Bree SST9 Final Draft

5 Jul

Out of Africa


Master has stripped us clean

of everything we own,

trying to break the links to our home.

We are taken Out of Africa

but our memories must stay as strong

as the chains

that bind us to to this ship,

sailing towards the Caribbean Sea.


We are sold to a man

who had failed in his own land.

An army deserter, cast out by his family,

for the shame. Sent to oversee slaves

on their sugar plantation,

he has ideas about his station.

His deficiencies wrapped up

in the whip he carries everywhere,

whilst the perennial sun

watches us become

another commodity to share.


The English – they like their tea

with a little sweetness

and subjugation stirred in.

So, we cut the cane

and we crush the cane.

He cuts our skin

and crushes us with lashes

if we ever dare complain.


I have seen people’s

heads bashed in

with blunt edges of axes.

Burned alive,

their bodies slowly roasted.

Strung up, cut down

and fed to dogs –

for the most minor of infractions.


The masters celebrate every year,

A carnival of excess

– and we are not invited.

So, we steal pans from his kitchen

to make drum beats

and dance to create memories

of the space left between

us and our family trees.


The next day,

the master conceals his defeat

behind the fake swagger of a man

emboldened by the rum he swigs.

He makes us eat his leftovers for the week

from a trough, and some of us

do not make it to bed that night.


As the days go by,

I see the master’s wealth multiply,

whilst new mothers

desperately decide

whether to give their newborns up

to infanticide,

or have them endure this life.

Humiliation and fear were unifying

in their ability to inspire defiance.

There are worse things than dying –

and I only have to look into the eyes of a child

to know why.


Our music was a language

built from the remnants of past lives.

A way to balance out

the fear of the approaching day,

with the hope of our emancipation

The roots of the Caribbean Carnival

were planted here,

to push against an existence

forced upon us

It Nottingham Carnival 2014.

Wining and gyrating

have been replaced

with whining and berating,

as people argue over a £2 entrance fee

Leave your pettiness in the queue please


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