Jonni No-Go

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Jonni No-Go.

What we gonna do right here is go back.

Back into time time to a story. Just a little story.

A little Jazz story about what it is being what it is.

Because its like that cos thats the way it is.

A little story about Jonni.

Jonni No-Go.

You know.

The kind of a dude you'd describe as a no-no.

You see...

Jonni lacked the relevant class credentials

to make him that socialy influential

he refused to believe it was coincidental

You know ! Poverty relative to potential.

Relative to class, race, creed.

Relative to education.

and all in relation to discrimination.

Jonny kept feeling the same vibrations.

Around about that time I spun the brother a rhyme,

Like a walking bassline reaching the end of time.

I told him I said;

"Seek brother seek and you shall surely find.

And the people said

" Please don't fall Jonni !

Please don't fall !

They said;

Stand tall Jonni,

Please stand tall !

Don't fall Jonni !

Stand tall Yeah ! "

And in the back ground John Coltrane played. And Miles Davis joined in to make it a sweet scerenade.

One day before Jonni had time to realise

How or Why or Whether

It was even possible to know it ?

Jonni found himself smack dab in the middle of a poem by The Last Poets.

Who themselves had been born from a poem by a brother from South Afrika.

Who reckoned his poems to be the last, cos guns and bombs would follow after that.

Give up ? Nah Jonni would hate too.

It was too easy for him to relate too.

The fire from the heat at the heart of Soweto.

The indestructible beat of the ghetto.

But Jonni's morale was low

And generaly he realy realy didn't want to know.

For Jonni change was a thing that never ticked, tock-tick-tock. No ! Hell no !

It just trickled little by little by little,

Real real slow.

Wondering how things were going to turn out

Jonni checks in the larder as the food checks out.

Jonni likes being at home he likes the relaxation

But he don't like the all round conotations.

After school no destination.

Leisure time relative to vegetation.

Like a recipe for riots and street demonstrations.

Jonni was feeling that Blues vibration.

Jonni grew up in a street-tuff Hip-Hop crew.


because they all had flat tops and Reeboks with go-fast stripes so they could run from the cops.

And said things like

" Yoh ! Bro this shit is dope,

do you wanna brew, or do you wanna crop " .

Because of things like this they thought that they knew ....

" What was Up ! ".

Because they could tell whether or not a beat was

" def "

or a groove was

" boss ",

They thought they could tell

" What time it was ".

But they didn't know.

Most of the time.

Most of the time they were so stoned that they couldn't tell the difference between New York and Newton Le Willows.

If subjected to casual interrogation the most they could say was;

" I got an X cap.

I seen the movie.

I call myself black.

It's realy groovy ".

That was the most they could say cos that was the most they knew. Outside of drugs, cars, music, and acting slick,

They didn't realy give a shit.

They didn't know that hegemonic struggle can not be reduced to a user friendly slogan, or that there is no simple formula for accessing the complexity of white supremacy and the many-many-many-many ways that it waylays and undermines black cultural integrity, not to mention how it reduces the average life expectancy of young people in the ghetto.

To Zilch or nigh on ...Zero.

Hell no !

They couldn't tell him that cos they didn't realy know.

Not in so many words. They were like Nero rapping while the home burned.

If Jonni mentioned Malcolm and how Malcolm promoted education,

they would make up excuses or ask him ;

" Who do you think you are nigger ? "

They thought they were hip because they had heard Shabba chat Ragga; but they had never heard Martin Luther King Jnr. saying;

" I may be black.

I may be unemployed.

I may be uneducated.But I am somebody !

I am somebody ! "

All they could say was;

" Who the fuck do you think you are then ? "

Some would merely say;

" Fuck education !

Fuck the whiteman's education !

We do not need it.

We smoke the ganja.

We're from the ghetto.

We're full of anger.

Its just a carrot the system dangles.

So Muthafuckka. Whats your angle.

Sometimes they would manage to put a fully coherent sentence together. And they would revel in it.

A sentence that compared serving three years at college to serving a three year sentence of time that they could not afford cos life was too short and they were too busy serving a life sentence on the frontline.

Point out to them that the ghetto was created for black people not by black people. To limit them not liberate them.

