Poem: I am Africa
I am Africa.
Not a country, but a golden continent, so striking that no currency can own me.
My names are not exotic or barbaric.
I am not an alien, but a pure soul who puts love into each seed and plants it into the heart of my soil.
I am Africa, the Mother who breastfeeds all lactose intolerant infants with the sweet contents of my milk.
Milk not drawn from animals or plants, or displayed in a color of creamy white or chocolate brown, but a colorless source giving my infants belonging, encouragement, and a hope-breaded life.
I am Africa, all flesh and bones were made from me. But by today’s standards, you would call me liar and prove my allegation to be false.
“No way am I African”, one would say. As if to be African is a curse, a name deemed to failure and victimization.
But my infant’s eyes will read about you, and learn not to be ignorant.
Because Ignorance blinds the discriminator, the oppressor, and the foolish in not just their eyes, but the ears, the mouth, and their lips.
Lips that would not kiss my lips, would not give me unconditional love into the veins of my heart and effortless affection to the sores of my feet for fear that I am ugly and unworthy.
I am Africa, the voice you muted and trapped in a sound proof box because you hear it like a child begging in a store for candy.
That voice you refuse to listen, it is not like chocolate to your ears and so you silence me
But my voice rises in pity because we are not victims, we are joyous chords, slowly trying to mend hundreds of years of continental intervention into notes of a harmonic song.
A song that glosses the tops of my trees and connotes my immeasurable qualities: the Atlantic on my left and the Indian on my right, placed to replenish my thirst and irrigate my skin.
Deposits of my gold, my oil, my diamonds they decorate me, like hairs do on the surface of your skin.
That is why your continental economists and imperialists won’t leave me alone because they are infatuated by me. By my fine silk, my sophisticated recipes: spicy, rich, and fulfilling, that leave mouths drooling and eyes wet with desire, to curve out more of me.
When you’re done, do I get a proper burial site?
Despite my outer being, I remain humble, faithful to my children.
I show you that I do not require anything material from you.
I remain the linguistic Queen: showing you that 2000 and 3000 languages pass through my body with an addition of over 8000 dialects.
My children are educated phoenixes carried on wings of an articulate mind, flapping in the air of producers and consumers.
Speaking words from their beaks they sing:
Africa chalo chesu, Africa chalo chesu and dancing with their feet they move those curved hips, hips that will carry the pregnancies of hope and faith.
That will restore the sweet, tantalizing aroma of Africa and finally birth a seed of joy.
I then shall call it Africa, for there is perpetual power in that name.
Arnelle Williams is a student at Wesleyan University
© 2013 Arnelle Williams
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