Some weeks ago, an aunt living overseas messaged me to say she’d just finished watching a program featuring emergency-room activities in one of Jamaica’s leading public hospitals. She asked if I’d seen it. I hadn’t. I promised I would watch. I watched, and was disturbed.
The program featured a side of Jamaica most Jamaicans wish didn’t exist. It’s a dark side found in many countries, no matter if we call ourselves first world, third world or in between.
It’s a dark side we get on our knees about, have street marches and rallies about, talk on our verandahs about, amend laws about, intervene in schools and communities about. It’s one of those stains requiring slow and meticulous treatment to get rid of.
Today’s poetic offering was written years before I watched this program, but is still quite relevant, I believe.
Fatherhood: At the Crossroads
How do I tell my yout’ of the men I’ve murdered,
of the women I’ve raped?
How do I tell my yout’ dat I want him to do good
when I’ve done bad?
How do I tell my yout’ to treat women right
when I mek him modda wash my bloody clothes and slap her roun’ when she refuse?
How do I tell my yout’ to stay in school
and to make the most of him education
when, with all the money I’ve stolen,
I neva used one cent to go back and do my subjects?
How do I tell my yout’ to live and love God
when I neva yet read him a verse from that open Bible on my night table?
How do I tell my yout’ to trust people
when I talk everyday seh I don’t even trust myself?
How do I tell my yout’ to be a good father when him come of age,
when I chuck him in him chest everyday and tell him seh him too bad?
How do I tell my yout’ to grow up to be somebody
when I cut him down daily by telling him seh him worthless?
How do I tell my yout’ to love people
when I neva tell him I love him?
©Dionne Brown 2016
Catch yuh next time.
Peace and love,
Image of “Father and Son” is courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net