from Stone

Kamau Brathwaite


for Mikey Smith, stoned to death on Stony Hill, Kingston 1954-1983



When the stone fall that morning out of the johncrow sky

it was not dark at first . that opening on to the red sea humming

but something in my mouth like feathers .  blue like bubbles

carrying signals & planets & the sliding curve of the

world like a water pic. ture in a raindrop when the pressure. drop




When the stone fall that morning out of the johncrow sky


I couldn't cry out because my mouth was full of beast & plunder

as if I was gnashing badwords among tombstones

as if the road up stony hill .  round the bend by the church

yard .  on the way to the post office .  was a bad bad dream


& the dream was like a snarl of broken copper wire zig

zagging its electric flashes up the hill & splitt.  ing spark & flow.

ers high.  er up the hill.  past the white houses & the ogogs bark.

ing all teeth & fur.  nace & my mother like she up.  like she up.



like she up.  side down up a tree like she was scream.

like she was scream.  like she was scream.  ing no & no.

body i could hear could hear a word i say. ing .  even though

there were so many poems left & the tape was switched on &


runn.  ing & runn.  ing &

the green light was red & they was stannin up there &

evva.  where in london & amsterdam & at unesco in paris &

in west berlin & clapp.  ing & clapp.  ing & clapp.  ing &


not a soul on stony hill to even say amen




& yet it was happening happening happening .

the fences begin to crack in i skull.

& there was a loud booodoooooooooooooooogs like

guns goin off  .  them ole time magnums .


or like a fireworks a dreadlocks was on fire .

& the gaps where the river comin down

inna the drei gully where my teeth use to be smilin .

& i tuff gong tongue that use to press against them & parade


pronunciation . now unannounce & like a black wick in i head & dead .

& it was like a heavy heavy riddim low down in i belly . bleedin dub .

& there was like this heavy heavy black dog thump.  in in i chest &

pump.  in




& i throat like dem tie.  like dem tie.  like dem tie a tight tie a.

round it.  twist.  ing my name quick crick.  quick crick .

& a nevva wear neck. tie yet .


& a hear when de big boot kick down i door . stump

in it foot pun a knot in de floor.  board .

a window slam shat at de back a mi heart .


de itch & ooze & damp a de yaaad

in mi sil. ver tam. bourines closer & closer .

st joseph marching bands crash.  ing & closer .


bom si. cai si. ca boom ship bell . bom si. cai si. ca boom ship bell

& a laughin more blood & spittin out