Teach yi How ta Swim

Tanicia Pratt

For Mary Pratt
Tanicia Pratt voicing her poem

All my chirren is leave aftee sometime
an once dey does go
dey does don’t come back
all a mine is come back yinno?
sometime dey is don’t wan go
til dey have dey own chirren
and sometime
when dey chirren have dey chirren 

     but yuse don’t check fa me like dat man
     not like how yi use ta check fa me – I memba
     yi use ta mussy come roun every Sundee
     now it look like yi caught up in all kin’a teengs 
     but I still happy I get ta see yuh
     oh I happy yi come cus dese chirren don’t come round like dat
     an I sure dey don’t even bring dey chirren

            yi eat? I tink I could find sum’m hea fa yuh

     yeah yi cyaan get too deep up in dese teengs
     soon I een gin be here
     an when I dead afta yi done been in all kin’a teengs 
     yi een wan be cryin and hurtin up yi head

            yi still is eat fish? I tink snapper hea but I een know 
            yi know fish gettin harder ta catch
            yeah.  conch, snapper, grouperI memba yi use ta like 
            when I bake grouper
            but I een know when last grouper catch
            fish een round like dat no more
            das cus dem people is be teefin da fish when dey small
            an everyday dey diggin
            diggin diggin fa sum’n new
            das why yi cyaan let errybody touch yi teengs

            but I gin fix yi sum’n, baby

     I so glad yi come ta see me 
     cus I een been feelin too good 
     yi know dis food don’t be no real food
     an I sure das why I does be havin pains
     das why I does say
     I een know how long I gin be round 
     so make sure yi come check ta see me while I still breathin 

                    yi memba we use ta go ta da beach?
                    yi was always scared yinno
                    so I use ta hold yi in my hand
                    yi ever learn ta float by yiself?
                    I could show yi yinno
                    if yi come back
                    maybe tomorra
                    maybe in da mornin
                    or da late afternoon
                    when it een too much tourist
                    if yi come back hea
                    I gin teach yuh
                    I gin teach yuh jus how ta swim.

Tanicia Pratt is a content writer, poet, and performance artist from The Bahamas. Her writing is a form of memory, archived or unearthed, to depict the many selves of the Caribbean landscape. Pratt’s work has been published by the grace of Palette Poetry, PREE, POUI, Write About Now, Tamarind Journal, among othersShe has performed at Antiquities, Monuments & Museums, the Central Bank of the Bahamas Art Gallery, and the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. Pratt received her BA in Marketing from The University of the Bahamas and is studying her MA in Poetic Practice at Royal Holloway, University of London. 

4 thoughts on “Teach yi How ta Swim

  1. When the language be sing sing and beautiful it plays on the ears tickling the sweetness of the words like honey dripping on a plain dry thing that need something. Tanicia Pratt make words sing sing so when Gullah hear they does know when Geechee hear they does know when Caribbean hear they does know when Roatan hear they does know when Guyana hear they does know cause we make this dry language sing sing we can all understand her when she tell story about life and change. We connect with she and now we all want to sing sing.


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