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1. One man's thunderstorm

1. One man's thunderstorm

There once was a man

who lived in the city. There once was a man He wanted who lived in the city. to do things. He had high hopes, He wanted to do andthings. even higher expectations. He had high hopes, He wanted to love. and even higher Heexpectations. wanted to live. Each night he sat in his chair. He wanted to love. He thought about life. He wanted to live. He thought about love. Each night he sat in his chair. He doubted his thoughts, He thought about life. but kept dreaming. He thought about love. He doubted hisThere thoughts, once was another man who lived in the hills. but kept dreaming.

He got up at 4 am each morning to another tend his goats, There once was man feed his pigs, dig out his yam banks, who lived in the hills. carry home breakfast, He got up at 4 send am each morning his kids to school. to tend his goats, pigs,too. Thatfeed manhis thought night he sat on his porch. dig out his yamEach banks, He thought carry home breakfast, about life. Heschool. thought about love. send his kids to He knew what he wanted, That man thought too. and made it come true.

Each night he sat on his porch. He thought about One life. man's thunderstorm is another He thought about love. man's sunshine. He knew what he wanted, Portland, and made it come true.Jamaica, 18 April 2015 One man's thunderstorm is another man's sunshine.

Portland, Jamaica, 18 April 2015

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2. Yes

2. Yes

Night falls and the crickets

Night falls and burst the crickets out in unison. burst out in unison. A cool breeze dances A cool breeze dances through the hills. Under a dark blanket through the hills. the river continues Under a dark blanket its unruly course. the river continues its unruly course. Into the forest I stand,

down by the water hole.

Into the forest Time I stand, fi bathe. Time hole. fi hurry up. down by the water Mosquitoes never catch sleep. Time fi bathe. Their One Love tattoos Time fi hurry up. every body part exposed, Mosquitoes never catch sleep. no mercy, no escape. Their One Love tattoos every body part exposed, Juney tells me burning no mercy, no escape. the John Charles bush keeps them at bay. Juney tells me Ancient burningknowledge, modern wisdom. the John Charles bush There is no ailment in life keeps them at these bay. hills can not remedy.

Ancient knowledge, modern wisdom. This is the Yes! land, And I am a Yes! lady. There is no ailment in life these hills can not remedy.

Portland, Jamaica, 21 March 2015

This is the Yes! land, And I am a Yes! lady.

Portland, Jamaica, 21 March 2015

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3. Happiness too 3. Happiness too

Happiness is the morning sun

Happiness is the morning sun through a kitchen door through a kitchenindoor the Jamaican mountains. in the Jamaican mountains.

It is the wakeup call of the rooster, the of patience of the lizard, It is the wakeup call the rooster, The quietness in existence.

the patience of the lizard, The quietness in existence. Happiness is a kitibu lightning bug that suddenly shoots up

for the stars at night. Happiness is a kitibu lightning bug that suddenly shoots up It is the belly pain of laughter, for the stars at night.

the smell of shared cooking in the bush, the intimacy of these hills.

It is the belly pain of laughter, Happiness having the eyes the smell of shared cookingisin the bush, to see all this, and a mind the intimacy of these hills.

to over-stand (not under-stand!) its worth.

Happiness is having the eyes Portland, Jamaica, 8 April 2015 to see all this, and a mind to over-stand (not under-stand!) its worth. Portland, Jamaica, 8 April 2015

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4. The older the moon, the brighter shines 4. The older the moon,itthe brighter it shines

Whine likeina the banana leaf in the breeze. Whine like a banana leaf breeze. Sing like a cricket in the night. Sing like a cricket in the night. Circle down from the sky like a John Crow. Circle down fromGlow the as sky like a John Crow. bright as a kitibu lightning bug. Glow as bright asMove a kitibu lightning bug.lizard. as swift as an anole Move as swift as Stand an anole lizard. up tall like a grow stake bush. like a shame-me-darling leaf. Stand up tall likeHumble a growyourself stake bush. sweet as Julie mango.leaf. Humble yourselfTaste like aasshame-me-darling road as fierce as a fowl. Taste as sweet asCross Juliethe mango. Behave as mysterious as a mongoose. Cross the road asNever fierce a fowl. beas a rat that digs an ugly hole. Behave as mysterious as a mongoose. Feel as soft to the touch as rain. Never be a rat that digs uglyashole. Smell as an potent a ganja bud. as beautiful Feel as soft to theAge touch as rain.the moon. Smell as potent as a ganja bud. Portland, Jamaica, 28 March 2015 Age as beautiful the moon.

