Category Archives: Wadadli Pen Open Mic

In 2010, Best of Books requested permission to run an open mic under the Wadadli Pen name. I thought it was a great idea and, as I didn’t have the time and resources to pursue it myself was happy to see them take it on. I would like to see more interaction between the original Wadadli Pen and the Open Mic…hopefully publishing some of the Open Mic pieces here will deepen that interaction.

Wadadli Pen Open Mic Farewell

This from Literary Antigua:
Yes folks its that time again. Wadadli Pen Open Mic kicks off this Saturday 12th May and as a mark of this eventful month of which we not only honour our mommies, we’re giving you a ‘two-fer’: Only A Mother and Made In Antigua are the topics for this month. Also we’re asking one and all to make a special effort to attend as this will be the last open mic at the Village Walk location before we make the move back to St. John’s. Looking forward to seeing you all there :) happy
Promoting Literacy in Antigua and Barbuda
p.s start time is usually around 7 p.m.

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New Wadadli Pen Open Mic

Once again its time for more of the word. ‘If Not for them’ is this months theme for Wadadli Pen open mic. we kick things off at 7:30pm this Saturday 11th February. So come out to listen to and share your poems, short stories, essays, music in another evening of fun.

Promoting Literacy in Antigua and Barbuda

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Wadadli Pen Open Mic – A New Beginning

When: Saturday, January 14, 2012

Time: 7:30pm until 9:00pm.

Where: Best of Books, #1 Village Walk, Friar’s Hill Rd

Description: No we’re not starting over, but with a New Year comes another opportunity, a clean page to write our lives the way we want it. An opportunity to not just build from scratch but to move forward building of off our experiences from the past year(s).

With that in mind Wadadli Pen Open Mic presents: A New Beginning. Let us greet the new year the best way we know how, with the word.

So looking forward to seeing and sharing with all of our old and new friends and come tell us your stories, share your poetry, sing us your songs, entertain us with your plays and test your verbal skills if you’re up for the impromtu challenges.

Saturday 14th January promises a fun evening for the whole family as we do everytime.

A New Beginning – See it how you want it, Take it how you feel it, say it how you mean it.

Remember: Saturday 14th January, 7:30pm sharp, Best of Books #1 Village Walk, Friar’s Hill Rd.

Happy New Year!

Promoting Literacy in Antigua and Barbuda

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Open Mic piece by Brenda Lee Browne

I did not know that I was black until I was 11……..until then I ate fish and chips, watched cartoons and rice and peas on a Sunday…….my friends were my friends as we shared the same love for sci fi ‘lost in space’, ‘thunderbirds’ and ‘captain scarlet’ to name a few. I read janet and john books and about Heidi and her grumpy grandfather, as well as Tom Brown’s very sad school days……..I was not black until I was 11, when the colour of my skin made me academically, socially different, judged by my skin colour and not my east London speech……..where my parents’ birthplace became my own…..I did not know that I was black until I was 11 and I learnt that being black made you lesser than and have to work twice as hard to make it……that your skin colour is the first thing people see and base all their expectations on………..I became black at 11 cultivating my own language,music and dreams based on the collective memories of my parents and their fiends…….by Brenda Lee Browne


THANKS for sharing Brenda Lee; readers, remember to respect her copyright and wordsmiths be sure to check out the Wadadli Pen Open Mic, second Saturday of every month at the Best of Books, #1 Village Walk Mall.

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Open Mic action

‘School Dayz’ – That is the next theme for the Wadadli Pen Open Mic on Sat. 17th of September….tell a friend…Best of Books, #1 Village Walk – 7:30pm…it’s kid friendly. Usually the second Saturday of every month.

Also, don’t forget Expressions (by August Rush) …poetry nights… fiction and other forms of oratory welcomed as well…second and fourth Tuesday of each month…at Heavenly Java 2 Go…in Redcliffe Quay…it’s a different grown up vibe.

Both of these are good limes and have been consistently active over the past year (in fact, this is the third season of Expressions while Wadadli Pen’s Open Mic is one year old) even if you don’t read, you can listen…check ’em out.

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You feel dat?

These two pieces – ‘Black’ and ‘Dat’ – from the Wadadli Pen Open Mic series are written by series host Glen Toussaint:

This Gemma Hazelwood photo of Glen Toussaint was actually taken at August Rush's Expressions ... yep, he's a regular there, too.


