I am a Jamaican writer. I write poems (haiku & haibun), stories & essays about climate change, Marcus Garvey, music icons such as Bob Marley, and the craft of writing through personal reflection & societal engagement.
The first time I met Bob was in 1976, after the release of Natty Dread. By this time, Bob had risen from the streets of Trenchtown to become an international superstar, bringing his messages of Rastafari, spirituality, freedom, and revolution to the global stage. Yet, despite his fame, Bob remained a “grounds bredrin,” who I'd often spot driving his Volkswagon van or his BMW through the streets of Mona.
Permission to Know Our History:
In a recent exposé by The Guardian, "Florida school requires parental consent for pupils to listen to Black author’s book," the author outlines the confusion caused by Governor Ron DeSantis's enactment of the "Stop Woke Act" in 2022. ("Florida School Requires"). This legislation dictates the parameters around discussing race and related issues in educational settings, which some critics contend is an attempt to erase the historical memory of African Americans. As a result of the law, many schools in Dade County have resorted to mandating parental consent for student engagement in Black History Month activities.
Bob Marley: One Love
I just saw the new Bob Marley biopic yesterday and loved it! It captured Bob's journey from a fatherless "half-caste" bwai to becoming the leading messenger of Rastafari and a beacon of Black redemption. Bob Marley: One Love was faithful to that spirit and struggle.
When I Say "One Love":
A few weeks ago, a friend asked me why I use “One Love” in my emails and why I autograph my books with “One Love.” I was caught off guard, and if you can believe it, I was speechless. And I soon realized there was a disconnect between our mutual understanding of “One Love.”
Bob Marley's Journey of Love:
Something strange happened to me a few weeks ago while I was driving on the Florida Turnpike and listening to my Bob Marley playlist. Three songs – "Concrete Jungle," "Is This Love," and "Jamming" – played back-to-back revealed Marley's evolving contemplation of love. While not strictly following the chronological order of the release of his albums, this journey showcases Marley's deepening insight into the nature of love.
Bob Marley and the 7 Chakras
For many, the name Bob Marley conjures up the caricature of a party-going, ganja-smoking Rastaman. For others, it evokes the image of a freedom fighter dedicated to peace and brotherhood. During his brief but intense career, Marley was both. Even now, many years after his transition, his music is known and appreciated by people who couldn’t name another reggae musician if they had to. Perhaps that’s because Marley was more than just a pop singer.
The Poetic Backbeat
John Lennon once proclaimed that impactful songwriting means to “Say what you mean, make it rhyme, and put a backbeat to it” (Lennon). Yet Lennon’s advice should not be limited to writing pop songs--it also offers guidance for composing free verse poetry. For although free verse, unlike sonnets, lacks rhyme schemes and rhythmic meter, it uses literary techniques to create rhythmic effects that convey meaning with symbolic resonance akin to the backbeat in music.
- Runner-Up in Abecedarian Challenge
Marcus Garvey's Light of FreedomRunner-Up in Abecedarian Challenge
1. "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots." 2. "Black Star Line. I am going home on the Black Star Line. I am going home, going home, I am going home, sweet home on the Black Star Line."
- Top Story - January 2024
The Persistence of GreenTop Story - January 2024
Ever since the lockdown, my morning routine has been to read the newspapers, eat breakfast with my wife, and take a long walk through Greynolds Park, where I usually write a haiku or two, and then I head back home for lunch.