The Journey by Edward Kamau Brathwaite

In Af-
and brittle
hara, Tim-
Buctu, Gao
the hills of
Ahafo, winds
Of the Ni-
ger, Kurmasi
and Kiver
down the
Coiled congo
and down
that black river
that tides us to hell

In the water
Boys of Bushongo
drowned in the
Blue and the bitter

Salt of wave- gullied
Ferdinand’s sea
Soft winds
to san Salvador, Christoph
er, Christ, and no Noah
Or dove to promise us, grim
through it was, the simple sal

vation of love. And so it was a Little

Rock, Dall-

as New Orleans, Santiago
De cuba,the miles

of unfortunate island: the

Saints and the virgins, L’Ouverture’s Haiti
ruined by greed and the slow
Growing green of its freedom; golden Guiana:
leaping in light liquid amber
in Makonaima’s perpetual falls. And as if

the exhaustion of this wasn’t all- Egypt
Meroe ,the Congo and all-
in the fall we reached De-
troit, Chicago and Den-
er; and then it was New
York, selling news-
paper in Brooklyn and Harlem

Then Capetown and Rio; remember how we
took Paris by storm: Sartre, Camus, Picasso and all?

But were are the dreams
Of that bug happy, trash-
holstered tropical bed
When Uncle Tom lived
and we curse him? This
the new deal for we black
grinning Jacks? Lights
big like bubbies but we
still in shacks?

Tall, with slow
( So
goes the saying

Went the dream)

the nergro
Steps his way among the follies,

With well – cut wood- cut head
with subtle tie
and fashionably
Faun exterieur,

he needs no clowining

to assert him self : no boot

black smile, no warm humility
No hanging

One hand from his srength. Playing

the black babboon.

He plays his own
game here and plays it
hard: and whether
gentleman or gigolo or

both, he holds himself
aloof from minor glitters

and does not wink
At mouching, long haired, well
upholstered fillies, soft in public sweaters,
or turn distracted

head to watch the carefully
arranged and ready nylon

ladies’ legs along
the boulevard. His glance

is only for la femme
exceprionnelle: the leading-

lady with no dissonance
In veiw: the rich- lipped generous

ewe returning reconnoitre’d
stare for candid coup

d’ oeil: the ariadne clue
that tries to trick him ,trap him,

track him down and lead him
to himself, the minotaur

Be abides: him self coursing his own

ocurvres: jives calmly ,merely nods

His head and keep

his potent subterranean power

For this his victim lover,
who through the artful

The sacrificial

Delivers him his chance.

Meanwhile he keeps
himself, asking no favours

and expecting
None: taking

his chance
among the dead-

ly follies with this

of shoulder and this

urbane head

So went the black

hatted zoot-

suited watch-
chained dreams of the panama boys
and the hoods
from Chicago

Yeah man!
The real ne-

gro, man, real


Broad back
Big you know what
black spews negritude

Yeah the man
so went the
mud hut, hole-
hatted glorious

dreams. Harlem
was heaven
And Paris a place
for all.

Yeah man!
and the old man gone

old Uncle Tom gone
Rain making souse

of his balls in the soil.
But he’s real cool,
man, while we sweat
in this tin trunk’d house

that we rent from the rat
To share with the mouse:

Castries’ Conway and Brixton in London,
Port of spain’ s jungle

and Kingston dry Dungle
Chicago Smethwick and Tiger Bay

Never seen
a man
travel more
seen more
than this poor
less harbour:
Less spade.

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