I must not

I cannot

I shall not

I will not

I refuse to shed tears

I will make an example of

Will become the example to
allay all fears

I must not bend or break

The film is gone from my
eyes and I can see you

Smaller, weaker, slower,

I will be that light

Your weapons do not
impress me

Whips, chains, guns

I break them all, my will
is MY weapon

I cannot bend or break

My mind is focused

My thoughts are my own

The fool is dead and so is
the monkey and the jester

Dats how we’s do good right

My mind is clear, take
your fog and your haze

Set to blaze, I possess a

I shall not bend or break

My bones are iron

My flesh is rock

Skin like obsidian quilt

Hair like whip cord

Evolved into something not

This is what I’ve become

The end result of your
psychological sodomy

Your spiritual alchemy

LOOK at me

I will not bleed

I refuse to cry

I reject pain

I will not die

My heart has known fire

My heart is on fire

My heart owns fire

Call on the gods ancient
and new

I rebuke you

All that was me, lay dead
and ashen

All that is me has awoken

My will is my weapon, I
will live for freedom’s sake

I will not bend or break

Glen Toussaint 2011 ©


You feel dat…?

You doh feel dat garca????


Tell me you can hear dat den.

What you mean hear what?


Well at least you can see dat, right?


Garca ou ka fet blag, garca

You joking if you tell me you doh feel dat



You foolin if you can tell me you doh hear dat



Garca, you mad if you tell me you kya see dat




Padna, is feel you feeling dat long before you hear dat,
you know

You really mean you don’t know what ‘dat’ is


It’s the lapou-kabwit, the steel pan, the iron band

It’s the Nyabinghi, the Cannoes, the Conch shell


More than that,

It’s the earth, and the sea

It’s the wind, rain, sun, heat

Shaleh, garcon, from your feet go up

Shaleh, garcon, when your woman get hot


Its still more than that

Its movement and years

It’s the rhythm, the riddim

The ebb and flow

Of life, of colour, of vibe, of contrasts

Between distinct and indistinct

You hear dat boy! Hai sah, you hear me little while

Dat – make me sound like a poet chile’

Like I educated and ting

But wait…

Aha you starting to feel it

Yes watch your face, man, is dat

Yes man, chain break, you feel it

In your ches’ right dere, you feel it

Hai…it sweet not true

Dats de ting man,

Watch you, it sweet.

Fling back and jump

Sweat and shout,

It building force,

Move, move, MOVE garca

Turn around, fall down, roll, get up padna

Twist and bend,

Buss’ out again

Yeah man

You feel dat now

Yeah garca

You hear dat now

Yeah padna

You see it now

Yah man, DAT
is de ting man,

DAT is it.

Glen Toussaint© 2011

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Gimme A Break

‘Gimme a Break’ (Give Me a Break) is the topic for this month’s Wadadli Pen Open-Mic. Open-Mic will be on Saturday 11th June from 7:15 p.m. at Best of Books, Royal Palm branch on Friar’s Hill Rd. So inviting all to come out and catch a breather (you know you need it) bring a friend and/or family and enjoy poetry, storytelling and more…

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In 2010, Best of Books requested the use of  the Wadadli Pen name for an Open Mic it hoped to initiate. I thought it was a great idea and, as I didn’t have the time and resources to pursue it myself , was happy to see them take it on. The open mic takes place the second Saturday of each month, each month with a different prompt. Store employee Glen Toussaint organizes and leads the open mic, and I stop by as often as I can, mostly taking it in.  I would like to see more interaction between the original Wadadli Pen and the Open Mic…hopefully publishing some of the Open Mic pieces here will deepen that interaction.

So if you’re a Wadadli Pen Open Mic regular don’t hesitate to submit to

This piece is from the person who initiated the Open Mic, Best of Books manager and co-owner Barbara Arrindell. It was in response to the May 2011 prompt ‘A life, a spirit, a name’ (read but don’t touch; remember to respect the author’s copyright):

A LIFE, A Spirit … A Name

By Barbara A Arrindell – 13th May 2011 – Wadadli Pen Open Mic

Why are they crying, Father? I would have expected them to be happy … but they are …sad and angry and confused and … and disappointed even … Why do they look like that?

(Sighing) Well to be truthful, my child, those sombre looks are as a result of you.

Me? What do you mean me? What did I do? What could I have done, Father? I haven’t even been born yet!

True, and, based on the way that the discussion is going down there, you may never be born. 

What do you mean? You told me that I’d be born in 7 1/2 months and that I’m going to be a boy, even though right now I don’t see any evidence of that … and you told me that I’d have fun swimming at the beach and that …. even though I would never come first in my class at school I’d still be a smart person and you told me that I would be the one to lead the West Indies team to victory in the World Cup in 2034 … What do you mean I may not be born … ?