And they would say ;

" Fine ! ".

The more creative amongst them would make up songs about how fine the ghetto was, and what a great environment it is to bring your kids up in.

And they would sing "Talking ' bout The ghetto.

The ghetto is our home ".

And its a great place to raise kids.

Despite the fear and the pressure and the terminal madness of brothers who relish the fact that they're crazy. Brothers who will tell you straight up in your face

and with no disgrace.

" Don't fuck with me. Don't you know I'm loco.

Don't you know I'm Insane in the membrane.

Insane in the brain..."

Yes all this ...

And the Sisters on the block making money to buy another rock or some brown, or some fine white dust as pure as the driven snow.


" Victime de la modÎ. T'elle est son nom du cologne. Victime de la modÎ. T'elle est son nom du cologne "

Another unfashionable fashion victim.

Sucking cocks for money to but the white death.

That is paralysing our communities like a snowstorm from hell

bringing life to a standstill. An ill wind that blows nobody away except homeboys from the hood.An aging process as abrupt and as corrupt as a village bike thats been left to rust. Not even whoring for a crust.

Just a violation of trust.

To add to the constant drugs-bust that nurtures the type of siege mentality that helps a simple single-minded blindness grow into a culture of NO GO.

Jonni No-Go a young Negro.

And an attitude that says

" Fuck it !

I mean like hey ! I quit !

Theres no point !

What for ?

Double lock and bolt the door.

The only enemy is the law ".

Public Enemy speaks;

" Police wild beasts dogs on a leash ".

Jonni clocks it all as he clocks the time, and another rhyme born and bred on the streets.

" Caught in the middle and not surrendering ".

No surrender.

No retreat.

Just a bad trip about a slaveship and a beat.

And a teenage angst that dwells below decks.

That can't wait to get its hands around the red-knecked kneck of the man with the whip.

And call arl mate as it tightens its grip.

Trying desperatly not to flip with the people trying, and spying, and crying, and lieing.

And dieing from baseball bats, blades, bullets

And the shite that they're buying .

And the car mad bastards swerving up on the kerb

And the slimey bastards that hovver and lurk.

Its nice to be nice but its too much work.

When vice becomes a way of life.

An educated middle-class white guy once said to Jonni,

As he raised his hand to his mouth for conclusive yawn,

that he could no longer be bothered playing jazz because

" Jazz was a redundant art form ".

It was

" Boring ".

He said yawning.

Being a creature born from jazz, an urban jazz creature,

from a jazz singing Billy Holliday/Nina Simone type momma and a Jazzbo Black be-bop G.I. poppa

Jonni felt wounded.



Hurt by this ignorant John Bull blurt.

Jonni felt like e redundant life form.

Even though ...Even though ...Even though ...

Even though he knew that the white dude didn't realy have a clue .

About what jazz was,

or is,

or has been.

Or could possibly even mean.

Even though ...Even though ...Even though ...

Even though he knew that the dude had never seen girls of seventeen beaten up by their black leather gloved pimps and thrown out onto the block to make some quick cash for some fancy-ass set of wheels to squeel around crooked corners like they was the bee's knees or the real deal.

Even though ...Even though ...Even though ...

Even though none of the white dude's friends had probably been murdered by gangsters or O.D.'d on heroin or some other poison

as frequently as Jonni's, or done time several times for something that they didn't do. Or been jumped by skins or you know who. The boys in blue.

Even though ...Even though ...Even though ...

Jonni knew that the white dude had reached this stage of condescending bourgoise complacency,

and survived to cock his superficialy snotty snoot

because of society and not despite of it.

Even though ...Even though ...Even though ...Jonni knew that this dude didn't realy have a clue about what made the Darktown Blues.


Blues black

Blues blacker

Blues blackest.

Even though ...Even though ...Even though ... Jonni knew that he didn't realy have a clue

about what jazz was,

or is,

or has been.

Not to a black nigger from the ghetto.

He didn't know what it meant to people like Jonni.

Jonni No-Go with the hip-hop cold-kicking cool afro.

And the deadly ever ready ass-whipping word flow.

Even though ...Even though ...Even though ...

Jonni knew that he didn't know.

He couldn't let it pass. Jonni was like that. He just brooded over the white dude's words.

