Paradox Unraveled

I know she often thinks of the beauty of death.

As she lays down her weary body

That once swayed gracefully from side to side

That once paid homage to the goddess of vitality.

But she is now weary and withdrawn-

Withdrawn from the world and withdrawn from herself

Unable to recognize the reflection of the ghost before her

She weeps quietly,

Inwardly

It is the inward pain that has devoured her

It came silently but knowingly

Knowing the destruction it would cause and the

Disarray that would be the final result

And as she lays down her weary body

I want to reach out and pull her

Close to me

Close to something

Living-

Because life is what she has lost

Because life is what she has used to barter

Because life is what she deserves to have.

But she is weary now

Weary of living.

The art of unliving

Of always giving of herself

Is one she has perfected

Thus, she no longer knows

What it means to live whole

And not,

as a sacrifice.

As she lays down her weary body

Her eyes grow distant and wide

Searching for her home above the heavens,

her place among the stars.

Perhaps, this is really living

She has found peace in this paradox

Of being dead to find life

I want to reach out and pull her

Close to me

But there is futility embroidered around this effort

She has found something-

Something much more potent than life itself

Black Gold

I am Black Gold

They try to crack the ridges

And ends of my being

but my armor is impermeable.

They try to sing my freedom songs

And buy my history.

I am Black Gold

My calloused memory

Retains the path of my ancestors

Whipped and raped

Forced to grovel

But continuing to rise.

I am Black Gold

They try to resist the flowers that bloom within me

Telling me there is no place for my beauty

Rejecting my roots

And defining my identities

While erasing my mother tongue.

I am Black Gold

They teach me to walk straight

To tilt my hat

To hide my colors

But to open my legs

And to always keep my mind shut.

I am Black Gold

Sold by my brothers

Who saw their reflections in the mirrors

But did not see the evil of their ways

Who prayed to a God of a color

That bore no resemblance to their own

I am Black Gold

I stand tall and break free

I have found my way home

In the belly of the Niger River

I found love in the blackness

And I have made peace with it all.

The mourning Women

I hear them in quiet moments.

These women with their mourning songs-

So hauntingly beautiful,

So hollow and wide

but always reaching my spirit in it’s darkest depths.

I sometimes call out to them to stop.

Knowing however, that I want nothing of the sort.

These women whose wails have created more life

and pleasure than can be comprehended.

They carry their mourning songs sewn and wrapped across their hearts.

These women with calloused hands that have cultivated and uprooted their hopes

and have faithfully watered the ego’s of pot-bellied husbands.

These mourning Women with their distant looks

and forgotten stories.

I have seen them many times before

in mirrors of the past and echos of the future

I shut my eyes and try to paint a lighter reflection-

one that demands less of my being.

She appears again, silent at first

And then her mourning song begins.

Our Intermediary

And where did we come from?

We have brought our love to the alter of Zion.

Praying that the spirits of our Abiku will rise again.

We whisper forgotten prayers into the imaginations of our future,

Clasping hope to the unknown,

perhaps we waited too long.

For the bang,

the scream,

the jolt,

back into,

what was never in our power.

Those swallowed by the waters

This poem is a tribute to the thousands who have lost their lives while boarding boats often from Africa headed to European countries. As one reporter said, these people are not adventure seekers but rather desperate individuals seeking a better life for themselves and their loved ones. This poem takes a snap shot at the reality of what it means to be an immigrant in the 21st century.

There are the desperate many,

who have chosen to flee the familiar

Only to be swallowed by the hungry ocean waters.

They belong nowhere-

and own passports destined for heaven.

They hang in limbo.

Unable to return to a life they once knew

while blinded by the life they will be denied.

If you are silent,

you will hear their wails.

As they sink into the murky place

between their hopes

and the pain

of their realities.

The Many Falling Queens

Young girl, I pray you see these vultures hovering over you.
They prey on innocence.
Taking blood when able.
How can you decipher their evils?
My young one, they will come bearing gifts
of perfumed prose,
that may seem heartfelt but is rather a memorized eulogy.
Silky phrases that plead the divergence of legs,
and the raising of hips.

Young girl, I pray you believe your worth.
Immeasurable and unquantifiable.
Young girl, I pray you learn to love the broken reflection.
Tender and complex.
Young girl, it might seem like you will never win,
in this game of greed and falling queens.
But know this
That the worst of the vultures,
that suck you dry, leaving you hollow and barren
They are birthed
out of you

When we came in the name of peace

We came in the name of peace, in the name of all good and godly things.

How it all began we neither cared nor did we remember.

It was a union between fire and ice.

A meeting of the Cairo’s and the America’s.

It could not have been fathomed, believed by any.

Was this union blessed? Had the prophets fore seen such a thing?

“Sinners!!” some cried out on the street.

Do you remember that time?

It seems in our minds we had created our own world.

Ours was timeless. That’s what I knew they thought.

I once woke up to the laughter of an old woman and I thought I saw our ending coming.

 

So how did we get here?

There was a time when we knew we could survive this.

We were so sure of our ability, to love, to hold, to cherish.

But our make-believe world has broken down.

The power is out and we are left to grope blindly, as darkness mocks our existence.

We didn’t anticipate the possibility of falling out of our utopia.

When the unimaginable happened we could only watch- immobile, unfeeling—numb

How could we have known that we would one day walk on opposite streets?

Were our minds supposed to contemplate the possibility of this once impossibility?

We thought we came in the name of peace, in the name of all good and godly things.

A path of indefinable pain was the one we finally trod.

On stones and Honor

There are many ways of dying. So many ways to die. So many ways. A Pakistani woman died a few days ago. She is dead. She died at the hands of her family. She must have tried to protest or fight off the assault. I can imagine her screaming out her father and brothers name: “Please! Help me! No!”. I can hear her screaming even now. Calling out helplessly. I can almost sense her fear as the first stone cast her body, she must have known what was to come. Looking to her father who has aided in both her creation and her destruction. As she continued to scream the sticks and stones only grew in number and size. They wanted blood. They had come for her blood. Blood to be shed in the name of honor. I see her catching her final fleeting breaths, in pain and agony. I can imagine her surrendering to her fate. Did she pray to God? to Allah? What were her final thoughts as she lay there? Onlookers silent but hungry with shame and a sick desire for a free show. A cheap spectacle to ease their own suffering for a moment.Standing back and watching her soul leave her body, watching her spirit pray love over her defeat. They see it all, hungrily taking it in. And much too soon all that was left was a corpse and a vague story of how a woman loved a man but should not have because her family was against it so they stoned her to death for dishonoring their wishes by loving who she should not have.But now all that is left is a dead woman outside a court house. Ladies and gentlemen, here is justice.