Nausea & Nostalgia

Jessica Knight

Mek me tell unu a ting or dozen bout naming. Plenty Jamaican people dem know di first time dem get name it be one Christen-time name, when dem done born, so dat di official birth certificate get to certify di good intention ah di baby mada (and fada if di baby be blessed). Next, baby grow up and get one living-time name dat stick wid dem until dem done dead-off. Come funeral-time and is customary to return to dem dere Christening-time name fi di funeral pamphlet, and fi di death certificate.

Everyone deserve dat dem Christening-time name be di bookend at life start and di bookend at life end. Bookend intend fi tannup tall-tall – even if di book dem inna di miggle tun out spineless, and don’t see fit to prop up dem-self proppa pon di upstanding name, and instead spend dem life flopping all over di place like a half-suck bag juice. This is why when Frenchy di Frenchman done dead-off we pursue di finding out of him official name chroo all ah di bureaucratic slip payment unna payslip policy, enough to discover dat di ‘di’ spell ‘de’, not ‘di’. And if unu quint well enough pon di flyer, yuh ah go notice we get it right today fuh Frenchy sennoff, God res him soul.

Frenchy di Frenchman, born Bastian de Durand, did tell me a story right before him have him fall and lick him head and get not so good at telling story no more. Yeah man, di ting bout naming: Christen-time name be di act of faith, di puff of wind behind di eyelash wish, wishing for something dat cyaah be real to exist. But, sometime, sunshine pon doo-doo only mek di shit smell worse, zeen? Dis what Frenchy tellin me when me did vex di time me lose me work aftah me employer catch me calling her dawg, wha christen ‘Fluffy’, Brukfoot. When Brukfoot bruk him foot, it nuh heal too good. Frenchy explain to me how Brukfoot owner one ah dem people wha like to pretend like Brukfoot be a pretty pedigree and not a mawga mongrel widdim foot a jook-out at di wrongest right angle me ever did see. Dat be di ting bout living-time naming. It kinna be di opposite to faith. It like to name what visible at di moment of naming, no matter how much a person might go on like dey never did witnessing nuttin.

When me don’t quite catch him meaning, Frenchy tek time tell me anodda story. Dis one name Nausea an Nostalgia. Me know seh mi cyaah sing good like Frenchy, but me hope yuh a go forgive dat, as is true me try to be true to how Frenchy tell it, and you done know Frenchy like to fill up him story wid whole-heap a singing:

Nausea & Nostalgia

When Nausea name she name cah her mama saying,
Is funny how one word sound so same-same, same time sound so pretty
Is funny how one word set her braying
‘Pon Pastor Horace doorstep beggin exorcism
Straight away!
Pastor Horace say,
Better beg Babs a belly-wash,
Saying,
Ain’t no way God intend fi splash
Pickney inna pum-pum whuh nuh even bleeding
Regular each month
As yet.

Babs say,
Ok,
But don’t tell Pastor Horace
Bout di Obeah
Whuh she a go
Wuk ‘pon Quints

So Quints be quinting up her eyeball dem
And not saying a ting
And Pastor Horace and Babs be content, thinking
Content a girl swelly-belly get dash weh like a evil spirit
By di time all a dem take a next looking dem see
Swelly-belly nuh dash weh
But swelly-belly get big-big

Not a ting to do for Pastor Horace but wait
Not a ting to do for Babs but deliver pon di due date
Not a ting to do for Quints ‘cept hold up her leg
And quint up her eye dem
And bawl out how she long fi dead

And look now pon how all tree a dem
A look pon di baby dem bawlin out dem first breath.

The hybrid web sculptures of Tomás Saraceno found via @surfacenotion on Instagram

A’right, di first singtime finish done now. Mek me rewind, joop-joop-joop, jus a likkle bit, mek unu unnastan something. And me know seh mi cyaah voice good like Frenchy, but me hope you a go forgive dat, as is true me try tell a version like how Frenchy tell it, and you done know Frenchy like to fill up him story wid whole-heap ah different voice:

See, when Nausea name, is her grandmother give her daata – dat be Nausea Mummy – di name, after di daata – dat be Nausea Mummy – thief di likkle money she did need and mek international phone call, complaining how she feel sick before she know is what a sick her is baby growing inna her belly.

“Mummy, me don’t like it. Feel like me belly want to tear outta me throat and me backside same time.”

“Dat dere feeling is nausea,” her mummy saying, “and is how long you have dis here nausea feeling?”

“Mussi two, tree week now!”

