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Dread.

DREAD

 Jerome's hair flows like a lion
 Dreadlocks cascading down his back
 Like the waterfalls of Zion.
 Each lock placed there by the hands of his ancestors;
 Each lock tended daily by the spirits of his forefathers;
 Moistened by ancient tears, linseed oil, and beeswax.
 Twisted into shape by wisdom so old it had never been written
 Only heard and told in whispers, in dreams ...
 Echoed in the wind chimes of time.

 His hair once weekly cut and shorn once worn with textured
 confidence
 Now moves to a different rhythm.
 Jerome's twists coil themselves around
 Each loving ancient moment bestowed on them by ancient rituals;
 Matted with eye-water from ghosts of souls lost between the lines
 of history's records ...
 Old rituals brushing them with distant reminisces deeply ingrained
 And flowing like rivers Gambia, Bandama, Sanaga through Jerome's
 veins.
 Once small at first, nubbies true,
 Then sprouting like tendrils from magical vines
 They grew over time and became incantations;
 Exotic and esoteric in their beauty,
 Aesthetic in their links to his history.

 400 years of grooming had produced a Blackman's glory
 A dread locked garden tended with abundant love ...
 Spiritual and sensual, they were simply sensational
 Dreads metamorphosing into distinct personalities of their own.
 As they flourished like locks of a King on his throne.
 Some symmetrical, others obtuse, some growing up,
 Others growing down, some flat, some round,
 Some reddened, some jet black ...
 Most reaching far down the center of his back.
 A lion's mane striking like the Roar of Thunder and the Crack
 Of Lightning ... Like dead Blackmen crying out in pain and triumph,
 Soft like scattered roses on frothy seawaters stretching from
 Goree's
 Door of No Return to these American, West Indian, Britain lands
 Making Forced homes ... singing songs by rivers in Babylon.
 400 years of grooming had produced a Black man's glory.
 Hair flowing strong and untamed,
 Cascading down his back like the waterfalls of Zion.
 Jerome's hair swings like a Lion's mane....


Shona Jamadi was born in Jamaica in 1961, in Ulster Spring Trelawney--a small village that she remembers as being covered in mountain mist. She is the youngest of 14 children. When she was 6 months old her parents moved to the UK, where she lived until she was ten, and where she first started to write poetry and orchestrate plays. After her father's death her mother moved the family back to Jamaica. Her poetry and stories are influenced by her Caribbean experience and Jamaican heritage. In high school in Jamaica she wrote soap-opera-style stories to entertain her class and acted and sang in school activities. After her mother's death in 1977 she moved to Canada to live with an older brother and again was involved in the theatre and in writing. From Canada she moved to California, where she wrote poetry for community plays as well as performing in these plays. She now works as a special-education teacher in the UK and has a BA in English and an MS in Education with a specialization in Literacy and Learning. Ms. Jamadi is currently working on a selection of poetry entitled Vignettes and a short novel called Beach Walk which is set mainly in the Gambia. Eventually she would like to work on a series of children's books written for Caribbean and African children.
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Author:Jamadi, Shona
Publication:Journal of Caribbean Literatures
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 22, 2008
Words:549
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