The Merchant of Feathers II
Is the mother whose son is found
in a compromising position with a man
in a university bathroom
and is beaten by security guards
who police anuses
while girls walk unguarded in the night
and a mob of educated fools chant
for more blood, more fire.
This mother must put her son back together again
paint his wounds with Gentian Violet
ice swollen tendons, protuberant eyes
find the scars deeper than skin
and like a seamstress mend what’s broken within
and when his father who isn’t worth two dry stones
or a shilling sees his son on the news and appears
at her door to beat her son some more
she will turn herself into serrated edges
stand sharp and poised to kill
for her son is her only gold
and if the father’s thirst for blood is too great
she will pacify him with what he needs
to prove he is not like his son.
In her, he will bury the fear.
And in the morning she will stir soft words into
the cornmeal porridge, carry it to her son’s bed
blow a benediction into each spoon full she brings
to his bruised and beautiful lips.
Shirley’s poem quoted in full above with her permission is a timely intervention into the barbarism threatening to drown us. She speaks eloquently for those of us who yearn for a healing of the nation not unlike the one administered by the mother in this poem.
And a postscript to my previous post on whether gay bashing is a national policy. No, it isn’t. Here is what the education minister said as a coda to the whole ‘sex text’ imbroglio (as reported in the Gleaner):
“The principles that must be at all times respected is that the Ministry of Education promotes sexually responsible behaviour in the context of faithful union between a man and woman while offering respect and compassion to those who adopt a different lifestyle.”
It’s how to get more Jamaicans to adopt this reasonable outlook that is the problem. The visual below captures the absurdity of the Jamaican lynch mob well.