Her mummy catch breath, “Quints? Yuh did find out what man keep underneath him drawers?”

“No, miss!”

“Quintessence?”

“Yes, miss?”

“Yuh too lie.”

“Is truth me telling, mummy, me swear it pon Papa grave!”

“You swear seh your pum-pum don’t let no gentleman caller gain entry?”

“Yes miss!”

“Cooyah! Mussi God mek a new Virgin Mary then, right inside downtown Kingston ghetto. Better beg one ah di tree wise men lend you some gold, pay for flight to come a England.”

Quintessence, who give thanks her mummy can’t slap her chru international phone call, know as well that her mummy going box her good and proper wid her red ant lick if she ever so much as set one toe on England land. Nah suh, she not going to look for her mummy in England, aftah her mummy gone work as ‘nanny’ for di white people dem family, leaving her one and only daata at di mercy of Babs and Pastor Horace and di charity money raise by him blessed congregation, who name Pastor ‘Pastor’ in good faith and don’t have no idea wha kinna black sheep de man deyah a breed and sacrifice widdi edge ah congregation crisp Nanny bill. 

You know di way Maroon Nanny head slice off and appearing pon currency same time di meaning ah di word ‘Nanny’ devaluate? When Quintessence mummy get di job and smile when di stoosh foreign name fuh ‘helper’ sticking to her, not too long aftah dat she gone a foreign where queens wear crowns of gold, not cloth, pon dere paper monies. She gone where Nannies get pay to forget how gold come to dig outta di soil. 

Spin and come round again, fuh me, deejay:

When Nostalgia name, is her grandmother give her daata – dat be Nausea and Nostalgia Mummy – di name, aftah Quintessence – dat be Nausea and Nostalgia Mummy – thief di likkle money she did need and mek a nex international phone call. Di second baby tek Quintessence by surprise dat day Quints wheezing and squeezing hard in di back a Babs’ shop, leg stick up inna di air like dead mongrel dawg lying by di side ah di road, Babs and Babs’ friend boiling water and bringing newspaper and trying to catch di bleeding. Probably Pastor Horace put di nex baby in dere as well, Quintessence thinking, after Babs scream out bout how Quints better beg god gi’er her more strength, cah she not done deliverance as yet, and a next head looking like it wanting to join Nausea dere pon di floor.

“Dem look like you, still, mummy. Even Pastor Horace saying,” Quintessence telling her mummy on di phone call aftah.

“Like me? But den…but me waan fi see one wid me own two eyeball dem.”

“Is which one you would prefer? Both a dem is di same.”

“Is wha dem name?”

“Me name di first one Nausea. After di most powerful sensation me ever did feel.”

“Dat’s nice.”

“And di second one me don’t name as yet.”

“Nostalgia.”

“Nas-tal-jar? Is wha name nas-tal-jar?”

“Is nuh dat yuh second pickney to name?”

“After a which ting dat first did name dat?”

“After a … pretty … flowers. So pretty you can only imagine!”

“Oh. Me like it. But me never hear a flowers name dat?”

“Is a special flowers. If yuh grow up and living one place all yuh life, like you is, you never get to see it.”

“Yuh waan me name pickney born in Jamaica after a foreign flowers?”

“Might be she can see it still, if you wait a likkle while.”

“How you mean?”

“Quints, you one cyaan manage two pickney. And me one cyaan manage two pickney neither. Better we wait a likkle while, and I send yuh airfare and yuh send one ah dem pickney come live wid me. Nostalgia. Sennup Nostalgia come live wid her Nanny, mek me show her all di pretty flowers growing over here.”

Nausea didn’t hug like how Nostalgia’s school friends hugged. She hugged like she didn’t know how.

So we going drop di needle now in England a few years on. London, Brixton, to be exac’. And me know seh mi cyaah do English accent good like Frenchy, but me hope yuh ah go forgive dat, as is true me try to be true to how Frenchy tell it, but yuh done know me haffi put me own spin pon di ting as well:

When Nostalgia described her grandmother’s dinners to her school assembly during National Heritage Day, she’d spoken proudly about how her grandmother was going to teach her to season meat, cook pumpkin soup, and fry johnny-cakes just like any self-respecting Jamaican. 

“And! Nan says when I’m older and go off to University, which I’ll be the first in my family to do, she’s gonna give me all the spices what I need so I can use my cooking to remind me of home!”