Hush, child … don’t fret … this happens more often than you might expect.

What happens, Father? I don’t understand!

Sit child!                    You see the person who is supposed to be your mother is young and she has other plans for her life … she wants to complete her college education before she has a baby … and her mother will be embarrassed because she’s not yet married …

Embarrassed because of me, Father … but why?

Well those humans on earth have made up all sorts of rules and called them my laws and they often use them to make people feel bad if they don’t live their lives in a certain way. They say that I will be upset if they break the laws …

You mean that you’ll be upset if I am born, because my mommy and that guy down there who she’s been sending text messages to aren’t married …?

Child, I said that they say that I’ll be mad!

Will you, Father?

That’s a hard question to answer … You see in the early days I used to give the humans rules to live by because I though that it would make their lives less confusing … all I ever really wanted was for them to be happy … but eventually I realized that the way that they had developed has made it difficult for them to all understand my true meanings. The “laws” were only meant to give them guidance and instead they had just confused themselves with their interpretations. They have killed each other in my name … enslaved each other in my name … discriminated against each other in my name so I got a bit fed up one day and told them, STOP! … forget it … I said to them just listen … Two rules! If you can do these two things or at least if you can work towards doing these two things always … I’ll be cool … I’ll be proud of you.

So are you saying that there are only two laws …

O you’re not even born yet and already you’re misunderstanding and trying to interpret what I’m saying …  I told them that if they worked towards these things then they would be working towards become more like me … I said to them … (1) don’t forget that I exist … so, in other words, don’t get so full of yourself that you think that you know everything and that you can do everything …  Remember always that there’s something greater than you … and the second law is simple …Love! … Love the people around you with the same sort of love that I have for you.

That doesn’t sound so hard, Father … in fact if they did that then they wouldn’t kill and they wouldn’t steal and they wouldn’t do most of the things that cause them problems… and, even if they made a mistake, the idea that they can love would make them say sorry and move on …

Sounds simple doesn’t it, my child?

Look, Father, my mommy is crying again … her mommy just shouted at her.

Yes, close your ears child; those are not the sort of things that you need to hear.

But why is the mommy’s mommy shouting at her? She’s making her sad and … I don’t quite know why …but she’s making me sad too and I’m not even born yet!

Child, don’t worry … when I called you from playing around the pond you were just a spirit, and I told you that it was time to begin life … and that’s where you are right now … and that is all that I can do for you… I gave you a spirit, and a life, but for you to move from here to there someone down there has to be willing to give you a name …

A name … why can’t you give me a name father, or why can’t I give myself a name? TheWest Indiesteam needs me … you said so yourself …

It doesn’t work that way. The name is the key, the name lets you into that world… when a mother starts thinking about a name for her baby, that is when I exhale and know that I have to step aside … when she gives her baby a name she’s claimed its life and its spirit …

So what happens if I don’t get a name …?

You’ll go back around the pond, and when I find another suitable match for you I’ll call you again and give you life … and then we’ll see what happens.

But I’m ready to be born now, Father! I’ve been waiting for ages. It feels as though I’ve been waiting for an eternity …

(laughing) Child, don’t worry, if it doesn’t work out this time there will be other opportunities …..

Wait, Father, the texter man is at her door … he looks a bit scared … but in a way he looks kinda brave … who is he, Father?

He is your father.

But I thought that you were my father, Father …

Yes. I am … but he will be your father on earth.

So what will happen to you… will I have two fathers?

Child you’re asking too many questions … let’s get over one hurdle at a time. If you get a name, in a few years your Sunday school teacher will try to explain where I fit into your life.

Sunday school teacher?! What’s that …

They are talking again, child, do you wish to listen?

O yes, sorry Sir.      He said that he would marry her if that’s what she wants, but she’s shaking her head … O come on Mom … marry him so that I can get a name …… why is she doing this?  … O hang on he says that he’ll love me even if she doesn’t marry him … will that be ok with you, Father … he said love, Father … that’s a good thing isn’t it?

As long as he understands the true meaning … then, yes, it is a good thing.

What’s a Jeremiah or a Jamilla Father?

What do you mean?

 … she just smiled and said that  Jeremiah or Jamilla is making her feel ill?

So what’s a Jeremiah, Father ….  Father, Father? Where are you going Father? Father!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

 A life … a spirit … and a name …….


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