Portland, Jamaica, 28 March 2015

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5. The poetry of living

5. The poetry of living

Too many people do not see enough beauty in their struggle, Too many people do not see all they can talk about enough beauty in their is where they struggle, not are, all they canwhat talk they about do not have, is where they not are, what is missing from their life. what they do notwhat have, I say, is missing from your is you. what is missing fromlife their life. do not see the beauty I say, whatYou is missing of this morning, from your life is you. and how that is all the beauty You do not see the beauty you should treasure. of this morning, Just look at that bird over there, and how that is all the beauty sitting content in a tree. you shouldThat treasure. bird should be your standard.

Just look at that bird over there, sitting content in aI tree. Yes, but am poor, you say. That bird should be your standard. What kind of poverty, my friend? Did you have to go to the river

to fetch this morning? Yes, but I am poor,water you say. Did you have to What kind of poverty, mybarter friend? for to cooking or soap? Did you have go to oil, thesalt river Did you have to watch your crops die to fetch water this morning? because of a drought? Did you have to barter Tell me again where you are for cookingthat oil,you saltshould or soap? not be. Did you have to watch your cropsbedie Tell me why you should happy first because of and a drought? able to love second. Tell me again Tellwhere me whyyou youare are not looking at thatnot bird. that you should be. Tell me why you should be happy first Jamaica, 21 March 2015 and able toPortland, love second. Tell me why you are not looking at that bird.

Portland, Jamaica, 21 March 2015

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6. Now is eternity

My heart has found a home That home is a whole forest, two mountains and a beach. I travel back and forth. I will not choose. That too, is a choice.

I carry two breadfruits to the beach. As a child I ran away from home. My ticket to freedom was this recipe: Carry two apples in your hands. Run. Pick apples that are of a deep, deep green. That way you'll remember. I can’t leave the beach. The breadfruits are roasting. A swirl of smoke connects their sweating skins to the night. Mosquitoes dance around the shadow of a quiet bird. Now is eternity.

Why should I leave? What else is there to see? What can possibly be less forgotten than this beauty? The beach is empty. All of humanity is too busy watching nature on TV. Kingston, Jamaica, 12 March 2015

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7. Stardust 7. Stardust

People always ask me People always ask me where I'm from where I'm from and I hesitate to answer. and I hesitate to answer. Why Why would it matter? would it matter? I'm here now. I'm here now. WhatWhat goodgood is myiswhole goddamn my whole goddamn history to you? history to you? RootsRoots do not to the domatter not matter to uprooted. the uprooted. My accent ties me a GPS point. My accent tiesto me to a GPS point. My cooking is of nations. My cooking is of nations. My thoughts won't be boxed My thoughts won't be boxed or explained away. or explained away. My origin is theismilky way.way. My origin the milky My destination undisclosed. My destination undisclosed. My ashes will grow a tree. My ashes will grow a tree. I willIbe gone before you you get to me.me. will be gone before getknow to know Kingston, Jamaica, 12 March 2015 Kingston, Jamaica, 12 March 2015

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8. Bush girl

How shall I name the unspeakable, that within me hides as a bird’s nest in my chest? And in that nest not an egg, but a caterpillar. Something beautiful will fly away from it one day, but until then. How shall I name

the unimaginable? That which seeks music to hum, and in that music the rhyme and rhythm of ancient cultures, not mine. I am the forgotten child in the bush, the one that searched for meaning in the carvings of woodworms, roaming the land as an orphan citizen but always looking for the forgotten treasure left by the ones who once owned the land. How shall I name

The treasure I never found? The wisdom I gathered while searching? The parts of my soul I left behind, Scattered over several nations? New York City, 7 December 2014

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9. “Wata” (Water)

9. “Wata” (Water)

walking by, Women walking by, Women balancing empty water jars and laundry balancing empty water jars hot and laundry pon their and heavy heads, in search fi di shrinking river. pon their hot and heavy heads, Fi wash. Fi bathe. in search fi di shrinking river. Fi drink. Fi cook. Fi wash. Fi bathe. Fi survive. Fi stay alive. Fi drink. Fi cook. Fi survive. But then now, out of nothing, I swear, Fi stay alive. appears one man, pulling one dead dog, lying pon its side, it moves along in perfect stillness, I swear, in a perfect straight line.

But then now, out of nothing, appears one man, pulling one dead dog, lying pon its side, The dog’s warrior spirit no longer hides it moves along in its clouded eyes. in perfect stillness, They hold no lies. in a perfect straight line.

These are scorching hot days. The vegetables have shrunk to nothing, The dog’s warrior spirit and jumped in price. One hundred Jamaican dollars no longer hides half a pound of tomatoes, in its clouded eyes. for to steam with a likkle cabbage and rice.

They hold no lies.