As she smoothed her special dress and stepped off the stage she spied her grandmother, dressed as though it was a Sunday, quickly tuck her pride under her lowered gaze. But not before Nostalgia saw it glinting in the wetness discreetly transferred to a starched handkerchief. Nostalgia thought to steal the handkerchief and keep it for herself before her grandmother washed it.

Unu like how me talk good fuh di English side a di story? Not good-good like Frenchy, but good enough fuh someone who never been a foreign, ee? A’right. Moving forward again, Nausea and Nostalgia getting to meet fuh di first time since Quintessence send Nostalgia to go live wid her Nanny in England:

Nostalgia never realised she was expecting Nausea to smell the same as her until her Grandma made them hug hello. Especially her hair, which was plaited, and smelled of something…thick…that made the butterflies in Nostalgia’s tummy go all giddy in a bad kind of way. Nausea didn’t hug like how Nostalgia’s school friends hugged. She hugged like she didn’t know how.

“You two not going say nuttin to each other? Nausea, hug up your sister proper, nuh?” – dat be Nanny as she introducing di sisters. 

“Why you talking funny to her?” – dat be Nostalgia, who not used to her grandmother bussing out her best patwah. 

“Funny? But you’ve heard me talk like dis inna di market!”

“Not like that.”

“I didn’t even notice. Nausea talks like how I talked when I first came to England. It reminds me of myself. And of your mother, whose name I shouldn’t even be calling except to ask that god have mercy on her soul, if she ever made it up to heaven with the weight of all her sinning. You not like your mummy, chile? You don’t take after you mummy or my sister, god ress dere souls?”

Nausea not listening. From she hear di word ‘mummy’ she don’t hear nuttin’ else, but she feeling a terrible feeling all di way from her belly to her troat, mek her feel to drop pon di ground right in her Nanny home and soak up di carpet wid whole-heap ah eyewata. Nostalgia looking at her sister, thinking is funny how one face seem so same like hers can look same-same same time look so different. Of course, she never think it in those words exactly, but she think a similar thing in England-people speak.

Hear Nanny, “Puss got your tongue?”

And Nausea know better dan to ignore ah elder when dem ah axe question.

“Sorry, miss?”

“Me did axe yuh if yuh fava yuh mumma. Me know seh you don’t old enuff to engage in her bad behaviour and catch pum-pum disease dat dead her off, but in spirit, you muss promise me you don’t take aftah her.”

“Yes miss.”

“What’s pum-pum?” – Nostalgia chipping in.

“Mind your beeswax,” Nanny answering, “is me nex granchile me ah conversing wid,” Nanny smiling down at her unsmiling gran-pickney and saying, “Yes, man. Finally me have a real Jamaican like me fi chat to.”

Nausea looking at her Nanny wid one ‘eh?’ kinna look draw pon her face. Me cyah find word fi di kinna look, but unu know it. Di look ah confusion follow by di sound, “eh?”

“Eh?” Nausea seh, “But you is not Jamaican.”

Nostalgia time now, and she sounding out di letter “Oh” good and long, but quiet still.

“Excuse me?” Nanny seh.

Nausea know better dan to ignore a elder when dem ah axe question. “Me seh, you is not Jamaican. You don’t talk good like -” 

BLOOPSE! Blouse and skirt! Any tear she bout to cry fi’er dead mummy send right back to di top ah her head after Nanny fling out one red ant lick. Nanny knuckle dem bleeding likkle bit when her fist done retract from where dem catch up on di chile front teet.

Nostalgia waiting fuh di scream that don’t come. Nausea just hold up her hand to her face and watch her Nanny, cah true she know better dan to look away.

Nanny rub her fist and shouting, “G’lang wid you facetyness! Gwaan! And wash you dutty han dem before we eat!”

Nostalgia step forward and take her sister hand when her sister don’t look like she going move. Nausea step backward when di gentle touch first touch her before she let herself get guide outta her Nanny sight.

The hybrid web sculptures of Tomás Saraceno found via @surfacenotion on Instagram

So we going move now to di bat’room. Where di two girl dem a tannup in fronta di glass a clean dem han dem and looking on each odda face. (Nausea pay especial attention to picking her Nanny dry knuckle flesh outta her teet.) You can imagine? You grow up you whole life so far just you one wid your face and den you have a next one looking just like you to share life wid all of a sudden? One ah you miss you dead-off mummy, one ah you don’t ever know a mummy, dead or alive, to miss? – Wha dat puss name Frenchy always ah talk bout? Shrödinger? Yeah man, kinna like dat dere dead-not-dead-puss-in-box experiment. Anyway, me know me not keeping up di English accent too good, but me try again dis time:

Nostalgia stroking Nausea hair when dem done dry off dem han, and sayin, “Nan’s boss has dreads, like you.”

