the root of love for rastas

my mother, a soft, round west indian south asian woman, loved tosh. from the cassette player weaving in and out of bhajans, steelpan, and symphony orchestras were his reggae riddims and sweet voice, dark and deep and textured with pain yet smooth - like some tossed wave beaten black rock. above the statistics textbooks and caribbean lit in her ofice was his face, eyes peeping behind locks, smoke escaping from his lips. i thought him god-like.

my auntie joy had the spot in montreal in the seventies, where activists and artists crashed and buzzed and laughed and cried and never paid rent. one day, joy returned to find the house reeking of ganja. knowing she was on rcmp radar for traffickings us illegals into canada, she demanded to know who was in her house smoking reefer so - a friend pointed downstairs silently and brought her index to her lips - who could cause such reverence and quiet in this lively household? at the bottom of the stairs sat one peter tosh, whose quiet presence was so powerful, my auntie joy (no stranger to confrontation) held her tongue and continued to bring him fresh coffee (he refused food) until he departed. he strummed his guitar and sang, spoke very little.

to this day, i love a ras. not certain if its its a smell or memory or timbre of voice or rejection of norms and babylon shitstem or a combination or all these. but i know tosh, tosh, tosh, peter tosh is the root.

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