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Riddym Ravings

“Eh, Eh,
no feel no way
town is a place dat ah really kean stay
dem kudda – ribbit mi han
eh – ribbit mi toe
mi waan go a country go look mango”

de fus time dem kar me go a Bellevue
was fit di dactar an de lan lord operate
an tek de radio outa mi head
troo dem seize de bed
weh did a gi mi cancer
an mek mi talk to nobady
ah di same night wen dem trow mi out fi no pay de rent
mi haffa sleep outa door wid de Channel One riddym box
an de D.J. fly up eena mi head
mi hear im a play she

Eh, Eh,
no feel no way
town is a place dat ah really kean stay
dem kudda – ribbit mi han
eh – ribbit mi toe
mi waan go a country go look mango

fah wen hungry mek King St pavement
bubble an dally in front a mi yeye
an mi foot start wanda falla fly
to de garbage pan eena de chinaman backlat
dem nearly chap aff mi han eena de butcha snap

fi de piece a ratten poke
ah de same time de mawga gal in front a mi
drap de laas piece a ripe banana
an mi – ben dung – pick i up – an nyam i
a dat time dem grab mi an kar mi back a Bellevue
dis time de dactar an de lanlord operate
an tek de radio plug outa mi head
den sen mi out, seh mi alright
but – as ah ketch back outa street
ah push een back de plug
an ah hear mi D.J. still a play, seh

Eh, Eh,
no feel no way
town is a place dat ah really kean stay
dem kudda – ribbit mi han
eh – ribbit mi toe
mi waan go a country go look mango

Ha Haah…Haa

wen mi fus come a town
mi use to tell everybady ‘mawnin’
but as de likkle rosiness gawn outa mi face
nobady nah ansa mi
silence tun rags roun mi bady
in de mids a all de dead people dem
a bawl bout de caast of livin
an a ongle one ting tap mi tram go stark raving mad

a wen mi siddung eena Parade
a tear up newspaper fi talk to
sometime dem roll up
an tun eena one a Uncle But sweet saaf
yellow heart breadfruit
wid piece a roas saalfish side a i
an if likkle rain jus fall
mi get cocanat rundung fi eat i wid
same place side a weh de country bus dem pull out
an sometime mi a try board de bus
an de canductor bwoy a halla out seh
‘dutty gal, kum affa de bus’
ah troo im no hear de riddym eena mi head
same as de tape weh de bus driva a play, seh

Eh, Eh,
no feel no way
town is a place dat ah really kean stay
dem kudda – ribbit mi han
eh – ribbit mi toe
mi waan go a country go look mango
so country bus, ah beg yuh
tek mi home
to de place, where I belang

an di dutty bway jus run mi aff
Well, dis mawnin, mi start out pon Spanish Town Road,
fah mi deh go walk go home a country
fah my granny use to tell mi how she walk tram wes
come a town
come sell food
an wi waan ketch home befo dem put de price pon i’
but me kean go home dutty?
fah mi parents dem did sen mi out clean
Ah!
see wan stanpipe deh!
so mi strip aff all de crocus bag dem
an scrub unda mi armpit
fah mi hear de two mawga gal dem laas nite
a laugh an seh
who kudda breed smaddy like me?
a troo dem no-know seh a pure nice man
weh drive car an have gun
visit my piazza all dem four o’clock a mawnin
no de likkle dutty bwoy dem weh mi see dem a go home wid
but as mi feel de clear water pon mi bady
no grab dem grab mi
an is back eena Bellevue dem kar mi
seh mi mad an a bade naked a street
well dis time de dactar an de lanlord operate
an dem tek de whole radio tram outa mi head
but wen dem tink seh mi unda chloroform
dem put i dung careless

an wen dem gawn
mi tek de radio
an mi push i up eena mi belly
fi keep de baby company
fah even if mi nuh mek i
me waan my baby know dis yah riddym yah
tram before she bawn
hear de D.J. a play, seh

Eh, Eh,
no feel no way
town is a place dat ah really kean
stay dem kudda – ribbit mi han
eh – ribbit mi toe
mi waan go a country go look mango

ah same time
de dactar an de lanlord
trigger de electric shack
an mi hear de D.J. vice bawl out, seh

Murther
Pull up Missa Operator!

 

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze was an internationally-renowned poet and recording  artist. Born in Hanover, Jamaica, she first visited London in 1985 to take  part in the International Book Fair of Radical and Third World Books, and  she has been writing, performing and teaching ever since. Her poem, ‘Riddim Ravings’ (‘The Mad Woman Poem’) is considered a classic of modern Caribbean poetry. She released seven poetry books, Riddym Ravings (Race Today, 1988), Spring Cleaning (Virago, 1992), On the Edge of an Island (1997), The Arrival of Brighteye (2000), The Fifth Figure (2006), Third World  Girl: Selected Poems (2011, with DVD) and The Verandah Poems (2016) with Bloodaxe, as well as several records and CDs. She was signed to LKJ Records in 1991, and together with Dennis Bovell produced her album Tracks. Her other recordings include: Riddim Ravins’ (Rior, 1987), Riding On De Riddym (57 Productions, 1997) and Eena Me Corner (Arroyo Records,  2010). She performed her work throughout the world, including tours of  the Caribbean, Britain, North America, Europe, South East Asia and Africa,  and divided her time between Jamaica and England. She received a NESTA  Award in 2003, and an MBE in 2012 for services to literature. Her other  awards include a Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica, a  Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jamaica Poetry Festival and honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Leicester.

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze passed away on 4 August 2021. She is survived by her son Gareth, daughters, Imega and Caribe and two grandchildren.

© Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze

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