Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Poetry: The One And Only Don Cosmic - The Suite


Mind blowin'
Man in the street bringing
a new sound
moving sweaty bodies in the
City heat
even at midnight there's still no
Rastafari dipping in the
Glass Bucket
born under a
Bad sign
never duck it just
roll chance like a
spliff and tuck it
behind your
under your hat
Tilted back casual but never
Dirt n your
blowin' and stirrin' it
in Standard Time
Make you cry
Make you
with wings of a dove
The rest of them playin' hard but
cruisin' above
in your own stratosphere
Just you and the
horn licks bright enough to light up
the Kingston sky
and last for
Half century on it's still
dancing in our ears
droppin' legs
A real island shuffle
melody muted but never
Rythm so
demanding the dancer had to
They try
to say you were mad but
we know how they lie
They said it of
Bedward and Bogle and
even Garvey too
so what else were they
going to do to
but punch a one-way ticket to
But what use is a
against  a flaming heart and a
beautiful mind
shall we see your kind
Modern-day living got so many in a
We've forgotten
that staying loose is a
instead no one trust no one cause
will hurt you
Yet the music that they
it is the healer
Rockfort blues
Kingston rock
From the hills of
Wareika to
the downtown dock
where silent cannons echo
Guns of Navarone
let it be
the spirit
has flown
guard the throne
of the once and forever
king of the trombone
The one and only
Don Cosmic  


in the way of
Jamaican girls
had a fondness for
pet names
and doubtless many others that have not
entered into legend
long since preferring
Notes to names
scarcely mentioned hers
not even on that
fateful night
The air still redolent with the
breaths of a new nation
the clatter of
Morgan's Independence boots still
echoing in the stillness
Oh if only he had clutched
the instrument
and not the knife so tightly
If only he had come to greet her
with a new song
than with the old
A distemper well known to resound
and even overwhelm
that Wareika hovel
But there would be no more artistry that night
and in truth not
For a glorious if troubled career
lay near-impaled upon a
like the fishmonger's daughter
a legacy left hanging
a tantalizing tragedy
luring many in the ensuing decades
drawn by the eerie luminosity of
what might have been 


Don who?
Forty years a 
Daughter of the soil
And yet she had
No clue
So what
Of Alphanso
Brevett and
Sterling the last man
From the era when bands
ruled the musical roost
When spots like
Glass Bucket
Silver Slipper
And La Parisienne
To the stratosphere
with that unique
Through a long-bellied
The reluctant star
The sigh of Trade Winds
melded with lapping
set to the beat of
A mystery to the
Such as she
Now the beat's
throughout the world
Reaching a new generation
Such as the one
she lays to sleep each night
with foreign lullabies
They're already inured to
canned sounds and
empty celebrities
For them
unpredictable Don
And his wanton obscenities
Are a horror show
Worse than
The local news
The hidden majesty of
Drummond's blues
Is lost on them
But the little girl
inside the big exec
Knows better
She'd joyously move to
The ska
If only we'd
Let her


It's not a long trip
As the crow flies
But at Kingston's grand
Theme park of
the John crows circle
The location
Of grave A346 lost 
even to them
Its occupant consigned by the judge to
That seaside resort for
Those deemed to be  
At the point of last resort
But did they leave him be
having discarded him?
Did he terrify them
With new songs?
Did he  - even without his horn - blow phrases that
Confronted them with
their many wrongs
What was handed down
As sentence
Must have been was an escape
At least at first
With Bournemouth in view
And the billowing inter-party war
raging away from him yet all around
But reality
Without the sound was
A desert he couldn't
A Sahara with dunes of
Anita already
Under the earth
And the band in
No one to bother him and
yet no one for whom to
How did he check out
Did he merely yield
the spirit
or did it leap and jump
like a ska melody
anxious to escape
a shower of boots and clubs?
The once and future 
made mortal for but
a moment
His notes ringing clear now
on a much grander

