formed the Aksum church, although Judaism had existed there centuries before Christ, especially among the Beta Israel or Falasha.
During the next Millennium, the Aksum / Ethiopian Church maintained strong ties with its Egyptian brother- Ethiopia's arch bishop was appointed from the Egyptian Coptic Church. Even so, the Ethiopian Church developed unique traditions based on its own culture. Some of these characteristics are: religious paintings depicting Ethiopian characters, saints and images; original texts written in Ge'ez then later in Amharic; African-styled drumming; and churches in Lalibela carved from solid rock. Many of this church's practices are steeped in Old Testament rituals. Examples are circumcision, abstaining from pork, the Order of Melchezedek, and the tradition of Zadok the High Priest.

*Christian sect in North Africa circa 311 A.D. to the 7th Century; taught that the effectiveness of the sacraments depended on the moral character of those administering them.
**gnostic- 1. relating to or possessing spiritual or intellectual knowledge. 2. Of or relating to Gnosticism, mysticism, insight above faith
*** The Afro-Asiatic language of the Copts.
Copts- Natives of Egypt descended from ancient Egyptian stock

Christianity in Ancient Africa Part I- Intro (Egypt Under Graeco-Roman Rule)

Christianity in Ancient Africa Part III- Christianity in Nubia (the Kingdoms of Noba, Makurra and Alwa)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Christianity in Ancient Africa: Part I

                           Christianity in Ancient Africa: Part I
                                  copyright 2014 K. Omodele

With political friction sparking in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt over the past few years, religious tribalism ignited when fanatics claiming Islam attacked Christians, and destroyed Melkite and Coptic churches in these ancient lands. Wait! Hold up! Christians in Egypt? Soon as we hear the word "Christianity," many of us begin thinking: Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican, even Mormon. Say "Christianity in Africa" and image certain images jump up in our minds: European missionaries converting villagers, fattening them up for the colonial kill.

Yes, Eurocentric Christian traditions are definitely perpetuated in the West. However, Egypt in the First Century A.D. was home to many of the early scholars and thinkers who shaped Christian concepts. African Christian societies existed in Aksum (Axum) and Nubia long before most Europeans even heard of Yeshua*. And when we learn the plight of grass root Egyptians under Graeco-Roman rule, we get a firmer understanding of Egyptians' embracing Christianity.

Egypt Under Graeco-Roman Rule
In 332 B.C., the Greek army of Alexander conquered and colonized Egypt, enforcing a tax system on the Egyptian peasantry that was much harsher than the one imposed by the Egyptian pharaohs. Then when the Romans took over Egypt around 30 B.C., their system was even more rigid and exploitive. The Roman Empire ruled without regard for the humanity of the Egyptian peasant. The abject oppression had many Egyptians marooning from their fields- rather turn into a bandit in defiance than beggar or a slave to the Roman system. It was in this setting, in the First Century A.D., that the Apostle Mark established one of the earliest Christian diocese.

Christianity quickly garnered appeal amongst some of those Egyptians most subjugated by the Romans, offering a sense of hope to the down-trodden, promising deliverance to sufferers who endured affliction in life. Early Christians in Egypt shunned the materialism perpetuated by the Roman Empire and preferred living in isolated communes. They developed a tradition of self reliance. They prayed and meditated intensely, contemplating the complexities of the human spirit.

The Romans definitely considered these early Christians an extremist sect. Being Christian those days meant being viewed as a rebel, a subversive element, a threat to the status quo- the Roman way of life. They were deemed radicals against the Roman machine; so, thousands of these early Christians were persecuted mercilessly, martyred through centuries until the emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and established it an official religion. In 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicaea, Constantine then called for the the Roman church to follow one common doctrine.

*Yeshua is Hebrew (the man was Jewish). The Greeks called him Iesous, which became Jesus to the Romans. Jesus is the Latin derivation of Iesous which came from Yeshua, his actual Hebrew name.

