Wonderwomen lined the road
for two full days every August,
feather wingspans outstretched,
ready for multicoloured flight;
jewelled crowns gleaming bright
as their wide smiles, heeled feet
stepping quick beneath thick strong thighs,
wrapped up tight with ribbon;
undulating batty flesh shimmering;
poom pooms glinting rhinestones
in the last of summer’s rays.

Steel pans cut sharp through
thumping sound system towers, zipped
round dark estate corners, wound
up cobbled brown lanes,
drawing millions from miles away
to celebrate in all the riotous colour
of the Caribbean —
blue red green yellow pink,
sea, hibiscus, palm tree, sugar cane
hummingbird,
neverending sun.

The year of the London uprising,
when Mark Duggan
was killed, people screamed and burned to be heard,
were doused silent with water cannon,
the police decided to wear baby blue caps
as they lined up young black boys
against old white walls,
while young white boys walked straight past;
suspects for coming to dance for free,
drink red stripe and rum,
eat chicken, rice and pea.

Just two days a year
to enjoy being black,
feel powerful, beautiful, free up
the spine, jiggle up
the flesh, loosen up
the waist, shake up
the spirit, dagger, twerk, bogle, grind.
I dream how one day I will float
sequined above all the heads,
exploding headdress, glitter, flowers —
myself a wonderwoman at last.

Traveler, poet, educator, yogi, activist, artist, writer, British-Jamaican Londoner living in Ghana https://soundcloud.com/gracelouisewood

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