“Wha!” bawl Nausea, cah yuh know seh she know seh dreadlock and cornrow not di same ting, “dis here hairstyle not no dutty dreadlock!”

“Can I make it look like mine?”

“A’right.”

“It’ll cheer Nanny up, if we look nice at lunch. Last week Nan bought us special dresses to wear at church, it was my idea for us to match.”

So she undo di plait and she mek two pom-pom ponytail like hers and fetch di special matching frock fuh di both a dem fi wear. Di light flicker in di bathroom as di two girl a tannup looking inna di glass and can hardly tell demself apart.

“It’s spooky. Like I’m looking at my ghost.”

“We done tun duppy!”

“What’s duppy?”

“Eh-eh! You don’t know nuttin! Duppy nuh di same ting whuh name ghost?”

Unu know how Jamaicans stay once dem gone abroad. Every striking ting is Jamaican flag dis, Rasta colour dat. Same ting when yuh Christianity become a ting to display whenever you stray too far from di real sense a di ting, and you decide fi work hard mek yourself believe every odda smaddy believing yuh is fi true a Christian. So you know seh when Nanny set down her rice and peas dish it going set down pon Jesus bleach-out face placemat. Yeah man, Nausea never see so much black, green and gold; red green and gold; yellow-hair-man-holding-white-sheep and gold as when she step in her Nanny dining space. Like smaddy swallow up a tourist shop and vomit it out again inna church. Gospel music playing just a tupse too loud pon radio. And as just one tupse a di smell a di food catch up in Nausea nose hole dem her tomach tight-up and she feel sick-sick and all di colour and di smiling white man coaster and di bleating of praise on di airwaves overpower her senses til she siddung pon her chair, shut up her eye, and shut off her nose-hole to stop everyting from spinning.

“Smells yummy, Nan!” Nostalgia call out as she settle herself and punch her straw into di carton a milo set before her.

“Smells yummy, Nan!” Nausea copy, as Nostalgia did tell her fi do. She nuh know what else fi do. And is true: when yuh head and yuh heart sick up bad, and no one else around you seem to feel di pain, you just affi think if you act like is all ok on di outside maybe likkle ah di ok will find its way in.

Nanny swell up wid pride as she walking to di table widdi laas ah di food, “It’s all real, home-cook Jamaican food-!” Nanny nearly drop her ice wata when she clap eye pon di twin dem. Nostalgia never shock her Nanny so much as now, and she thrilled to witness di effect.

“But see here! That’s what you were doing all dis time? Trying to give your grandmother heart failure?”

Di girl dem laugh and laugh, and di more breathless their grandmother become, di more dem fall about laughing.

“But I can’t tell you two apart! My own gran-daata, who has lived with me since so long, and I can’t tell her from di girl I’ve never laid eyes on ’til this very day. Lord Jesus have mercy! Lord, god, watch how me tongue a chop and change like sun and rain. I’m beginning a sentence one way an enning it a nex way. Di two of you are confusing my poor brain!”

“We look like the photo of you from when you was a little girl, Nan,” Nostalgia point at the mantle-piece.

“I can see that! I thought I was looking at two little duppies of my sister and myself.”

“Duppies are ghosts.”

“Nausea’s been teaching you our language already? Stand up there, mek me get a picture of you both. Next to the picture of my sister, god ress her soul, and me.”

“I can show you how to make it look old like yours, Nan, on your phone.”

Nostalgia can’t get over how happy it makes her to see her Nanny so happy, even if she can’t catch her breath and her hand shakes as she uses her phone-camera to capture the twins. With a clearing of her throat and a gentle wheeze Nanny seats herself and the girls follow, dipping their heads in prayer.

“Lord. We give thanks and praise for what we are about to eat. And for bringing Nausea safely to England so she can be reunited with her sister and me. We ask you to bless my sister as her soul is with you in Heaven now. – Hyacinth? Me hope yuh not giving God a hard time up there. Mi begging yuh one fava, Hyacinth. Dat Angel Gabriel give Nausea and Nostalgia mummy a likkle bligh and let her in if you get a chance. Amen.”

As they pick up their forks, Nanny tone get thunderous as sky before hurricane as she rumbling, “Anyhow you get even one drop of chicken curry on those nice white dresses, girls, I going beat di black off ah yuh backsides. Chuh! Me did mean to say curry chicken!”

