For my one true love. The woman who gave me everything and made me everything I am today, thank you for always reminding me of my fount.
Ojufindin, mother come back- they used to call me.
But mother to whom, I would say—
come back from where?
Our pierced feet and slender limbs,
our hollow rib cages, bellies swollen to the brims,
the sun beating down on our polished faces.
Begging- we are slaves to our hunger’s embraces.
These are the signs that the white man takes as poverty,
the physical manifestation of our misery.
Does he not know what a blessing it is to walk upon this earth,
when our bare feet tenderly brushing against the smooth, crumbling terrain
feels its pulse
A sacred vein of vitality, tingles through our soles,
the warmth lingers deep within our chest,
a delicious feeling of the eternal rest.
Or what a blessing it to pick the plush fruit from no man’s land,
to know that an appetite does not need to be gorged
to bask in the shade of the trees’ canopy,
knowing that this life of frugality is not so devastating as it seems.
Does he not know that the land is rich, even if the man is poor.
Or does he not know what a blessing is this liberty,
from the fluctuating virtual numbers that you can never touch,
the lifestyle, which seems currently always out of stock.
I used to think the streets of London were paved with gold,
Oh Dick Whittington—how wrong were we both.
The iron bird that took me here—this is not the place that you defined
I did not become Lord Mayor of London.
Did I get something wrong? Should I be this surprised?
And please someone tell me,
what is this term ‘black’? I am just like you.
Two hands, a foot, a nose and a back
and this term African, what does it mean?
Yes I am from Africa, but I am Gambian you see.
I am from the smiling coast of Africa, yes that’s the one—
right next to the sea.
Did I forsake the unimposing motherland for this,
when ‘poverty’ is indeed no sin.
And now more often than ever, I find that I reminisce,
about all the things that have been.
The years wasted on a trickling dream.
How did I forget my grandmother’s teachings,
the best things in life are free,
but was I always this over-reaching?
At night I hear them calling me again as I fall flat,
Ojufindin- mother come back.
My grandmothers’ teachings,
boorishly seem to be whispering
reminding me whilst limply lingering,
If you no sabbe ou-side you da go, yo fo no ou-side you commot
Every night I shut my eyes,
I hear the reprise of the ocean’s melody
transport me back home, in such brevity.
And it is in that immortal haze,
which in reality spans just as long as a gaze,
that I realise that although my body,
placed in a foreign land, might seem disembodied,
My heart, my love, my spirit, my soul remain as one,
locked up safe and sound in that place, which I shall always call,