Christianity in Ancient Africa Part II- The Egyptian Coptic Church; Christianity in The Kingdom of Aksum (Axum)

Christianity in Ancient Africa Part III- Christianity in Nubia (the Kingdoms of Noba, Makurra and Alwa)

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Birthday Letter to Marcus Garvey

                                                  Earthday Letter to Marcus
                                                  Copyright 2015 K. Omodele

Most Right and Honorable Marcus Mosiah,
Greetings I bring on your 128th Earthstrong*. May the Most High, Jah, shower you infinitely with eternal blessings. Your message has lived on and your impact on the lives of millions all over the Earth illustrates brightly that word - sound is power. Before you ascended, humbly, seventy-five years ago, you told us we could find you in the whirlwinds...Some of us may have wondered whether waves of time might wash away your gigantic footprint.

Emphatically I say, this is not so. Many of us have not forgotten, will never forget. History strung up a lynching but ourstory absolves you. We, the People, trumpet your sound through the ages- even this one of information. Avenues and schools, world-wide, bear your name. We write and sing songs about you; read and write books that convey your story- ourstory (you said we should uplift and celebrate our own heroes). Marcus Mosiah, in Ghana (the former Gold Coast) the flag and the national football team are called the Black Star**; in Jamaica you are the first National Hero; in Rasta you are Prophet, complementing Priest and King.

We herald the principles for which you stood on-square. You uplift us still, inspiring us to see in ourselves the image of God. You shouted that there's nothing the mind can imagine that man cannot accomplish- did you ever imagine the U.S. could elect a Black president, one with an African name at that? And now there's an African Union, but Jah knows we could use your leadership there. Oh, did you see your beloved West Indies when we tried the Federation? Petty minds got in our way but you done already know how that goes. Now Caricom is our feeble response to your call for regional unity.

It's not an easy road we've travelled and we still have a mighty long way to go. But rest assured, Ababa Mose, your sons and daughters stand firm, work proud, walk with our heads high; as we trod Jah Earth your spirits breathes within us. Have a most blessed earthday.

Kaya Omodele

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Abeng Caribbean Poetry: My Church Street Yard (Ode For Ivah)

Copyright 2015 K. Omodele

A black-thorn rose in meh Church Street  yarden.
Smiles bloom there once, then ruff winds hardened.
Wish time would roll back so
I'd mek my old yard know
It's the one place in the whole, wide world I go
when my days darken.
I got meh Church Street yard, now
fold-up in my heart, though
-ripped, torn and broken.

For my cousin- a man named Ivor.
In 'membrance of our final reasoning 'pon de phone,
gyaffin' clear 'cross de Pond:

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the
darkness conscious."~ Carl Jung

Rest now, my blood.
One Love,

Saturday, August 1, 2015

EMANCIPATION DAY: Free Our Minds From Mental Slavery

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds."~ Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Jah Bless, Bredren, Sistren, massives and crowd of people; today is Emancipation Day. On August the First, 1834, slaves in the British West Indies were emancipated, which was a big thing then and should still be a big thing to all a we now. Why this should matter to we now- 181 years later?

Well, "a people without knowledge of their history is like a tree without roots." (Malcolm X) And, if we focus only on where we going without having a clue 'bout where we been, we might walk 'round in circles not recognizing we done already trod down this or that road before. Since life is about growth and development, humanity must learn from and improve upon its past.

Whole heap of lessons can be learned from the institution of chattel slavery, too numerous to name them all - from economic exploitation to ethnocentricism. But for me, the most illuminating principles learned from studying our past is to first see, then respect the humanity in people; resist those dehumanizing thoughts and labels that enable subjugation of others. As that old Bob Marley chune goes, "Woe to the downpressor (oppressor), they eat the bread of sorrow..."

There are seven billion people in Jah world. There is only One Love.
Have a Onederful Emancipation Day.