“Me never get a dress nice like dis in all a me life,” Nausea did have to admit quietly, pressing her hand on her swirling belly, thinking maybe she could push a little a di cool and smooth a di satin all di way inside. 

“We wanted it to be a surprise for you on Sunday,” Nostalgia added, hurriedly wiping the yellow spittle of her speech off of her dress before Nan spotted it. “I showed Nausea my other special dress from National Heritage Day, Nan, and she says she ain’t never seen traditional Jamaican cloth before. Does that mean she’s not proper Jamaican as you?”

“You don’t know what a quadrille dress is, child?”

Nausea shaking her head.

“But see here! And you have di cheek to ask if I is a real Jamaican?”

“And she said she never ever would be caught dead wearing a head-scarf out of the house unless she was going straight to the hairdresser for a new hairstyle.”

Nausea trying to focus on swallowing a piece a di food, but something still gripping her stomach, sick-sick, something wanting to let more out than in.

“AND she says she doesn’t like Bob Marley.”

“Well,” Nanny sniffed, di ice clinking in her glass as she taking a sip, “That is well given he was both a Rasta and a drug addict.”

“Me never seh dat! Me just say me prefer Usain Bolt, which is di question you did axe me.”

“Usain. He went to di same school as your mother before I moved with her to Kingston, did you know that?”

“Yes, miss,” and Nausea push her plate away when her mother mention mek her feel sick sick sick.

“But wait. Nausea, you hardly touch your food.”

“Me not hungry.”

“Me did ask for belly update? No. Me did tell yuh fi eat.”

“It nuh taste right.”

“How you mean? Is home cooking dat.”

“Is not my home dat cooking come from.”

“That cah your mother never learn fi cook good like me. She too busy spending her night in sin to make anything more wholesome than a fart come sunrise, pardon me French.”

“That cah your mother never learn fi cook good like me. She too busy spending her night in sin to make anything more wholesome than a fart come sunrise, pardon me French.”

“No. But Miss Arvey did have one cook shop where me mummy always buy me something fi eat, even when she don’t get di money buy anything fi’erself. And di curry chicken dere never taste nuttin like dis. And dis plantain don’t ripe good. You don’t know seh you muss leave di plantain ’til it ripe good, make sure it fry up sweet and nice?”

This time Nausea know to duck and miss di fist before it land. It swing past her face and buss up Nostalgia head-top instead, making Nostalgia mouth burst open with one magnificent scream. Nanny flying up from her seat and shouting angrily at her to be quiet. Gospel music swelling, church sister dem a praise footstep in sand.

“I never did nothing, Nan! You hurt me!”

“Hush, child, it was a accident. Nausea, get here now. You see what yuh mek me do? I going lick yuh rass all di way back to Kingston.”

Nausea push her chair back and jump behind Nostalgia, the combined level of both their shouts combatting their grandmother’s pleas for silence and better brought-upsieness. Nanny trying to pry the children apart, but Nausea know better than to let go until she in line with a reliable escape route. She ducking away from the infuriated woman’s hands, landing her sister with the aftermath of each swipe. 

“Ouch! You’re hurting me, Nan! Stop it! You…you…bitch!”

You coulda hear a cockroach swallow.

“Ee-hi!” Nausea thinking, “wha kinna crazy pickney use big people dem cuss word? Is wha kinna mad-up country Pastor Horace sen me ah go live, where pickney don’t have no respect?”

Nanny exhaled through her nose and raised one finger, which seemed to signal something to Nostalgia, who whimpered as her grandmother released the child’s hair and walked away, her stiff limping less pronounced than usual.

“She leaving we jus like dat ? After wha you just done say?”

“She’s gone for her belt. She’ll hit both of us now.”

“Eh? Why? Is what me do wrong? Not you – you do plenty wrong – but me nah do nuttin!”

“You insulted her food, stupid.”

“Chuh, man, me tired ah dis! Me never say it taste bad, me just say it don’t taste right.”

Nanny’s return set Nostalgia into action. She grabbed Nausea’s hand and yanked her arm, flinging Nausea against the back of the front door. Nausea slammed hard into the handle, and Nostalgia had to push her away to get it open before clasping the skin of her sister’s stomach along with a fistful of fabric, which Nostalgia used as slippery leverage to hurl Nausea and herself into the outside corridor.

