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Wednesday, May 26, 2010


by Louisa Calio

Me love mi Jamaican River shrimp
All peppery in de mouth
Ah ummm, so delicious to eat.
Me head up to Annotto Bay regularly
to get some
near to de place Noel Coward used to stay
when him write him plays.

When me reach de river banks
after me walk a ways
through the river reeds,
looking at de flowing waters
me feel proud to be a Jamaican
blessed with all these waterways
me say me thinking of buyin’ a piece of land here one day
with some of dis river on it
catch me own shrimp den,
Til de men who live here say:
“Don’t you know the river polluted now
de shrimp catchers don’t use traps any more,
say dey too slow,
dey trow chlorine to stun de big shrimp and preserve em too
pick dem out fas fas 1,2,3
grabbing dem up and out
but the chemical stay and kill all de babies
and de algae too.
Soon de life of river gone
and there be no more shrimp.
Me not so keen on eatin fas food
made with chlorine, Mam
how ‘bout you?”

Louisa Calio is an award winning poet, performer, and photographer. Director of the Poets and Writers Piazza for Hofstra’s Italian Experience for the last 8 years, she was Winner of the 1978 Connecticut Commission of the Arts Award to individual Writers, the 1987 Women in Leadership Award, Barbara Jones and Taliesin prizes for Poetry, The New Voices Trinidad and Tobago, and most recently honored at Barnard College as a feminist who changed America. Founder of City Spirit Artists, New Haven, CT, she has spent a life time bringing arts to people of varied economic levels. Her writings have appeared in the anthologies I Name Myself Daughter, She is Everywhere, Italian Heart American Soul, dark mother, Shades of Black and White, More Sweet Lemons, as well as in journals and newspapers. She has traveled to East and West Africa, lived in the Caribbean and documented her journeys in photographs and the written word, recently completing an epic poem Journey to the Heart Waters which was also the title of an exhibition of photos and poems that opened at Round Hill Resort in Montego Bay in 2007.