Monday, July 27, 2015


                                          copyright 2015 K. Omodele

When Kenny sent the invitation, the kings were tickled by the gold calligraphy and trimming and the request to R.S.V.P. But family is family, y'hear, so that sabbatical morning Irie, I-bo and Bongo drove from New York to D.C., a three-hour ride that stretched out to five due to them getting stopped and searched twice on I-95. By the time they parked at Union Station, they' just missed the ceremony.
Draped in flowing white Rastafarian robes and turbans, they caught sight of all them stiff-necked senator and dignitary types and realized:
"One day when we bent up and gray, we going laugh at this."
"Right. Laugh 'til we belly buss."
A sign pointed out the Clarke and Weatherman Wedding. The followed it like Wise Men trailing the Eastern Star and entered a world of glass walls and marble floors, where spectacular chandeliers loomed over linen-clothed tables. Someone greeted them and they were ushered to a table carded with their government names, while Black D.C. aristocracy, which now resided out in Montgomery and P.G. Counties, sat frozen with jaws bouncing off the polished floor and eyes spread wide as poached egg whites, taking in the sight of the three kings in dreadlocked beards. One king strapped with a Kete drum.
Joanna, the shiny bride jumped up, grabbed her gown tail and burst a sprint over before anybody could blink. Kenny trudged stiffly behind her.
"Glad you guys made it," she said. "Bongo, you gotta beat the drum for me-"
"Kete. Is a Kete drum." He placed the wooden, hand-painted drum on the white linen table cloth.
Kenny hailed them up, laughing nervously. "Bredren, you just had to walk with the drum? Here? Today?"
Joanna shooed him. "Of course they did." Then she announced, "Everyone, these are Kenrick's two brothers and his cousin, my brand-new In-Laws."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Caribbean Poetry: Calypso (in Tennessee)
       copyright 2014 K. Omodele


So, they're footin' it, side by side, shiverin'
'cross this Chat Town bridge with
pinkened lights, above, mellowing the
late-October dusk.
When they stop, toe the rail
overlookin' a docked-
grounded riverboat hotel,
she whispers, "It 'pose to be possessed; y'know, like haunted."
Then in her smile's incandescent wake the runnin' river shimmers
and the whole surroundin', suffocatin' city lights.

Then when she clutches his arm and
enwraps nippy fingers with hers,
it's like love-cravin' legs, like thighs,
her ankles encircling his back,
drawin' him in close, urgin'
"I'm try'na leave. Nex' time you go home,
PLEASE, take me with you!"

And this is the moment she begins, finally,
easing through his board and zinc fence.
Slips in, slow-ly, inching her way in
for the first time- she, spirited songbird
coos down his soul, entwines their thoughts,
titillates dreams, massages his need
to be needed; caressing wanting.

"Ain't no rush," he'd told her a while before
but both now realise she can masquerade no more
her lingering itch- her longing for
stimulating moments brimming over with Being
followed by endless wide-eyed
world-wide, whirl-wind tomorrows.

Now, face to face, their breathing flutters
hummingbirds suspended
her excitement building,
long, deep-strokin', Rapture-floodin'-a
moon-soaked beach-in-a-hammock-under-
his-palm-tree nights...
Temperature risin' now, beats throbbin' hot
Rubbin her up- this tropical riddim
tweakin' her treble, reverbin' her bass
pumpkin pumpin', pulsatin' her sumthin'
gradually sweetin', she- ripenin' papaw-
Tempo increasin', gatherin', growin'
now hurricane surgin'
'pon Carnival steel, pulse
pan, pangin'; pannin' and bangin'
slammin and rammin'
jammin' steamily
yearnin'. for. MORE:

Stars Bright
Moonbeams SPARK
gush thru she heart
Now gallops settle and trot
trembles. sighs. still, now.
Eyes fill with wonder
mind graspin'
pantin'. gaspin'.
She breathless,
Kai so ca lypso
all up in she

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Catharsis II - The Lost Colony (Rymes in D-Flat)
copyright 2014 K. Omodele