While man laments for “di wata truck” with a hush and sighs. These are scorching The hothog days. tied to the bush The vegetables haveturns shrunk to nothing, its other cheek to the heavenly skies. and jumped in price.

One hundred Jamaican Heatdollars or no heat, out there in dem hills for half a pound of tomatoes, horse and the heron stick together, to steam with a likklethe cabbage and rice. the two a dem a pair so casually, waiting ever so patiently,

for this While man laments for “diendless wata drought truck”to die. They need not know why. with a hush and sighs. The hog tied to the bush turns its other cheek to the heavenly skies.

Heat or no heat, out there in dem hills the horse and the heron stick together, the two a dem a pair so casually, waiting ever so patiently, for this endless drought to die. They need not know why.

This is no joke nor no brawta, everybody needs wata*. But we nah go beg you nun today,9 because that’s how we stay. Portland, Jamaica, 30 July 2014

"This is no joke nor no brawta / everybody needs wata" Ferron, as "Grippy". “Fi survive “This is noalso jokeknown nor no brawta / everybody needs / fi stay aliv better known as Juney. wata” was contributed by Shanique Ferron, also known as “Grippy”. “Fi survive / fi stay alive” was contributed by Edna Pearcy, better known as Juney.

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10. Decisions 10. Decisions

Life is much like this: Life is much like this: At a fork in the road At a fork in the road you decide to find you decide to find the three colored shack. the three colored shack. You heard it is special. You heard it is special. special. You crave You crave special.

There are many forks in the road. ThereHow areto many forks theone? road. know this in is the How Be to more knowspecific. this is the one? Be more specific. Is it the fork where they sell Is it the fork peanuts? where they roasted Yes.sell roasted Yes. Thispeanuts? is Jamaica. This is Jamaica. Everything here is a sign. The way the is ackee tree Everything here a sign. sticks out fromtree the yard The way the ackee has meaning, the landscape sticks out from the yard is filled with symbols: has meaning, the landscape is filled with symbols: Up the hill, down another. reach river, turn left, Up the hill,the down another. mango trees, reachpass the two river, turn left, see an ackee tree. pass two mango trees, The shack will be there. see an ackee tree. The shack willthe be road, there. You walk

doubts creep into your step. You walk How the longroad, is up? doubts creep your step. how longinto is down? How Where long isisup? that river? how You longpassed is down? five mango trees already. Where is that river? You passed mango trees already. You askfive a man for the road. He does not blink his eyes at your talkfor about ackee You ask a man the road. and not mango trees. He does blink his eyes "Just walk with a clean heart”, at your talk about ackee he says. and mango trees. "Just walk with a clean heart”, "The shack is in ghost town, he says. The owner a trickster.” giggling emerges from "TheSoft shack is in ghost town,

The owner a trickster.” Soft giggling emerges from behind you. Two children walk in the shadow of your footsteps.

The sun begins to set. You wander but no longer wonder. Not about the rabbit sleeping in the middle of the road, next to the dog and the goat.

behind you. Two children walk in the shadow of your footsteps.

The sun begins to set. You wander but no longer wonder. Not about the rabbit sleeping in the middle of the road, next to the dog and the goat. Not about the toothless man crocheting colorful T-shirts, who waves you over to sell one for 1000 JMD. You are lost and do not care. Then you see the shack: It has found you.

Portland, Jamaica, 16 March 2015

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11. Just in case

Someone once told me I don't believe in those things (brujerĂ­a), but I'll pick it up with my left hand. Just in case.

11. Just in case

Someone once told me I don't believe in those things (brujerĂ­a), but I'll pick it up with my left hand. Just in case.

When I get home I'll smudge my room with sage (Salvia officinalis) to get out the stagnant thoughts, the old memories, Just in case.

When I get home I'll smudge my room with sage (Salvia officinalis) to get out the stagnant thoughts, I'll throw body cleanser on the floor the old memories, to wash away anything Just in case. that lingers or sticks. I'll throw body cleanser on the floor to wash away anything that lingers or sticks. Just in case.

Just in case.

I'll carefully swipe away cobwebs, and dust the four corners to free up my mind. Just in case.

I'll put parsley in water, Dry yellow flowers in a bowl, red rose petals on the table, I'll carefully swipe away cobwebs, to make sure the future looks bright. and dust the four corners Just in case.

to free up my mind. Just in case.

Portland, Jamaica, 8 April 2015

I'll put parsley in water, Dry yellow flowers in a bowl, red rose petals on the table, to make sure the future looks bright. Just in case. Portland, Jamaica, 8 April 2015

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12. Spider silk

I wanna go with you to the meadow on the top of the hill, where the wild things thrive and thrill, where the owl hoots, the frightened lizard out of nowhere shoots, off to somewhere else, anywhere is good, we’ll live off the land, we’ll land on our feet, I know the roots to eat, and the exact number of crickets to count to fall asleep.

