This poem is an experience in London when I came from America (and went back home and stayed awhile and then I came to England) and I was living in Brixton at the time.

In-a Brixtan Markit


I walk in-a Brixtan markit,
believin I a respectable man,
you know. An wha happn?

Policeman come straight up
an search mi bag!
Man – straight to mi.
Like them did a-wait fi mi.
Come search mi bag, man.

Fi mi bag!
An wha them si in deh?
Two piece a yam, a dasheen,
a han a banana, a piece a pork
an mi lates Bob Marley.

Man all a suddn I feel
mi head nah fi mi. This yah now
is when man kill somody, nah!

‘Tony’, I sey, ‘hol on. Hol on,
Tony. Dohn shove. Dohn shove.
Dohn move neidda fis, tongue
nor emotion. Battn down, Tony.
Battn down.’ An, man, Tony win.

from Hot Earth Cold Earth (Bloodaxe Books, 1995), © James Berry 1995, used by permission of the author c/o PFD

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