See that blood in their eyes?
red ink scripts their rage        
Them blood-fire hearts?
spit flames, scorch up page.
See them weapEns they holdin' like         
Shaka's altered spear?
pick Truth from scabbed wounds 'til
pus oozes, sores air.
Life's stumbles, flat falls?
bruise, etch, batik, stain,
write selves off them knees
dye canvasses rain.
They write 'cause minds barred-in must build in blocks,
Writing absolves scarred-up guilt in blocks,
Verbs purge, nouns foil, in cipher* guilds and flocks,
Stagnate in the box a dream wilts and rots.
They write characters smelted from building blocks
Granite Rocks molten, ethos smithed in hok
Weatherbeaten from storms, ships refuged in-docks
Paradox, they find peace weighin' sin in blocks.
Dormant time is unforgiving like jilted frocks
Themes and plots, narratives tilted clocks
Yielded Glocks, pens now wield in blocs,
Fury and sound settle like silt in lochs.
This is a wright-ers' clique/ with Sonny's Blues
Feelin' zoras and mckays/ kincaids and hughes.
* gathering of MC's, poets in a rap/spoken word session.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


                                                               copyright 2014 K. Omodele

"Now when I was a little boy my favorite ring game was this...winey, winey/winey, winey..." /
~Peeny Peeny by Shabba Ranking
As a youth in primary school* I had a rough time concentrating on defending my wicket, or bending a cross from the corner, whenever the girls formed a circle in the school compound and started chanting and, ahhhm, dancing. I can't count the amount of wickets we boys left stranded, or footballs rolling lonely on a sudden-emptied field, as we rushed to join the girls in the ring. Full of mannishness, we sang               
                                                  There's a brown girl in the ring, tra-la-la-la-la....
Whether she black or brown or surnamed Singh never mattered to me. The girl in the ring would prance 'round the circle of boys and girls while eyeing up a partner. Whenever we got to the part
                                                         ...'cause she like sugar and I like plum...
she'd stop her 'lil false-shy self in front of whosoever she liked and pose up with her hands on her hips. Then, as we sang
                                                    Now, let me see your motion, Tra-la-la-la-la
                                                        Show me your motion, tra-la-la-la-la-la...
she'd buss a wine.** Bare Precociousness. Listen, nuh man! I was a force-ripe pickney*** myself; so, I had no problem wining back. Worse yet if it was Miss-what-she-name, or Miss-you-know-who.
My favorite ring game went like this
Gypsy in the moonlight, Gypsy in the zoo/ Gypsy never come home till half-past two/So walk in Gypsy walk in, walk in thru my door/And turn to your partner and show them what you do...
By the time we got to this part, Miss Gypsy in the ring would done find a partner and with that last command, she would show how she could get on bad; indeed, rolling she hips and singing in response
                                          I do not love no-bo-dy/ Nobody love me too...
When you check it out in truth, future dancehall queens learned to bubble right there in them ring games. Notice ladies! In protecting the not-so-innocent and bare precocious, I never called no names. I just fling stone in a pen. Whichever goat bawl out, is she get lick.
        Small days, still on my mind....

* Primary school is grade one to six (elementary school in the US)
**wine- also, wind. As in winding the hips and waistline
***force-ripe pickney is a child who acts "fresh", too grown for his/her age

Saturday, December 13, 2014


                Seven Nelson Mandela "Tata Madiba" Quotes We Love

When it comes to inspirational quotes, Tata Madiba was as thoughtful in choosing his words as he was careful in implementing his plans, knowing he was setting an example. Though laden with introspection, these quotes possess an undeniable universal appeal.
1. "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the ability to triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

2. "Do not judge me by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

3. "It always feels impossible until it is done."

4. "Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people."

5. "No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end."

6. "Poverty, like apartheid, is not natural; it is man made."

7. "Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ABENG CARIBBEAN POETRY: Nefertiti's Egyptian-Cotton Sundress

  Nefertiti's White Egyptian-Cotton Sundress
  copyright 2013 K.Omodele


Nefertiti never filled 
a white, Egyptian-cotton sundress
with s'much breath-taking grace and copper-toned form.
In that Egyptian-cotton white dress
her smile couldna swelled her King's heart so, like the noon sun
have him clutching her hand, tight so, up Georgia Avenue.
If her King coulda seen what this King here knew-
that vibrant, white sundress on radiant you,
he woulda traded all Egypt
that Georgia Ave. noon...
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