“Eh! Unu better come back here before you vex me further, y’hear?” Nanny made it to the door in time to catch glimpses of two frothing white skirts dissolving down the stairs. “Me going beat di two ah unu raw, you hear? You going wish you did nyam off every laas piece ah di blasted food!” Nanny looked out over the balcony and saw the girls, hand in hand, appear on the pavement below. They paused to look up at the block of flats from which their grandmother replenished their terror by shaking the belt and shouting, “I’m coming for you!”

Nanny neither heard the sound of the belt buckle scratching up concrete as it slid down the side of the building, nor smelt the sulphur from the dancing sparks born where rough wall and smooth metal grind. The leather sprawled, snake in an unkempt patch of weeds grown up through the cracks in the concrete, its red and white beading pop-off and falling all around the snake. Nanny neither hear nor smell anything once she see di bus hit di child, not even the erratic shrill composed of the timbres of grief erupting from a chorus of witnesses.

Hear me now. Sometime a person get, from di way dem spine tannup stronger than any book or bookend, to earn di right to a third naming in der lifetime. In honour of my man Mistah Speaka, as Frenchy did name aftah di nuff time him tannup pon stage and spin we all kinna tale – happy tale, sad tale, tale dat mek gunman find Jesus and swear him goin start tek him baby madda to church every Sunday – me ah go do mi best and honour di man and mek something good born outta all ah di sadness all ah we gather here producing. Is funny how in all dis togeddaness we still feel di loss, eh? Me going finish di story now, re-mix as it is. Listen now, to one last track. Then and only then I will return to my rightful place. Unu know who I is, man. Is true unu hearing more of my voice than usual tonight. Soon fi remedy! Spidah Selecta selecting all kinna track fi we later on. An we going buss out di romp and start to stomp out di grief, unu hear? So, to all Frenchy family from local and from foreign who couldn’t be here tonight, on accounta di devil wha lay inna dancehall dat dem affi take care and avoid, sorry to miss unu. Even if you never approve so much of what Mistah Speaka did affi say, or dat him choose fi grow out locks an turn Rasta instedda following in him fadda footstep. Frenchy turn from preaching pon pulpit to preach pon di stage, and we grateful di learnings get fi reach us. Blessings. Peace, love and unity to all ah unu. Fuh di final track, feel it wid me. Sing and grieve and trust me dat I going take it weh aftah yuh g’it to me. Sing di word if yuh recognise it. Oddawise, catch di riddim and clap along fi Frenchy.

And to you, Mistah Frenchy di Frenchman Bastian de Durand Speaka Man? Walk good, y’hear?

Nanny & Nostalgia

Nanny never did waan fi hear it, but
It get carry to her pon wave
Bleeting horn and screeching brake
And her ‘tomach tump-in wid bass

Speak nuh, pickney, talk nuh, chile
Nanny wanting to hear you say
Speak nuh, pickney, talk nuh, chile
Mi seh fi tell me is what yuh is name

Nanny never did waan fi see it, but 
It get carry to her pon wave
Anyhow she looking she jus cyah unsee it
One white gran-pickney, one red

Speak nuh, pickney, talk nuh, chile
All di while Nanny beg she ah pray
Speak nuh, pickney, talk nuh, chile
An I swear pon your gran-papa grave…

Nanny never did waan fi feel it, but
It get carry to her pon wave
A too cool breeze draw right outta sea
An two duppy tompin pon her grave

      One white-lip
      Wide eyed
      Dead an silent chile
    One vex red ant nest
      A-foam outta her mowt

    One tight-lip
    Quint-eye
    Frighten-up chile
    Fraid red ant
    Ah go crawl from white dress
    To black face

Speak nuh, pickney, talk nuh, chile
Tell me if is aftah a pretty flowers yuh is name
Speak pretty nuh, pickney, talk good nuh, my chile
An if not Nanny ah go make Nostalgia 
Reincarnate

Jessica Knight is a writer and and artist, and is currently artist in residence on a farm in Orpington, England. Following a BA in Literature with an MA in Fine Art, Jessica joined Platform Southwark, a community art space in central London. Here she performed at a Skin Deep event hosted on site and published a short piece for Skin Deep Magazine (which deals with issues of race and culture) about the experience of developing as an artist across different cultures. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she moved to England with her mother and brother at the age of nine. Jessica draws influences from her Jamaican heritage, particularly the tradition of folk singing and the trickster figure tales of Anansi. Her interest in developing trickster figure tropes fits in with a broader desire to use the arts as a multi-faceted medium to consider, comprehend, and contribute to social justice. As part of her residency, Jessica is working on short pieces of fiction, researching her first novel and experimenting with sound pieces based on her writing.

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