Friday, April 14, 2017

The Struggles of Being Jamaica's First Blogger!


Way back in 2004, not too long after hurricane Ivan, the word blog had just begun really floating around the Internet a mere four years before, not reaching buzz level till maybe 2003, I was a young Carimac student who had switched to Philosophy and about to soon finish with academia and step into the world. Look how the years roll by... back then people in Jamaica and the Caribbean were like... "What's a blog?" "What's a Blogspot?" "What does one do with a philosophy degree?" What can that do?"

The trials a young Philosopher and Jamaican blogger face are monstrous things. One has to face them with few resources, struggling with confidence and a preponderance of haters, scouring for that rare gem of genuine good commentary or criticism as we make unique contribution to the ethereal or even surreal realm of cyber space...

In the early days I didn't have my mind wrapped around a solid idea as to what blogging was and could do. It was just a way to vent, rant, store ideas for later re-use... post musings, etc... It also played a role in being an alternate platform for my readers when I was a columnist for The Western Mirror... for covering the diverse facets of the second city... my city Montego Bay... but as time ebbed on and readership, following, feedback and vibes waned... I increasingly questioned the validity of this blog, my blogs, blogs in general. Was I even the first blog... was Afflicted Yard the first blog, even though he never endorsed the word till after 2004, was his inspirational website the first blog? Nope... Worse with the limited finances related to blogs, blogging and writing... my disenchantment and quasi-depression worsened. I had tried 'ad words', 'ad-sense', and a myriad of advertising systems. MONETIZE MONETIZE MONETIZE... Up until this day I am yet to receive a Google cheque. I followed Silicone Caribe, stayed abreast of Ingrid Riley, yet nothing seemed to spark beyond maybe a rare and small newspaper feature. Wrote a few article for international papers, did some cartoons for papers, was a finalist in the Gleaner/Star cartooning competition.

The progression and regression is cataloged here in the archives. The years, the trips, the jobs, the highs, the lows. Try and bare with me as I recant for the sake of remembering, for the redolence in me these days... for the history of me, the history of Mobay, for the history of Jamaican blogging. Or simply recording the world swirling in my head.

The Early Days! 

Life back then huh... aaah I was dreaming... dreaming of my ideal life, I've never ever wanted to work in an office if it wasn't my own, the cubicled life is not for me... I like to think I am or was outside the box. I’d wanted to do all of my work from my own laboratory like office in a cozy domicile... a hobbit like future tech earth-ship. I would always think about which Montegonian or Western Jamaican, neighborhood I’d like to live in once I starved and saved enough money (note this is before the harsh realities of the 2007 economic crisis...not that I didn't see it coming) as well as got my entrepreneurial groove in full swing, I lived then as I do now in constant coveting for culture, consciousness, content, creativity and calmness.

The Days of Plain Old Blogging

I usually blogged at night... that's when the energy comes, or in twilight hours of the wee morning, then I cackled with grand ideas of Rastafari in the 21st Century, things like what it would mean to be the new Caribbean citizen, the cultural mixing pot of all the promise and stuffed that fluffed up my dreams at UWI, reconciling Noam Chomsky, Walter Rodney and Arundhati Roy with Selassie, Marcus Garvey, Leonard Howell, Planno, Communism, Ujaama, science, spirituality, technology, ecology, sustainability and all my other cosmologies, theologies, philosophies into a comprehensive world-view, then retiring in Hanover overlooking my city Montego Bay, in my bush bungalow, with solar power and a little windmill, making art, sipping fine wines, drinking teas and roots, smoking herb... writing poetry, drawing painting, and finish my opus magnum... and all the grand literature burning in my soul. Yep... those were the good old days when I was a tech savvy but naive newby who wasn't keen on SEO and just wrote to my hearts content. The days when people huddled at my blog or stumbled upon it simply because I had something to say, it was an era before the spell check Nazi and acolytes of Grammarly arrived to rip blogs and bloggers apart because of bad grammar, no 'pinnable' pictures, no keywords, no tags and hashtags and bad SEO. Sigh*

In that time the ideal bungalow locales of my mind-scape were only based on location, aesthetics, and environment and not practical reasons like if I can actually afford it. Ideally, I’d like to work from home, play with my daughter, make more children, and be able to spend more time on this blog shtick - sharing and musing, poetry and politics, digital parlance and palaver with y'all, cleverly constructing intellectual highs, chock full of pretty and mellifluous words, packed and layered with meaning, keep it consistent and watch my growing an audience... that my dear friends and readers, is easier said than done in the second city in Jamrock on a thin budget...