Jazz is a redundant art form.

Jazz is a redundant art form.

Jazz is a redundant art form.

The words grated on Jonni's brain like a needle stuck in the groove of a badly scratched record.

He brooded and he brooded over every intellectually redundant word. And swore to himself that he would maybe one day go to college and write a 20,000,000 word dissertation proving how that flat arsed-no dancing-pencil dicked- thinlipped-small nosed-Skoda driving-anorak wearing-no pussy getting-muthafucka didn't know a damn shit. And as far fetched as it might have seemed at the time, if you'd know'd Jonni you could believe he would do that shit.

That night when he got back and told the brothers.

He had to laugh.

And when he laughed he laughed a black laugh.

A laugh that sounded like Pharoa Sanders saxophone on full moan.

A black laugh.

An ironic laugh.

A sarcastic laugh.

A sardonic laugh,

As he pulled a large stilletto blade from between the exposed shoulder blades of his back.

He laughed.

A wicked laugh.

A bastards laugh.

A slaves laugh.

Once Jonni searched for a reason to justify this treason.

But rationality needs peace,

And peace was out of season.

So he just settled for the inner-city variation.

And added some rythym to this Blues vibration.

" Vous demand· la musique. Ne quit· pas ".

The voice of a female French D.J. echoes in Jonni's head-set as he analyses a reggae record that a friend brought back for him from North Africa.

Is it possible to be Selena-Scott-salacious and subversive at the same time. Is sedition the other-side of seduction.

Jonni walked the funky break-down crazy-paved streets of his neighbourhood.

" Now there's a word worth pondering on ! "

Thought Jonni;

" Neighbourhood ".

And he started to break it down.

" Neighbour...Hood .

My neighbour is a hood ".

And he realised that thats what people would think of him if he moved into say Allerton or Mossley Hill.

Their neighbourhood.

Like once when Jonni and the Creole crew did a gig in Scunthorpe.

The place they were playing had an artists dressing room.

Like most places.

A place to get ready.

A place to chill out.

There they where running through their set, getting ready to go on as you do, when in walks this guy in a bright-blue boiler suite and proceeds to unplug the T.V. and the video unit from the wall.

The crew wondered what was up.

When one of the guys asked the dude what he was doing he said;

" The manager has told me to take them out.

While your in here ".

Jonni turned to the saxophone player and said;

" I can just see the headlines in the Scunthorpe Evening News tonight.

*** T.V. and video go missing from the Wheel Tappers and Shunters. Niggers suspected.***

The crew laughed.

It became the running gag of the day.

" Chickens stop laying,

Niggers suspected.

Milk turns sour in udder,

Niggers suspected.

Lord Mayor's wife has orgasm, Niggers suspected ".

After the gig was over ,

and the gear was packed,

and the band was paid,

the van headed for the motorway, Jonni took one last look back and smiled as he thought to himself;

" Scunthorpe. Home of the body bag. What an A 1 drag. "

And he mused at the oxymoronic nature of the expression

" What an A 1 drag ".

Jonni was like that.

Later that day...

Jonni walked the funky break-down crazy-paved streets of his neighbourhood.

He walked.

And he thought.

And he stopped and talked.

And then he walked some more...


There on the corner stood the Reverand Rap-Daddy Kool.

Kool With a K.

A capital K.

The Reverand Rad-Daddy Kool was nobodies fool.

This I sho'-sho'-sho' nuff-nuff must say.

He was busy reconstructing a Blackman's soul,

In the heart of a lost street Nigger.

Ranting and railing like a cosmic clown.

The crowd stood spell bound by his animated figure.

That stood silhouetted against the corrugated iron of a boarded up burnt out shop.

He punctuated his sermon with

" I aint lieing ! "

And " Can I get a witness ! "

And no-no-no full stops.

There were sneers and jeers and the occasional frown.

But as the preacher spoke his words grew bigger

and hung in the air like tall dark sounds

that pointed fingers at every sinner.

Now nobody sniggered or uttered a sound.

Eyes shifting frantic all around.

Accusations bounced off heads and walls

And back up again from the cold hard ground.

Jonni needed inspiration so he hung with the crowd.

