Thursday, 4 December 2014

Mikey Smith: Mi Cyaan Believe It

Michael Smith, usually referred to as Mikey Smith (1954 - 1983), was a Jamaican dub poet. Along with Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Mutabaruka, he was one of the best-known dub poets. In 1978, Smith represented Jamaica at the 11th World Festival of Youth and Students in Cuba. His album Mi Cyaan Believe It includes his poem of the same name. He had left-anarchist leanings and Rastafarian sympathies, and was murdered by political opponents associated with the right-wing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) after he had heckled the Jamaican Minister of Culture at a political rally on 17 August 1983.

After arguing with three men he was hit by a stone thrown by one of them. Linton Kwesi Johnson has recalled how the circumstances of Smith's death are shrouded in controversy:

"As far as I understand the facts, Mikey had attended a political meeting in Stony Hill where the ruling JLP Minister of Education was speaking and [he] had heckled her. The following day, he was confronted by three party activists, an argument ensued, stones were thrown and Mikey died from a blow to his head."

Kamau Braithwaite's 1984 book History Of The Voice was dedicated to the memory of Smith and describes him as having been 'stoned to death'


Mi Cyaan Believe It

Mi seh mi cyaan believe it
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
room dem a rent
mi apply widin
but as me go in
cockroach rat an scorpion also come in
waan good
nose haffi run
but me naw sideung pan igh wall
like Humpty Dumpty
mi a face me reality
one lickle bwoy come blow im orn
an mi look pan im wid scorn
an mi realize ow me five bwoy pickney
was a victim of de tricks
dem call partisan pally-trix
an mi ban mi belly
an mi bawl
an mi ban mi belly
an mi bawl
Lawd
mi cyaan believe it
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
what a night what a plight
an we cyaan get a bite
mi life is a stiff fight
an mi cyaan believe it
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
sitting on de corner wid me fren
talkin about tings an time
me hear one voice seh
"Who dat?"
mi seh "A who dat?
A who dat a seh who dat
when mi a seh who dat?"
When yuh teck a stock
dem lick we dung flat
teet start fly
and big man start cry
an mi cyaan believe it
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
do odder day me pass one yard
pan de hill
when me teck a stock
me hear "Hey bwoy!"
"Yes, Mam?" "Hey bwoy!"
"Yes, Mam?" "You clean up de dawg shit?"
"Yes, Mam"
an mi cyaan believe it
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
Doris a modder of four
get a wul as a domestic
boss man move in
an bap si kaisico she pregnant again
bap si kaisico she pregnant again
an mi cyaan believe it
dah yard de odder night
when mi hear "Fire!"
"Fire, to plate claat!"
Who dead? You dead?
Who dead? Me dead?
Who dead? Harry dead?
Who dead? Eleven dead
wooeeeeeee
Orange Street fire de pan me head
an mi cyaan believe it
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
Lawd, mi see some black bud
livin inna one buildin
but no rent no pay
so dem cyaan stay
Lawd, de oppress an de dispossess
cyaan get no res
what nex?
Teck a trip from Kingston
to Jamaica
Teck twelve from a dozen
an mi see mi muma in heaven
MAD OUSE! MA OUSE!
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
mi seh mi cyaan believe it
yuh believe it?
how yuh fi believe it
when yuh laugh
yuh blind yuh eye to it?
But mi know yuh believe it
mi know yuh believe it


By North Utsire

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