“Clan” by Colin Channer, Father-son relationship, Fatherhood, Jamaica Constabulary Force, Jamaica/Caribbean Region, Jamaica’s Morant Bay Rebellion 1865, Novelist and Poet Colin Channer, Police violence, Providential by Colin Channer, The policeman
Front Cover: Providential: Poems by Colin Channer
Photo Credit: Akashic Books
My Poetry Corner October 2018 features the poem “Clan” from the poetry collection, Providential, by Colin Channer, a novelist and poet born in Kingston, Jamaica. At eighteen, upon completion of high school, he migrated to New York to pursue a career in journalism. He earned a B.A. in Media Communications from Hunter College of the City University of New York. Father of two, he currently lives in New England.
When Channer was six years old, his father, a policeman, left the family, forcing his mother to work two jobs. After her daytime job as a pharmacist at a local hospital, she worked nights in a drugstore. Channer’s collection explores the violence of policing that ruined his father, their fractured relationship, and the challenges of being a better father to his own teenage son.
Channer’s teenage years contrasts with that of his American-born son. In his poem “Mimic,” he observes his son, born with the ears of a mimic:
Makonnen, Brooklyn teenager
with Antillean roots
replanted in Rhode Island,
a state petiter than the country
where my navel string was cut.
After guiding his son through the roots of the civil war in Liberia – founded on the coast of Guinea / by ex-chattel – Channer reflects on his kinsmen in Jamaica.
How they discuss a slaughter
with ease, by rote,
never as something spectacular,
absurd. And I belong to them,
on two sides, for generations,
My kinsmen aren’t poets.
They’re cops. Continue reading