GREAT BAY (October 1, 2000) – He arrived on the back of a horn-blowing pick-up truck to a Jubilee Library hall fully seated with guests. “Thanks for the lift! We reach!” shouted the poet Lasana M. Sekou, jumping off the pick-up and staggering in a burst of laughter. And so his performance started, dressed as a destitute, in the parking lot.

“Dey sen meh fo’ ahl yo,” shouted Sekou as he staggered into the library hall, rattling a stark reality anti-drugs poem called “Doped up roughings.” Head-wrapped in a plastic bag, shirt unbuttoned, belt buckle un-done, an old rice cloth bag with tools on his shoulder, and without his glasses the poet set the stage. He engaged a series of personalities–the drug addict, the drunk, the poor carpenter, the maroon warrior (complete with a catapult), the mad prophet–to rail a storyline of “St. Martin on a cross/and we are at the crossroads” that, says Shujah Reiph, made some of our guests skin rise. Reiph’s Conscious Lyrics association organized the recital as the concluding program of the month-long 10th anniversary celebration of the St. Martin unity flag.

Passion, nationalism, independence, forging a new St. Martin out of the diversity of her current “human belongings,” as the poet coined it in one of his poems, pumped up the night to the point that during the last two poems read, “Freedom” and “The cubs are in the field,” some audience members were in a virtual volunteer call-and-response session with the poet. Some poems were interspersed with music.

“It was ‘da bomb’,” said Culture Time radio magazine host Fabian Badejo, who was in the audience. “Now people can understand why Lasana doesn’t read so often. Apart from his dedication to promoting other artists at House of Nehesi Publishers, he uses his time to perfect his art. This was very evident last night. A lot of people said they got goose bumps and that they connected with the reality of today in Lasana’s poems. His poetry was accessible even to the little children in the audience, who are the cubs in the field described in the last poem.

“The crowd was vary appreciative too and gave him a long standing ovation. This goes to show that the people want to learn the truth about themselves.” The audience, which did had a larger than usual amount of children for such a cultural affair, also featured an impressive number of political leaders from the South and North, including Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards, commissioners Sarah Wescott-Williams and Roy Marlin, and General Councilor Louis Mussington.