 Justice Fox  presiding
God save the Queen!"
Far though she may be
from the heart of the matter
the strains of
Blue beat swirl
around Buckingham
For the defense
Then young radicals of
The bar
Looking to make
grander names for themselves
Amid the rabid audience
And set the stage
For coming political
With testimony from Corporal Pennycooke, Conchita,
doctors, players
And others who can no longer
tell tales
Insanity a convenient exit
For a crew struggling to
take the wheel
Of a vehicle careening 
toward it's own
The driver having long since
Relinquished control
His gaze fixed on a point
Indiscernible to
Everyone else
The knife a
Signpost pointing out
A cul-de-sac
A sharp change in direction
A double edged
For the Man

The music
The nation

"When the stars threw down their spears 
And water'd heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?"
- The Tyger, William Blake

Few could know then
Among convent tapestries
and fruited grounds
That the unassuming reticent
Had within him
A lion's roar
A fearful symmetry
in sound
Notes decorating pages like
Tiger stripes
Presence massive yet mysterious
On stage like tiger making
silent impressions in
jungle underbrush
The sound a siren
Drawing by the heart
We know not
What comet he rode
to this sphere only
thankful that he
bravely chose
To give voice
To the music that
Only he
Could hear

PLAYBOY did not see fit
DOWNBEAT too missed out
but no doubt they
would have heard
the True poll
with respondents like
Sarah the Divine
and blind Shearing of blessed memory
both of whom placed him
Top 5
They would know that
JJ the pre-eminent
braved the elements
just to hear Drummond
they would see the charts
across the Pond
that set man in the Street
at number 1
Brubeck had to
Take Five
not from fatigue
but because he was
to know
that the Don could take his Out of Time
and turn it
inside out
The sound of
comets abalaze
and planets turning
Coxsone got snippets of
the genius and
stuck him with the tag
Don Cosmic
and Marley took
Eastern Standard Time
and turned it into
"Baldhead" rag
a generation past
and a younger Marsalis
- himself a trombone man -
took a cabbie's word
and was amazed by
what he heard
What a joyous acclamation
in the great beyond
when they can all extend a hand
a word
an acknowledgement
of the Rockfort magician
who fashioned tunes
into gems and
the world  

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Movies: Black Panther Makes History as First Superhero movie to get Best Picture nod

Black Panther” has made history as the first superhero movie to receive an Oscars nomination in the Best Picture category.
The culturally important film celebrating black culture and the African diaspora received a total of seven nominations for the 91st Academy Awards. The nominations were announced by Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani on Tuesday morning.
“Black Panther” also earned nods in the categories for Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Original Score, Best Original Song and Best Production Design. 
Black Panther’s” Best Picture nomination is a first for Marvel Studios. The company celebrated the nod on Twitter shortly after nominations were announced. 
Congratulations to #BlackPanther on its seven Academy Awards nomination including Best Picture!” the Marvel tweet said.
The film, directed by Ryan Coogler, stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya and Forest Whitaker. 
In addition to breaking cultural barriers, “Black Panther” shattered box office records after it hit theaters in February, becoming the highest-grossing superhero film of all time in North America.
In addition to “Black Panther,” 2019 Academy Awards Best Picture nominees are: “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favourite,” “Green Book,” “Roma,” “A Star is Born” and “Vice.”
The 91st annual Academy Awards show will broadcast live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, Feb. 24.


A bass riff
snakes its way across my
reaching down
to impel
my feet to metronomic
as the window dressers flit and fuss
over their
a chunky necklace here
a patterned cinch
a crown of
auburn hair to complete
a mock Burberry
ceaselessly they work these unpaid immobile androids
conspiring equally
with life-size photo-bills
and crudely scrawled cartridge paper
"50% OFF!"
trying to lure the
impressionable and the ones
to make an impression
and all the while that
boppish beat
on unyielding tile floor
ad the jazzy
the paradox of life
Of uncertainty
awaiting my embrace
like a new lover promising
manifold pleasures
but distilled in her own
time and her own


