Cantankerous Rex

I wrote this poem inspired from a thread on Twitter I saw not long back all about the language Caribbean people use, something I have oft seen in members of the Windrush.

Source: Twitter (November, 2020)

You know your conversationalist

is a West Indian when they sit

mugging the Queen’s English

growing up I recall

my grandmother and her friends

Photo by Vladimir Soares on Unsplash

proclaiming Will Shakespeare “a jobsworth”

you know them ladies

with their diddly hands

like a cantankerous rex in the front room

instead of calling us kids rude

they would call us “boisterous youths”

or “rascals.” Women with names

like Phyllis that’d say

“I’m jos going out to the veranda”

using words like finicky

as she plays with her needle and thread

labelling her niece, a “craven buzzard”

for taking the last piece of plantain

like “highfalutin rapscallions”

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

“Chil’, you’re too fresh”

and in the next breath

they would engage in discourse

about their daily conundrums

like the discombobulated

headteacher at their grandchild’s school

the Windrush love words

especially the women, see them

gallivanting off into the English dictionary

in the doctrines of Charlie Dickens and Jane Austen

with incredulous syntax, sentence construction

words slammed like dominoes

and the flow of Dunn River syllables

liable only to other West Indian women

skylarking with Oxford and Cambridge

telling the pickney dem to stop running truant

using the quarrelsome coloniser’s tongue

to poet slam Jack and Jill Union’s posterior

the Windrush were born poets

watch their words go boom on Mayfair

what a palaver! A calamity like no other

you always say, I’m full of just words…

and then I think — where do you believe I got it from?

Writer-Poet | Muses: Black and Mixed-Race histories, inequality, identity, arts et al| Race and Black History Educator | treventour.com | E: tre@treventour.com

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