Despite what it seemed like,

There was something going down.

The Reverand Rap-Daddy Kool harangued the Drool Skool

And dusted off the drinkers with words of light.

He would go against the grain.

Discuss a junkies veins,

and challenge the rudeboys to do what is right.

He was an ecclesiastical ethnocentric evangelical eccentric.

And seldom were his sermons ever sweetly digested.

The Reverand's gaze caught Jonni-boy eye to eye.

Rap-Daddy Kool homed in and let fly;

" From the womb to the tomb.

From the cradle to the grave.

Your not even a knave Jonni !

Your a sucker.

Your a slave.

Get a life son !

Grow up behave !"

It was one of the best sermon's that the Reverand ever gave.

But Jonni like the Reverand didn't like to be bested.

The guantlet had been thrown.

Pride dented.

Mettle tested.

A sure-fire way to get Jonni interested.

Like a sample on a loop

The reverands sermon rattled,

Jonni took it personal.

Jonni prepared for battle.

Like a sample on a loop

The reverands sermon raved,

" Better get your ass from around here boy.

You got nothing else to save ".

Jonni's mind started vibing on some implementation.

Rythym and Blues with some Gospelisation.

While meditating on the Tele and the ressurection.

Something happened to alter Jonni's general direction.

Jonni watched Les Dennis take the piss out of a Muslim family on " Family Favorites ".

Jonni realised that ole' Les, ole' friendly prime time Mr family entertainment " Hi ! I'm a real nice guy ", was actualysaying to the white folks in the audience, " Your like me I'm a closet racist, and I'm cool. English like you. True blue through and through ".

It also dawned on him that most of the viewers wouldn't even notice anything bad, cos secretly they thought the Asian family had funny ' Christian ' names aswell, and they probably deep down wanted the white family to win anyway.

So like hey lets psyche the Paki's out on early evening national T.V. And like hey lets do it with glee.

It also dawned on him that there was not a lot he could say or do about it the whole crock of shit except sit there and watch it.

He got on his Beverley drum kit. A wrck of drum kit bought from Woodbines junk shop on Granby.

" Dhis kit was once owned by Ringo Starr. Yeah ! Bwoy. Deh Beatles maan ! Serius ting Jonni meh bwoy !" .

Woodbine had told Jonni as a sales pitch.

Jonni had hda the kit for a couple of years and could play some real mellow shit... But this time Jonni jumped on his drums and dealt with Les Dennis. Jonni struck the skins with more spite than is right for a boy of that age. But Jonni was in a rude-boy ghetto-mad rage. Jonni's drum solo was a riot. A young lion busting out of his cage.

Riot a dictionary definition: A violent disturbance of public peace by three or more persons; outbreak of lawlessness; uproar; disturbance; rowdy behaviour; noisy amusement or enthusiasm. Over abundance or luxurious growth.


The system was working on some new legislation

For some new and improved police stations inna all kinda places across the nation.

It all started feeling like exploitation.

And when instincts over-ride communication.

People burning up the ghettos out of pure frustration.

From the womens Peace Camps to the Wapping situation.

From the miners struggle to Urban depravation.

Spontaneous combustion and Alienation.

Jonni went through changes motions and actions.

He was out there looking for a piece of the action.

Love, success, some satisfaction.

Money changing hands in a chain reaction.

Jonni was candy coated and bitter underneath.

Jonni clenched his fist and gritted his teeth.

Jonni freaked out with the mob that ran through the streets.

Yellin' about the quality of life,

You know,

talking about everyday things like food clothes and shelter.

Some folks said Jonni was riding a helter skelter.

But Jonni said :

" Dead-heads !

Its gotta be better than stagnation ".

He was swinging with the rythym of confrontation.

A jam session started cooking in Jonni's imagination.

He swang into the groove with some improvisation.

Uprising dictionary definition: A revolt; insurrection; act of getting up.

What ever way you look at it, it put faith to the test.

A rebellious respite. Yes !

The mayhem was mandatory.

A brief relief from the state induced purgatory.

All of a sudden Jonni lapsed into some jazz.

In his brain the refrain of a voice from his past.

He put on his zoot suite.

The riot was a gas.

Jonni hit the streets to kick some ass.