Real job [gottaget 1]
real money[gottahaveit]
real life [gottastayinit - no escape from the coils of conformity
Convention is the
 Death Star of
wheeling inexorably  into
of my own private
my lush imaginary
thickets with callous
choking the azure depths of my
tropical skies
with the disdainful smog of
Deadlines. ultimatums. obligations.
an apocalyptic trio
leaving Death few scornful hoofbeats
in their quest
to decapitate my dreams
and depopulate
my creation

Movies: "Roma" "The Favourite" lead Oscar Noms

“Roma” and “The Favourite” took the lead in the Oscar race, receiving 10 nominations each, including best picture and best lead actress, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its nominees.
In a coup for Netflix, “Roma” became the streaming service’s first best-picture nominee, overcoming debate over whether a film without a significant big-screen release belongs in that category.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Lit: 2019 T.S. Eliot Prize Goes to Debut Collection

Poet Hannah Sullivan has won the prestigious and lucrative TS Eliot prize for her first
collection Three Poems – just the third debut to land the award in its 25-year history, and a sign that the poetry world is hunting for a new generation of voices.
Sullivan, a 39-year-old Londoner who won the £25,000 prize on Monday night, is the third first time poet to take the prize, with all three winning in the last five years: Vietnamese-American Ocean Vuong in 2017 and Chinese-British Sarah Howe in 2015. Before then, the prize had tended to be awarded to more established poets a few collections into their careers, among them Derek Walcott, Carol Ann Duffy, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.
Sullivan, who studied at Cambridge and Harvard, worked as an assistant professor at Stanford, and is now associate professor of English at New College, Oxford. She is unusual in that she had not been widely published in the lead-up to her debut.
“A star is born. Where has she come from?” said chair of judges, poet and previous winner SinĂ©ad Morrissey. “I don’t know her personally, I hadn’t read her in magazines or anywhere else before. She has not come through the usual creative-writing, pamphlet route. She has just arrived, and it is breathtaking. I couldn’t be more delighted if I had won it myself.”
Sullivan’s debut is made up of three lengthy poems: You, Very Young in New York, which explores the lives of various young people, all united by their cynicism and their uncertainty, making their way through unfulfilling relationships and work in the city; Repeat Until Time is an exploration of revision in art and form, Sullivan’s PhD subject; the third, The Sandpit After Rain explores connections between the birth of her baby and the death of her father.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Sport: Thrower Dacres, Swim Champ Alia Cop Sportsman, Woman of the Year

Discus thrower Fedrick Dacres and swimming sensation Alia Atkinson have been named the 2018 RJRGleaner National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at the gala ceremony, held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Friday night.
Dacres, 24, and Atkinson, 30 were among a list of 15 nominees for the prestigious awards.
Dacres was arguably the country’s top sportsperson for 2018. He had one of his best years in 2018 where he had a trio of major wins.
Dacres won the discus gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia in a Games Record 68.20m on April 13. He followed up that victory by claiming the Diamond League discus title and US$50,000 at the Memorial Van Damme in Brussels on August 31 with a throw of 68.67m and then beat the world at the IAAF Continental Cup in the Czech Republic on September 8 with a throw of 67.97m.
Atkinson was winning the national award for the second straight year and three times overall. The four-time Olympian first won the prestigious award in 2014.
Atkinson also won three other awards including the People’s Choice “Performance of the Year,” for her  new 50-metre breaststroke world short course record swim of 28.56 seconds, at the FINA Swimming World Cup meet in Budapest, Hungary on October 6. 
Atkinson also walked away with the Gleaner Iconic Award and the Female Athlete of the Year for aquatic.
Shot-putter Danniel Thomas-Dodd and triple-jumper Kimberly Williams finished in a tie for runner-up to the Sportswoman of the Year.
Among the highlights for Atkinson in 2018 was winning Jamaica’s first medal at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia with a silver in the 50m breaststroke on April 6.  Atkinson clocked 30.76 seconds, just under a fifth of a second to the gold medal winner Sarah Vasey of England, who won in 30.60 seconds