The Imminent and Eminent Now!

As a world-weary academic, disillusioned by the failed promises of the ivory tower and its pretensions to inevitable success, especially if you buy into the image promulgated by KGN, the hype of entrepreneurial success and small business mega stories. Theses days after so many moons in the digital trenches... after the rise of the rest of Jamaica's digerati and technocracy... after the hype of Jamaican social media and all the buzz worthy folk... after days in Montego Bay trying to find all kinds of angles to make it and coming up short I am more than a little burnt out. I always have topics on hand, ideas a plenty to blog about, but I don’t have time to blog as often as I would like... the rigors of evolving into a parent... an ever more active community activist... amongst all the various dilemma and vagaries that plague the human condition. There are days when I pray the ideas and musings will come back to me when I don’t have the baby in my lap or hounding me with a million questions as I write or work...

I try to stay abreast of the latest blogging tips etc and the notions of 'Eye-Catching Titles', Call Outs, Shout Outs, Stock Imagery, Infographics! I get it and I try not to get caught up, but it happens. I find myself leaning that way. As I sit here typing this I constantly glance at the bottom left corner at the “Word Count”. Why do I continue to look at it? Because the Western Mirror and Google likes 700-1000 words for articles and posts. I miss the good old days of blogging I really do. No pressures, just networking, making friends, and writing about our lives (even to my family’s chagrin). The good old days... As I realize my position as a pioneer in Caribbean blogging,I wonder are there new bloggers out there that are doing just what I did back in the day? Are my experiences of any value to them???

I've been writing this post for more than a year now... Watched Novembers rolls into Decembers, observed weather changes, the days still have that blaring sun, but you feel the temperature in the tradewind. What I can do, however, is ruminate frothily on the rigors of the present, which is exactly what I’ll do now. See, things are different for this writer these days. It’s a brave new world full of great reward and buzzsaw peril — trod upful and you’ll have laurels heaped upon your head, but step like a fool and you’ll find your testicles cut off with a 3 star ratchet knife.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bag Juice Debacle: A sweet argument

Jamaica land of the bag juice debates and debacles... sugar is an issue since JLP botching healthcare on a whole so they push the burden to the patients who now must contend with taxes and government nagging you about your lifestyle eating choices and depreciating fluffy self esteem by interpreting fat people as an economic burden and expense on our health budget. If you can't smell the fumes... then no one notices that not one health food store at any hospital in JA and hospital serves starches to diabetics... bag juice local and dem can't chump up big money to lobby to be left alone like the Pepsi distributers etc...  Murder bag juice entrepreneurs... same so dem make cigarette cost more than weed at 70 dollar a cigarette and den act like is a good thing an spin doctor it like the weed fifty bag nah shrink since the price of fifty bag fixed due nature of the name... dem gi Jamaica inna one hand and tek it back wid the next! 6 for a 9... ScAmdrew Whole-Mess

Wah some a dem hot girl weh live pon bag juice and cheese trix a go do, wah go cool dem dung after cup soup and tin sausage breakfast?

Poem: Legend of the Pan Africanist

Legend of the Pan Africanist

I am sure...
You know of Jesus, 12 men and 2 fish,
Mi sure you may know something of Greeks and their myths,
The best of Rihanna and Ed Sheeran hits,
But tell me do you know of Bogle when the temperature reach 96,
Do you know whose eyes the crows in Sam Sharpe square circled to pick,
Do you know inna 63 when Rasta get trim, box and kicks,
Do you Maroons and of Cockpit logistics,
I am sure you probably know Nanny and where those bullets hit,
Did you know how she cried for the ones she couldn't save and souls she couldn't fix,
Do you the know history is coded into Rasta's locks and wisps,
Do you know the Panama Canal and how many Jamaican bodies are in the mortar and it's bricks,
Do you know Marcus Garvey was there and would later light the beacon globally for the Pan Africanist,
Do you know our ancestors are alive in moments like this????????????