And as he tried to get on top of the situation,

Life handed him a gilt edged invitation.

Jonni thought fuck Les Dennis.

Prime times a menace.

And he jumped up on an adlib soapbox,

Raging with pain like a wounded bull-ox.

Observing with the eyes and ears of the slain,

The crowd's silence carried his dread refrain.

A paranoid painting of bent banktellers.

Crooked accountants and the sleazy sellers


Lies that congealed into hi-tech steals.

Legalised gangsters who make the deals.

Industrial spies seen through smoked glass mirrors.

Computerised graphics of goverment errors.

And all with the State of the art sincerity from the heart

complete with moving parts,

" Hi yah ! " ( wave hand )

Hi-definition ersatz.

A limited edition of the distorted facts.

With an angle for gays, women, dykes and blacks.

All specialy prepared tried tested and aired by

Thatcher's flack catchers,

Back-bench whipsters,

Beaurocratic tricksters

Masonic bootlickers.

Conmen and shiesters.

Race track tipsters.


Tarts and vicars.

Photo's of Princess Di in her knickers.

Spaniards without lisps.

Conspiracies and whispers.

As Jonni Bebopped his way towards an explanation.

His suppressed spite saw only

Trite shite,

And the belligerent bullshit of inoffensive pap.

And it was all no more to Jonni than cultural crap.

The crowd bubbled.

If theres one thing that people like

its the smell of trouble.

Especialy when spiced with a little bit of hype.

And by now the time was ripe.

The uprising was a riot that raged into its third night.

And an old lady in a scarfe and a pinafore and an old-old looking camel hair coat, pulled one of several looted bottles oflooted Remy Martin from out of her shopping trolley and offered me a swig.

As she looked me in the eye she said;

" You know what they say don't you son ?

It's nice to be nice but its not nice to be too nice. "

Take no notice of Auntie Aggie said Jonni.

And with a grin like a hyena he stepped down and took in the scenery and nonchalantly asked me

" What did it all mean to me. "

But the air was thick with clouds of smoke and the sky decorated with sparks and flames

And red

And I couldn't realy see too clearly

There were too many possibilities running through my head.

Just over the road about ten feet from where Jonni stood,

And about a foot away from the burnt out shell of a police car that had crashed after being trashed in an incicdent where the mob and the police had clashed.

A place of rare beauty where the black soot from the fire had blended rather tastefully

with a colourfull carnavelesque mass of hip-hop graffiti on the wall leading into a concrete underpass.

Just within view of this artistic splash,

And within earshot but out of sight of Jonni,

Stood the everloving Reverand Rap-Daddy Kool,

Mumbling to himself about;

" The kids gonna be alright.

The kids safe.The kids no fool.

The kids sorting out his life.

What can I say..the kids Kool. And thats Kool with a capital K ".

And with that the Reverand turned on his heels. Snapped his fingers and walked away.

Maybe it was the smoke from the fires that raged against the cold night sky.

Maybe it was conjunctivitus. It was hard to tell as a mere passer by.

But as the Reverand turned around and faded into the coal black night.

I could have swore I saw him wipe a happy tear from his eye.

And as he walked off into the darkness

a busker from Bold Street climbed up onto a wrecked phone box.

The dead carcass of closed communication.

He put his horn to is mouth and left it there to wail like the alarm triggered by the busted lock on the door of a wounded Oxfam shop.

Sirens formed chords as the dudes cornet crescendoed into a blow by blow account.

Emotion fresh from the font. An endless amount of free expression. A frontline dance war zone dance session.

And the people danced and the whole crowd swayed.

Jonni joined in the fun and a decision was made.

And the people danced and the music played.

And everybody there that night knew that history had been made.

And so I just said..I just said..

I just said to the cat on the cornet;

" Yo ! Homes play something funky. Dogone it ! "

And he did .

And thats when things realy did get hot.

But thats another story.

One thats easily forgot.

And the music played

Lord how the music played.

Go ! Go Jonni Go !

Go ! Go Jonni Go !

Go ! Go Jonni Go !

Deh derrrah dehdeh dehhh. Dehdehdarrah daaahh!!!!

Submitted: April 10, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 10, 2017



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