Friday, March 11, 2011

Ras Linton Kwesi Johnson▲ △ ▼▲ △ ▼


His first books, Voices of the Living and the Dead and Dread Beat An’ Blood, bore the influence of Jamaican toasting sessions, in which selectors would play the instrumental side of 45s for deejays to improvise chants, stories, screams, lyrics and commentary over. Johnson would go on to produce many albums of dub poetry, but it is remarkable that the aspect of the aural in his poetry did not overtake the literary in his musical productions. The poems do not become songs, so to speak. They are poems to be taken from the page. An epistolary poem from prison, “Sonny’s Lettah,” brings the elements of textuality/imprisonment and personal connection beyond the page/liberation into conversation.

Dear Mama,
Good Day.
I hope dat wen
deze few lines reach yu
they may find yu in di bes af helt.

I really did try mi bes,
but nondiless
my sarry fi tell yu seh
poor likkle Jim get arres.

It woz di miggle a di rush howah
wen evrybady jus a hosel an a bosel
fi goh home fi dem evening showah;
mi an Jim stan-up
waitin pan a bus,
nat cauzin no fus,
wen all af a sudden
a police van pull-up…

Linton Kwesi Johnson (LKJ) - Forces of Victory (1979)


Night Black Bill


Freedom1 said...

too much too much too much. so many unknown prophets in this world

Kita said...

Powerful. The Jamaican voice is like gospel. Truly a chosen people