Winter 2013 - THE POTOMAC

The Uncivil War

   Yasmin Morais

Funny, it wasn’t classified a war.
despite the final death toll,
and a nation turned on itself.
I dodge gunshots
trying to start my evening commute.
Remaining mute
about my political allegiance.
Speaking would be suicidal.

“Don’t wear a red shirt, for God’s sake,”
my mother scolded my brother.
Red, not just the color of blood,
but Manley red,
socialism red,
PNP red.
Our very apparel came under siege.
So, my poor brother could not wear
his green shirt either,
fearing being linked to
Seaga green,
capitalism green,
JLP green.

Just who were the trigger pullers?
It was so easy then to name, and blame, and shame.
But so hard to tell in an uncivil war
where politics, corruption, and drugs morphed,
and Uncle Sam, Cuba, JLP and PNP
made strange bedfellows in 1970s Jamaica.

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