We’ll abandon the car by the side of the road, I wanna walk with you until I can walk no more, farther and farther from the shore, up the hill to the summit where the stars will spill their light like an opera house, there I want to weave my home from threads of spider silk, stronger than concrete, shinier than gold, it will keep us warm from the cold.

When winter descends to hang stubborn over the land, it will be tucked away in our hands, and melt into rivers to dabble in, I can’t wait for spring to bring a Monet of colors, all those little beautiful dots connecting the odds of happiness, so little is needed to love so much: Only one spider to learn how to weave. And some courage to hang onto its thread. New York City, 15 December 2014

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13. Religion

13. Religion

I sit with the pig

I sit with the pig under a nutmeg tree, under a nutmeg tree, on a cool rock on a cool rock of limestone. of limestone.

I watch him eat from a cut up car tire, I watch him eat his snout searching from a cut up carthe tire, food relentlessly.

his snout searching Leftover rice and peas the food relentlessly.

with coconut milk, now spoiled Leftover rice andfrom peas yesterday's cooking.

with coconut milk, I contemplate my place now spoiled this picture, from yesterday'sincooking. but my place does not matter.

I contemplate my place in this picture, All the pig knows is that I brought food, but my place does not matter.that should be meaning enough for both of us.

All the pig knowsThere are no mosquitoes is that I brought under food, the nutmeg tree, that should be meaning it is almost a surprise enough for both to ofcatch us. a break. Before I leave

There are no mosquitoes I kneel down under the nutmeg to tree, scratch the pig's belly, it is almost a surprise it rolls over from happiness. to catch a break. I realize this is as close as I get to religion.

Before I leave I kneel down to scratch the pig's belly, Jamaica, 31 August 2015 it rolls over fromPortland, happiness. I realize this is as close as I get to religion.

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Portland, Jamaica, 31 August 2015 15


14. Home

14. Home

I like to read a country as a book.

I like to The readpages a country as a book. of Belgium make up The pages of Belgium make a book of longing and up belonging. a book of longing The train Iand tookbelonging. drives through fields The train took beets, drivescorn through fields ofIsugar and wheat, of sugarmeadows beets, corn and wheat, that hold ten different shades of that green, black white cows meadows hold tenand different shades flaming of green,juxtaposed black andwith white cowsred poppies. juxtaposed with flaming red poppies. To come back is to know theisuntamed To comethat back to knowin me will always recognize the elderberries that the untamed in me blossoming by the railroad tracks, will always recognize the elderberries the places where wild things grow.

blossoming by the railroad tracks, the places where things grow. This is thewild language of childhood, a book infused with memories

This is the language ofmayonnaise childhood, and fries, of home-made a book infused with memories of late afternoons with blackbirds, a contest in which every of home-made mayonnaise andsinger fries, is a winner. These are images and sounds of late afternoons with blackbirds, make up theirsinger own language, a contestthat in which every is a winner. noticed only by those who These are images and sounds have left, butup who stillown resist the idea of leaving. that make their language, noticed only by those who have left, Brussels, Belgium, 16 June 2015 but who still resist the idea of leaving. Brussels, Belgium, 16 June 2015

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15. 15.Life Life

Reality Realityisisa aglass glassjar jar with a pretty pink with a pretty pinkribbon. ribbon.

The Therabbit rabbitliving livingininyour yourhat hat isisa afantasy. fantasy.

Your Yourtongue tonguetells tellseveryone everyonewho wholistens listens that thatthe theglass glassjar jardoes doesnot notexist. exist. Yet Yetevery everyday dayyou youpull pulla anew new white whiterabbit rabbitout outofofyour yourhat. hat.

The Theglass glassjar jarexplodes explodesand andthrows throws Hopes,Dreams, Dreams,Expectations Expectations Hopes,

coloredmarbles marblesininall alldirections. directions. asascolored Yet you still stick with the whiterabbit. rabbit. Yet you still stick with the white

Therabbit rabbitends endsup upinina astew. stew. The Childrenrecycle recyclethe themarbles marblestotoplay playaagame. game. Children Thepink pinkribbon ribbonisisthe theonly onlyevidence evidenceleft. left. The NewYork YorkCity, City,14 14December December2014 2014 New

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100 copies front cover designed by Jef Geys Š Ina Vandebroek & keymouse editions - 2016


Poetry – Ina Vandebroek on Keymouse Editions  
Poetry – Ina Vandebroek on Keymouse Editions  
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