Copyright © 2017 by Yannick Pessoa, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ode to Lost Elders and Careless I-thiopians

Now elders like to think themselves wise,
Which is no surprise,
But he says to me boy open your eyes,
The well behaved son never receives the prize,
Don't you realize?
No I said in my heart then,
And no I say again,
Even if I have to say it to an army of ten thousand men,
No again and again and again!
What of sons like Absolom and Solomon,
Power handed to which one,
Let the story then carry on,
Selassie is descended from which one,
And today elder I ask,
Why do you look like the children that sing the Ethiopian King's song,
And was he which son,
Akin to such one...
This is not my epistle,
But rather my Ecclesiastes,
A cosmological opus magnum...
A belief I use like an intellectual handgun,
Here am I, send me...
They will know I am which one!

Copyright © 2017 by Yannick Pessoa, All Rights Reserved. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Threnody of Angels

Sometime mi bumbo'ole,
More time mi a eediat,
If mi never have yute,
Mi gi miself gunshot,
😱Huh, no, don't say that!
A how mi feel an a fimi pain dat,
Come in like you love chat chat,
U know how life hot...
Mi nah talk suffer hungry or none a dat,
It's to feel your heartbreaking,
Caah some day yuh pickney heart will be aching,
To know you try self improvement and everything,
Never to be the King of Kings,
To give to the poor and never yet get of someone's offerings,
To give her your heart for safekeeping,
She take it tun play play ting,
To look like a saint,
When a demon is inside seething,
To lose teeth as a 35year old teething,
To sit amongst fraud as the realest thing,
To feel like half alien and angel born of a human being,
To have your shoulder blades flap phantom wings,
To hear the Cacophony of the Kakistocrasy in every meeting,
To seek the future and find possible sorrow,
As you see the scope of horror in the truth of tarot,
To have your messages of now only understood in tomorrow,
To sense the surrender to the nothing,
The hurt of practicing to lose loved ones as we all must,
The sick psycho rehearsal for tragedy and pain of losing family.

No this is not the pain of being deprived,
Its the pain of living in the pain of those who went through pain to let you survive,
It's the pain of knowing Grandmothers can never be revived,
It's the pain of waiting for her to visit in dreams and not have it happen,
It's the pain of having to steer at children's innocence and naivety,
To remember your own innocence to harken your own naivety,
To look at everything that is and know all is vanity,
To know that modernity is absurdity and utter insanity,
It's the pain of having to see yourself in the youth,
The pain of watching them flail to find truth,
The ache of endless rejection and fatherly rebuke,
The pain of holding it in but still having to puke,
The sadness in being in a crowd and lonely,
The dull boredom of going out when you are homely,
The pain to see her beauty and realize she is not comely,
Pain of having to wait for those who will not appreciate the patient,
To swallow words because mama thinks them too potent...
To have moments splinter like fractals,
Scattered in the eternity of seconds,
The pain of not being her first choice,
Of not being her virgin breaker,
The sorrow when she loves you less each tomorrow,
The pain of knowing your imperfections,
The trauma in loving her flaws,
The drama in her corners and mental drawers,
To be a narcissist full of self hate,
To constantly self deprecate,
Even when your gut says I am great...

Copyright © 2017 by Yannick Pessoa, All Rights Reserved. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Empress Trap

Ruminations on the Black Woman

Black women shouldn't need to aspire to royalty to expect respectable "mannersable" treatment from Black men. If you hail her as “empress” in comparison to another woman who doesn't meet your standards, you still trapped in the mold Jah-man and essentially you are "stylez-ing" and disrepecting both women. You are setting up the "empress" trap; where you put her (the Empress) on a pedestal so you can have her as some archetype, statute and "Figuree" to bludgeon on the unholy and the "skettelish" with, an object used as a measure and yardstick with which to shame women you dislike.

More often than not nowadays, my Black brothers employ this “empress” notion sometimes as I perceive it a sham, oftentimes I wonder if the Black men, ball headed, conscious or Rasta, have the empress chat as pick up game, a lot of them... even friends that I hangout with, that are supposed to be "conscious" enough to tame some of the lust inna the atmosphere. Many of my Black Sistren in “conscious” circles I observe as many of my Black brothers greet with, “Ises" "Empress" "Queen,” and there intent is to prey upon a conscious niche "pumpum" market and it just isn't right. To me it would seem as though most brethren in the conscious community are caught up in the same old patriarchal colonially inherited Victorian regime and end up being just as chauvinistic, masochistic, sadistic, sexist, just as abusive, just as predatory as the evil Babylonian slave master, the archaic European or the regular "unconscious" Black man.

#wow #blackwomenmatter #fourthwavefeminism #blackhistoryyear #blackconscious