Onlooker June Poetry Lime.

BCC POETRY LIME

The church of the youths. The home to diversity. The family of expression.

It was my turn. Luci accidentally called my name for my sister’s, so I said I would go after her. Where was the boldness coming from?

Unlike the prepared performers, my piece was untitled. Surprisingly I didn't feel nervous at all. I was just worried that persons would notice the way I couldn't pronounce certain syllables, or my lips were really dry and they missed the free verse I had written. It was about lost love for my friend that pushed me away-one of her many coping with trauma mechanisms.

There were some subtle differences at BCC Morning Side that night, in the theatre. For example, the concave arrangement of chairs that surrounded the stage, dim cool lights, the romantic yet realistic ambiance that was never present before and the absence of the mouthwatering host, commonly known as, “De Buff Poet”. Yes. That was his IG name.

My thoughts wandered to the places he might have been, without me. Luckily, Keoma was still there.

After greeting my friends and taking a seat, my initial resistance of falling into the atmosphere had subsided. I wanted to perform and if the opportunity presented itself, I would get on that stage. However, when the casting call or performance list came around, I didn't write my name.

I was caught in my fan girl moment after seeing Luci busily fly around the theatre. Luci was captivating. Her skirt and shoes were abandoned as she wished to create an intimate setting - the one typical of all poetry limes.

Soon after Luci took the stage, stepping into the role of “host” and urged everyone to join the circle. Then, she led the audience in an ice breaker. An icebreaker is a game that reduces awkwardness and tension amongst persons, for the facilitation of interaction. We clapped softly as if we were at a Polo game to the raucous noise of revelers.

Performers went by a first name basis and this lessened the nervousness of newcomers.

My twin sister shifted the topic to love in its many forms through the eyes of a Christian, she chronicled the struggle of finding boundaries in relationships. Boundaries she wasn’t even taught at school, in the church or at home. It left me asking whose responsibility it was to indoctrinate children when the real issues are often swept under the carpet.

Sade, Ariel and Cymru performed after the intermission. They spoke on themes such as womanhood, love and conflict. Some tied in societal development strides taken by politicians, the church and government. Poems resembled cries soon enough and our fingers blistered from snapping like the congregation would cry “Amen” on Sunday mornings.

Can I get an “Amen” right now?

Tateanna and T’afari spoke about empowering journeys in a rhyming poem and free verse, respectively. The former showed that an aimless venture rewarded her with an appreciation of life and curiosity. While the latter reopened the discourse on love and relationships to speak on the comforting lie of “time”. She decided to use her words as weapons which outlived time to make her mark on whomsoever she deemed fit.

Keoma. Keoma. Keoma. His respect and admiration for women resonated with the audience as uplifted female empowerment. His passion was amazing and the energy brought to the stage was contagious. It left me wishing he “landed in my DMs” more often. He confessed that his wish was to encourage, inspire and assist women, setting the the record straight.  

Luci spoke about her life and utilized imagery of the broken trident to show the fakeness in independence. Homosexuality and the conflict with the church, family and community were shown through her own personal fight.

Akeem, Salma, Marcus and Khalid were the last four performers. Their performances reiterated the themes presented. An impromptu duet talked about mental health, specifically depression with guitar strings.

Saskia, Levi and Tany closed the show.

Warm lights punctuated the conversations from before and each one of us learned something new from different perspectives but one performance stood out- the first batters.

Steph’s and Faith’s brazen tones knocked the bails called self entitlement and misogyny from the stumps of patriarchy, in a piece called, “To the Men Who View Me As A Product”.

Don't worry, they gave a shout out to all the respectable men in the last two lines.

The spoken word called out the ingrained behaviours in men and it wasn't based in feminism just the lack of respect towards the female sex, especially vulnerable young women.

I realized that the artforms in Barbados were being taken over by persons of different upbringings, ages and calibers. Yet, it seemed underground, hushed, unnoticed. That notion angered me because here we were, giving youth an alternative to the drugs, violence, crime, promiscuity and diseases even ridicule! Yet, the numbers were just approximately 50 people. On Instagram @BeatfreeksBarbados there are only 71 followers. On Facebook, it resembles a Ghost Town. Frankly, I am sick of seeing it.

So don’t judge anyone for your lack of vision, lack of hope and silencing your voice.

Free yourself.

Poetry Lime is a needed space for artist, dreamers, expression lovers, poets, lyricists and the amateurs.

It is the church of the youths, the home to diversity and the family of expression.
 

Jovana Johnson

An up and coming spoken word poet. She is the member of the Beatfreeks Barbados Youth Director's and writer for the Onlooker.