I Am Every Jamaican

I am every Jamaican

Black gyal, chiny gyal, Indian gyal, white

What are you? They ask

Hand outstretched to touch

And then retracted

And I smile with a knowing air

And say…

“I am every Jamaican”


Proud woman, hard working man, strength, hardship, laughter

What drives you? They ponder

As we work hard for the yankee dollar

Yet still

Soul untouched

And head held high

We always


“I am every Jamaican”


Domino slapping, Jerk chicken eating, Reggae, dancehall

Where does the rhythm come from?

From the beating

Of the drums

From ancestors carried far away

From home

Trying to preserve, to maintain

Our dignity



A sigh

I say…

“I am every Jamaican”


White sand beaches, deep cool rivers, wood, water

We enjoy your land

They say

As we watch jealously

As they frolic and play

In our legacy

Because of our poverty

And I ache


“I am every Jamaican”


*I* am Every Jamaican

Out of many one people

*I* am every Jamaican

who works for the dream

to die at home

*I* am every Jamaican

whose heartbeat echoes

the rhythm of transplanted beats and nations

*I* am every Jamaican

who longs for the blue azure beach







Jazz Johnson

3/29/05 ©

About the author

Jazz Clayton